I've made this cake quite a lot recently. It's delicious, simple and the 3 cups of carrots it requires makes it easy to fool oneself that it is also really healthy. Actually, it is pretty healthy, except for the cream cheese frosting (and I use the word 'frosting' here even though I usually avoid American English, because 'icing' doesn't seem to fully capture the thick creaminess of it, so fantastically cream-cheesy!) trowelled on top.
Underneath the cake you can see a sheet of baking paper, cut into 4 and then placed underneath the cake while icing. Once you have finished icing, or indeed, frosting, the cake, you can then pull each individual piece away, and voila! a clean serving plate or whatever underneath. This particular cake was on it's way to my dear friend Monika's birthday party. I also made it for the lovely Gabriella's birthday recently, and she asked me for the recipe, so here it is, especially for her.
Carrot cake, taken from my trusty Edmonds cookbook
1/2 cup light vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
grating of fresh nutmeg
3 cups of grated carrots
Optional: 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (I don't put in walnuts cos I don't like 'em)
1 tsp orange zest
1 apple, finely diced
Icing (I'm a bit vague about this, sorry)
A tub of cream cheese - we have a nice yoghurt one here that I use. Sometimes if I don't have enough cream cheese I add some marscapone and/or yoghurt, but watch the consistency as it can't get too runny.
a little fresh orange juice
espresso spoonful of vanilla paste
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Grease and line a 23cm tin (sometimes I use a square one, other times a round one. It's all good!)
- Beat the eggs together until really thick - this will take 5 minutes or so, believe me!
- Stir in the oil, then sift flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into the egg mixture and fold in to combine.
- Fold in carrots, walnuts if using, orange zest and apple until nicely combined. If the mixture looks a little dry, you can add a little fresh orange juice (from the orange you zested).
- Bake the cake for at least 40 mins, more like 50 or 55 mins most likely. Check the cake at 40 mins and keep an eye on it thereafter. The cake should be a beautiful brown and have an almost nutty smell from the carrots.
- Leave in the tin for 10 mins or so before turning out on a wire rack to cool.
- ice the cake when cool. Beat the cream cheese together with a few tablespoons of sifted icing sugar. add a very few drops of orange juice and the vanilla paste. Make sure it doesn't get too runny! It should be wonderfully thick, so add liquid carefully. Don't forget to taste test - surely no hardship. It should be thick, creamy with the taste of cream cheese, nto too sweet and with a touch of orange from the orange juice. Remember that the icing sugar doesn't make it thicker, it dissolves so actually makes the icing runnier. Lather on the icing and swirl about nicely with a palette knife (stand the knife in hot water for a few minutes to make for really smooth smoothing - I love this bit!!!). Take a few curls of orange zest and throw them on top so that they sit in an attractively-mussed heap.
- Tip: This cake tastes great the day after it is made, as the flavours develop beautifully and the textures comes together into a gorgeous springiness. Once it is cool, wrap it up in foil overnight and ice the next day.
- Just try eating only one piece....