IMG_3465Carrot cake has a huge advantage over most cakes…. the word carrot! Somehow this gives the person enjoying each mouthful the excuse that it must be healthy as it is full of vegetables. It was a very popular cake in the 80’s and then just kind of hung around in the background for a few decades.

I have found a great recipe in a book called Boutique Baking by Peggy Porschen  This recipe always works and it allows me to change a few ingredients and make versions of mine own without changing the basics. I have include a few options, one where I add chopped prunes instead of pineapple which gives the cakes a lovely sweetness.

IMG_3459This Cake is a carrot cake double layered with cream cheese in between that I made for a little boy who is turning one tomorrow. It will have one of those tiny buntings that say Happy Birthday on it too. I will add a few photos from the party later this week.

So here is the recipe.

For the Cake Mix:

  • 140ml vegetable oil
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 80ml beaten eggs (approximately 1½ small eggs)
  • 80g walnuts, toasted and finely chopped ( I used chopped roasted pecans
  • 320g carrots, peeled and grated
  • 280g tinned pineapple, drained and crushed (This can be replaced by 240 g of finely chopped prunes)
  • 290g plain flour
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla pod

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare the sandwich tins by greasing and lining them with grease-proof paper.To Make the Cake:1. Place the vegetable oil and light brown sugar in a mixing bowl and beat together. Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and gradually add to the oil mixture until you get a smooth emulsion. Add the walnuts, carrots and pineapple and gently mix until well combined.2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt together and add to the wet mixture in two batches. Mix together at a slow speed until the batter is just combined.3. Divide the batter evenly between the sandwich tins. If you find it difficult to measure by eye, use your kitchen scales to weigh out the amount of sponge mixture for each tin.

4. Bake for 40–50 minutes, depending on your oven. If you are using deeper cake tins, the sponges will take longer to cook. The sponges are cooked when the sides are beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tins and the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch. If in doubt, insert a clean knife or wooden skewer into the centre of each sponge; it should come out clean.

5. Once the sponges are baked, let them rest for about 10 minutes outside of the oven. Once just warm, remove the sponges from the tins and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

6. Once cool, wrap the sponges in cling film and then rest overnight at room temperature. This will ensure that all the moisture is sealed in and the sponges firm up to the perfect texture for trimming and layering. When trimmed too soon after baking, the sponges tend to crumble and may even break into pieces

IMG_3442For the icing

Beat 120g cream cheese along with 150g icing sugar, and 25g softened unsalted butter.  Add zest of an unwaxed lemon, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and mix until smooth.  Leave this in the fridge to set for about an hour.

Then dollop a huge amount on the middle of the cake and spread over, trying not to pick up crumbs as you spread it. If you do make a mess cover the icing in nuts and it will be our little secret!

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