Carrot Cake



One of my very favourites. Studded with sultanas, chopped and roasted pecans and warming spices. Using freshly grated carrots here is a real must, they lock in the moisture so much better than ready-grated ones. I've swapped butter for oil and natural yogurt here which gives this a pillowy soft sponge. Topped with a maple cream-cheese frosting, this is my ultimate cake.

Recipe taken from Food for the Soul, page 154 in the chapter 'get baked'.


Total time to make : 60 minutes +

Time to prepare : 20 minutes

Time to bake : 40 minutes

Servings : 10 slices


Ingredients


Sponge

200g pecans, roughly chopped

320g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

100g sultanas

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

280g brown sugar

120g granulated sugar

240ml vegetable oil

4 large eggs

125g natural yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract or paste

240g (~2 large or 4 small) carrots, freshly grated


Cream cheese frosting

450g full fat cream cheese, softened

120g butter, softened

520g icing sugar, sieved

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract or paste

Pinch of salt



Method

  1. Preheat a fan oven to 180C and grease and line 2 x 9" (23cm) cake tins with baking paper. Line a seperate baking sheet with baking paper to toast the nuts

  2. Spread the chopped pecans on the baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 - 6 minutes until golden. Set aside

  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, spices and sultanas. In a seperate bowl, mix together the sugars, oil, eggs, yogurt and vanilla. Carefully fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just mixed, then fold through the grated carrot and 3/4 of the roasted nuts

  4. Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for 35 - 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to completely cool

  5. To make the cream cheese frosting, use a half-held electric whisk or standing mixer to beat the butter until smooth, pale and fluffy. Add in the cream cheese and whisk again on high until smooth. Gradually add in the icing sugar until fully mixed. Add in the maple syrup, vanilla and a pinch of salt to cut through the sweetness. The frosting should be spreadable - add more icing sugar for a thicker consistency or if you're piping the frosting

  6. Spread the frosting over one of the cakes, sandwiching the other on top. Pipe or spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Finish by scattering with the remaining 1/4 toasted pecans

  7. Slice and enjoy!



Good to know:

  • Store frosted carrot cake in the fridge for up to 5 days. Both the frosting and the sponge freeze really well separately, for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Wrap your sponge with cling film and then tin foil to avoid frost-bite.

  • I made this into a 4-layer cake by slicing the cooled sponges in half using a serrated knife

  • Use walnuts or macadamias if you prefer

  • This recipe is for 9" circular cake tins, different sizes and shapes may require different baking times and temperatures. Always line your baking tins to stop the sponge sticking

  • You could also make cupcakes of this instead, should make about 12 (depending on the cupcake case sizes), bake at 170C for 15 minutes or until golden and springy to touch (time may vary depending on size)

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