It’s taken a long time to find a carrot cake recipe that works. They’ve either been a bit bland, the textures been poor, the icings been sloppy. But this is the one. Biggest lesson learnt? Never ever, under any circumstances use anything but full fat cream cheese! It just doesn’t hold, and let’s face it, we’re not eating cake to not be indulgent. Cake equals indulgent, so let’s do it right!
Food science has always fascinated me. Edible science is the best science. I love how you go from raw ingredients, combine them altogether step by step and it all comes together, transforming into something amazing, AND you can eat it! It’s why I love baking so much. It’s science in the most creative form. I find it fascinating how our culinary world has gotten to where it is today. Learning about where things may have originated from and how things have been adapted over the years is increidble.
So, carrots, in a cake, how did that become a thing? Well I believe it really came about as an alternative to sweeteners which were expensive and difficult to come across back in the 1800’s, and so a readily available alternative was to use carrots, which have some of highest sugar contents within the vegetable world!
Carrot & Cinnamon Cake
The best carrot cake, full of fruit, buts and spice
- 400 g carrots grated
- 300 g plain flour
- 275 g light muscovado sugar
- 250 ml light rapeseed oil or veg oil
- 100 g pistachios roughly chopped
- 100 g sultanas
- 50 g raisins
- 50 g walnuts
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 0.5 tsp nutmeg
- zest 1 lime
- 400 g cream cheese full fat
- 500 g icing sugar sifted
- 100 g unsalted butter softened
- 3 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the 180C/160Cfan/gas4 and line two baking tins - I used 2 8-inch tins.
Sift together the dry ingredients - the flour, spices and baking powder and then add the eggs and oil to the mixture and whisk until combined.
In a separate bowl mix together the pistachios, walnuts, carrots, sultanas, raisins and lime zest and then fold this into the other bowl (egg, flour etc)
Divide the mixture into the cake tins and then bake for 30-35 minutes - keep an eye on them and testing with a skewer. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes when done before turning out onto a wire rack.
In a bowl whisk the butter until light and creamy.
Add the cream cheese and continue to whisk until combined.
Add the icing sugar and roughly mix in using a fork or spoon and then continue to beat using the mixer (mushing it all in together first will stop your kitchen getting covered in sugar). Add the cinnamon to taste - I went for 3 tsp.
Crumb coat the cake and chill for about 20 minutes and the ice the cake with the rest of the frosting.
I covered the cake in crushed pistachios, walnuts, raisins, sultanas
Adapted from Sainsbury's Magazine