A couple of weeks ago it was my Uncle Robert’s Birthday and guess what he likes..? Carrot Cake! This is a recipe I have made many times before & one that me and my family absolutely love. Do not be deceived by it’s ‘healthy’ sounding name though, carrot cake is actually one of the most calorific cakes you can eat! But hey, if we can’t eat cake on our Birthdays then when can we treat ourselves? All things in moderation I say! (or in vast quantity – same thing right??)
Don’t need something huge but still fancy carrot cake? Check out my carrot cake loaf recipe, it’s intensely rich, warming and perfect for smaller occasions.
So, here is what you will need to make 1 x large cake. (Serves approx 12.)
For the Sponge
- 300g Plain Flour
- 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 200g Soft Light Brown Sugar
- 200g Grated Carrot
- 227g Tin of Pineapple Rings, Drained & Chopped
- Zest of 1 x Orange
- Zest of 1 x Lemon
- 4 Eggs, Room Temp
- 250ml Sunflower Oil
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 250g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
- 100g Icing Sugar
- 500g Full Fat Cream Cheese *
- 1 tsp Orange Extract, Optional
For the Decoration
- Sugar Carrots, Optional
- 2 x 7″ Round Loose Bottomed Cake Tins
* I used Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese. Don’t use a low fat version as it will not hold it’s shape and may become quite wet & sloppy.
The Ultimate Carrot Cake Recipe
Preheat your oven to 170ºC/Fan 150°C.
Grease the base & sides and line the base of both cake tins.
To make the sponge, sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda & brown sugar into either a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
In a separate large bowl, mix together the grated carrot, chopped pineapple and the zest of the orange & lemon.
Add the eggs in and mix with a fork. Then gradually add the sunflower oil stirring constantly.
In thirds, add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and, each time, mix only until just blended together.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and place into the lower section of the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.
Check with a skewer – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked. If it has batter on it – it needs longer.
When cooked, allow to cool in the tins for 15 minutes before removing, peeling off the baking paper and cooling completely on a wire rack.
Whilst the cakes are cooling, lets make the cream cheese frosting.
To Make The Frosting
Either using an electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – beat the butter until really soft and smooth.
Sift in the icing sugar and mix on a low speed to start with. Once there’s not a lot of ‘loose’ icing sugar, increase the speed & mix until soft and smooth.
Add in the cream cheese & orange extract (if using.) Continue to mix on a medium speed until you can’t see any more bits of butter and it’s lovely, light & smooth.
Keep covered and chilled until you need it.
When the cakes are completely cooled, level them off with a sharp knife if they ‘domed’ in the middle.
Place the first layer on a cake board.
Load a piping bag with a nozzle of your choosing. (I used a 2D drop flower nozzle which enables you to create the roses.)
Pipe blobs all the way around the outside edge of the bottom layer, then continue with a spiral all the way to the middle.
Don’t worry if it’s not neat – no one is going to see this bit!
Carefully place the second layer on top – bottom side up. (This will give you a perfectly flat top.)
Working from the outside in, I decided to pipe little roses on the top. (Do this by starting from the middle of the rose and working your way out in a spiral.) You could do whatever you like though.
At this point, you could leave it as it is. You could also buy little sugar carrot decorations from a cake shop to place on the top, or even make your own using ready made fondant and food colouring gels. It really is entirely up to you!
I usually say to never put cake in the fridge as it dries it out much faster. However, with there always being an exception to the rule – I actually recommend you keep this one in the fridge. The nature of cream cheese frosting is a delicate one to say the least, and the sponge is so moist (with the vegetables/fruit & oil) it will be absolutely fine.
It went down a treat with the Birthday Boy and my Aunt Naomi has already asked for one for her Birthday later this year! It’s always a definite hit in my family and a recipe I will continue to make for many years to come. I often find that people turn their noses up at carrot cake without even trying it. Well I implore you, give it a go – it’s not as strange as you think and is genuinely one of the most flavourful cakes you will ever eat. Go on, convert yourself!
And on that note, I bid you farewell until next time my lovelies.