It was my friend’s Mike’s birthday last week so I decided to make him a carrot cake seeing as its his favourite. If you like carrot cake, please try out this recipe as it really was delicious…
For the sponge:
350g (12½ oz) carrots, grated
56g (2oz) pecans, roughly chopped
110g (4oz) self-raising wholemeal flour
110g (4oz) plain wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
240ml (8floz) vegetable oil
170g (6oz) soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
For the frosting:
200g (7oz) cream cheese
56g (2oz) unsalted butter, softened
200g (7oz) icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/150ºC fan/300F and grease and line a 9 inch round cake tin/s.
Start off by grating the carrots and chopping the pecans and put to one side.
In a large mixing bowl, sieve together self-raising flour and plain flour (if you can’t find them both in wholemeal, you can use white, or use one of them wholemeal and one of them white). Tip the bran bits of the wholemeal flour that are left in the sieve into the mixture. Add the cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda.
In another mixing bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, sugar, eggs and golden syrup. (Heat the spoon first and the syrup will slide off easily.)
Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until it’s nice and smooth.
Stir in the pecans and carrots.
Tip the mixture into the greased lined tin and bake for 1 hour, or until firm on top.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Whilst the sponge is cooling, make the frosting. Most recipes agree on the topping: a mixture of cream cheese, icing sugar and a little unsalted butter. Where the recipes differ is on the proportions. It really comes down to how sweet or creamy you like your topping to be. I personally like it quite sweet, but not too sickly. Taste it as you’re mixing. If its too sweet, add more cream cheese. If its too creamy, add a bit more icing sugar. It’s up to you.
Just mix all the ingredients together until smooth, adding a little milk if it’s too stiff. I like to squeeze about a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice into the frosting as it stops it tasting too sickly. It lightens it slightly.
Once it tastes just how you like it, (be careful, this is addictive stuff! Its not easy to try it and then leave it alone) place in the fridge until you are ready to add to the sponge. Make sure the sponge has completely cooled before you add the frosting or else it will just melt and slide off. I’ve done this before and it’s a pain.
Start by slicing the sponge in half. This can be tough. I personally insert the knife until it reaches what I gauge to be the centre of the cake, then I slice round, turning the sponge bit by bit. It means I don’t end up with a lop-sided cake!
You can decorate any way you prefer. In this instance I have spread frosting in the middle and on top and decorated with pecan halves.
But you can decorate with finely chopped nuts, or you can make mini carrots from icing. You can leave the top as just plain frosting and spread frosting round the side, adding chopped nuts round the side. You can do anything. Just google ‘carrot cake’ and you can see all sorts of different ways to present it. If you don’t want to add frosting, it will still be delicious just as a sponge.
The end result was a beautifully moist, nutty, lightly spiced cake with a delicious light but sweet frosting. It disappeared pretty fast! If you like carrot cake, try this recipe out.