It was my Mom’s birthday last week, so I gave her the choice of what cake she’d like for the occasion. She requested a Carrot Cake, which I was pleased about as it tied in beautifully with International Carrot Cake day on 3 February!
I consulted my beloved Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook for a recipe, and the resulting cake was a huge hit! It has a delicious melt-in-the-mouth texture and is just spicy enough to enhance the sweet carroty goodness. The original recipe makes use of ginger but I substituted this with mixed spice instead. Use either pecan nuts or walnuts to add a lovely crunch, and if you are a fan of sultanas or raisins (I’m not!) then you can add some of them too.
In my opinion, there is no better companion for a classic carrot cake than a rich cream cheese icing. Keep the decorations simple with some chopped nuts and a sprinkling of cinnamon if you wish!
Melt-in-the-Mouth Carrot Cake:
300g soft brown sugar
300ml sunflower oil
A few drops of vanilla essence
5ml bicarbonate of soda
5ml baking powder
2,5ml mixed spice
300g carrots, grated
100g pecan nuts/ walnuts, roughly chopped
Cream Cheese Icing:
100g butter, softened
250g cream cheese, softened
600g icing sugar
5ml vanilla extract or clear vanilla essence*
100g pecan nuts/ walnuts (chopped) to decorate
- Preheat your oven to 170°C. Grease and line 3 x 20cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.
- Place sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla into a bowl and beat until well incorporated (it may look slightly split).
- Gradually add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Beat until well combined.
- Stir in the grated carrots and nuts until evenly dispersed.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the 3 tins. Smooth the top with a palette knife.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the sponge springs back when touched. I find if I bake all 3 cakes at once they need a bit longer – about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning out and allowing to cool completely.
- To make the icing, beat together the softened butter and cream cheese.
- Sift in the icing sugar a cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Lastly add in the vanilla extract.
- Once the cakes have cooled, ice one layer with a quarter of the icing. Place the second cake on top, use another quarter of the icing. Top with the last cake and use the remaining icing the cover the top and sides.
- Smooth neatly with a palette knife, then decorate the cake with the nuts and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
* If you prefer a whiter icing, you can use clear vanilla essence available at baking stores.