A cake with a lighter carbon footprint…?

As a follow on from my carbon footprint of Nigella Lawson’s Madeira cake, I took some of the excellent recommendations to find a new favourite cake.

Replacing the butter with sunflower oil, and replacing a single cake with individual cup cakes led me to try Nigella’s carrot muffins…

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6.

Ingredients Directions Carbon factor (kg CO2e/kg) Carbon emissions (kg CO2e)
 Beat sugar and oil together
100g light muscavado sugar 0.6 0.06
175ml sunflower oil 3.3 0.58
2 large eggs (60g each) Beat in each egg individually to the mix 1.6 0.19
Fold all the rest of the ingredients in to the mixture.
225g plain flour plus 3/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 0.361 0.08
Zest of 1 orange 0.6 0.14
150g carrots 0.79 0.12
12 muffin cases in a tin Put mixture in cases.
Gas used to cook the cake for 20 mins. (My oven used 0.0836 m3 of gas) 2.035kgCO2e/m3 0.170

Compared to the 4.9 kg CO2e for the lemon and poppyseed cake, the carrot muffins have a quarter of the carbon footprint. By findng recipes using oil instead of butter, and muffins instead of a cake tin, the carbon footprint can be greatly reduced.

And the result? A plain flavoured muffin without the cream cheese icing, but this is ideal to distract me from eating a more unhealthy cake with my cup of tea.

(Please note, all carbon factors are based as far as possible on UK assessments, but there is great variety of figures between different assessments, depending on the assessment method used. I will be producing a list of carbon factors for food products to provide all the references.)

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