It’s been a while since my last vegetable-based cake post, and given the fact that chocolate courgette cake is one of the top recipes on the site, it’s probably high time for another one.
Sadly though, unlike the courgette cake, there is no way that I can sell today’s carrot cake as healthy. Whilst it may contain carrots, any vegetable-related benefit is most definitely lost among the fat and sugar content of the cake, lest we forget the delicious frosting.
I first encountered this cake in its perfectly baked form at a friend’s house. It looked so perfect it was as though Mary Berry had popped over to bake it. And it wasn’t all looks; the taste was sublime too. There is no way that you can only have one slice of this. Unless of course you count a quarter of the cake as a slice…which obviously I don’t…ahem…
The amazingly exciting thing is that this is one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever baked. Aside from the carrot grating (which is very easy if you have a magimix), it only takes about 20 minutes to knock-up the batter, and if you have a hand mixer, the frosting is also done in a tick.
Even if you don’t like the idea of carrot cake, you should definitely give this a try. It really is divine. The crumb is so light and fluffy (you would never know there was vegetable goodness inside), with lovely texture from the walnuts, and the slightly tart cream cheese frosting is just perfection.
The carrots prevent the cake from drying out so it will last a good few days in a sealed tin…though I doubt it will last that long…especially if I’m around!
This time last year: Pasta Con Le Sarde
Hummingbird Bakery’s Carrot Cake
Makes 10-12 slices
300g soft light brown sugar
3 medium eggs
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate or soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g carrots, grated
100g shelled walnuts, chopped, plus extra whole ones to decorate
Cream Cheese Frosting:
600g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter at room temperature
250g cream cheese, cold
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°c/150°c fan/325°f. Line the base of 3 20cm round cake tins with greaseproof paper and grease the sides (I only have 2 tins so ended up with thicker sections than the Hummingbird Bakery version).
2. Put the sugar, oil and eggs in a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment (or use a regular bowl with a handmixer or a magimix like I did). Beat until the ingredients are well incorporated (don’t worry if the mixture looks slightly split).
3. Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed.
4. Stir in the walnuts and grated carrots by hand until they are evenly dispersed.
5. Pour the mixture into the pre-prepared cake tins and smooth over with the back of a spoon/palette knife. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins (it took 30 mins for my 2 tin batch), or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched.
6. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Meanwhile make the cream cheese frosting: Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment (or use an electric whisk) on a medium slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to a medium-high speed and beat for at least 5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy. Don’t over-beat though as the mixture can become runny quickly.
8. When the cakes are cold, put one cake on a cake stand/plate and spread about a 1/4 of the frosting over it. Repeat with the second cake slice. Put the third cake on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Decorate with walnuts and a sprinkling of cinnamon if you so desire.