As you might have heard, I held a bake sale to raise money for the British Hen Welfare Trust (where I work) on Good Friday. I’ve never baked so much in so little time! I planned my menu in advance and knew what I had to make when. There were a couple of tricky, fiddly items on the menu but one thing I knew I HAD to include, especially as it was Easter, was a carrot cake.
I’m not one for being big-headed, but I know my strengths and one of them is a delicious, moist carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting. Heaven! I must admit the whole reason this cake turns out so great is because I have a fail safe recipe, once again from the wonderful Hummingbird Cake Days book.
This cake does take a bit of time, not least because you have to finely grate 450g of carrots! But my god is it worth it when you taste the end result. Seriously, I cannot bang on about this cake enough! Just go make it. Please.
450g finely grated carrot
Roughly 2tbsp finely grated fresh root ginger
3 large free range eggs
1tsp vanilla essence
350ml vegetable oil
420g caster sugar
500g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
80g chopped pecans
For the cream cheese frosting
100g butter (I used Stork)
600g icing sugar
Zest of half an orange
200g cream cheese (the original recipe uses 250g but I found 200g was plenty to make a nice smooth frosting)
Orange zest and chopped pecans to decorate
- Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line either four or two 20cm tins. (If you use two you’ll just have to keep an eye on the rise and then cut the cakes in half if you feel so inclined so you end up with four cakes – I just opted for two very big halves!).
- Mix together the carrots, root ginger, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, vegetable oil and sugar until well combined.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and ground spices then slowly beat into the carrot mixture, adding in three batches. Mix in the chopped pecans.
- Stick your head in the bowl and revel in the smell for a second. Mmmm.
- Right, back to it. Divide the batter evenly between your tins and bake for around 30 minutes or longer if you’re using two tins. Keep checking them with a cake tester until it comes out clean. Leave to cool.
- To make the frosting, mix the icing sugar and butter on a low speed until combined but still powdery. Add in the orange zest and cream cheese and beat again until you have a silky smooth, light frosting.
- Spread some of the icing between the cakes, then smother the rest over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with the orange zest and chopped pecans and enjoy!
Oscar was hugely helpful and decided to jump in the cupboard every bloody time I opened it. He swiftly got bored of this and then tried eating the bits of grated carrot which had dropped on the floor before deciding that, in fact, he did not like carrot.