Serves 10 to 12.
Note: The glaze is delicious but optional. From Beth Dooley.
• Butter for greasing the loaf pan
• 1 1/2 c. (1/2 lb.) unsalted, toasted cashews, plus a few extra for garnish
• 1/4 c. brown sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/8 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
• 2 tsp. grated orange zest
• 4 eggs
• 1/3 c. sugar
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 2 c. finely grated or ground carrots, about 10 oz.
Glaze (see Note):
• 1/8 cup fresh orange juice
• 1/8 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and generously grease the sides with butter.
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, grind together the cashews and brown sugar until the nuts are finely ground. Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest and pulse together.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until thick. Beat in the sugar, then the vanilla. Alternate beating in the carrots and the cashew mixture.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Toss a few extra cashews over the top of the cake. Bake until the cake is firm to the touch and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. (A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake will come out clean.) Remove the cake from the oven and set on a rack to cool.
While cake is baking, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, whisk together the orange juice and powdered sugar. Set over medium heat and simmer, stirring frequently until the mixture reduces by about half. Drizzle the glaze over the cake while the cake is still warm.
Cool cake to room temperature before removing from the pan. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate overnight before slicing.