Carrot cake with cream cheese icing for G’s birthday

So, it was my fella’s birthday on Saturday, and I bravely decided to take on the challenge of his favourite; carrot cake. For those familiar with my baking skills, usually the small cakes are fine. I seem, however, to have had rather disproportional bad luck when it comes to making full sized versions.

So, I headed off to Lakeland to invest in a spring-form tin, a new set of icing nozzles, and wooden spoons. Ready to go. The recipe I went for was a variation on a theme of a recipe I found on the BBC good food website. Mum always used to make the recipe which involved pineapples, and so this is the one I went for. The ad-libbing incorporates the crystalised ginger, pecans and the cardamom seeds. I also opted for half-fat cream cheese and added some zest to the icing.
The result was a worthy birthday treat!

300g plain flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cardamom seeds – ground finely with pestle and mortar
225g soft brown sugar
4 eggs
225ml ground nut oil
zest of 1 orange and zest of 1 lemon
200g grated carrots
25g crystalised ginger chopped finely, or fresh ginger grated finely
75g walnuts
75 g pecans
220g tin of pineapple chunks or sliced pineapple, whizzed up

Temperature/cooking time/cake tin
Oven 160c (fan 130c) – cooking time around 1hour 20 to 30 mins.
Use a 20cm cake tin. Can’t recommend the spring-form style enough – so easy to get the cake out!

Into a large mixing bowl, sift or dredge the flour, and add the baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Stir in the sugar.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the oil until emulsified, and then add the citrus zests.

Add this to the dry ingredients.
Lastly stir in the nuts and pineapple.
Pour the mix into the cake tin and bake in the oven. I put the timer on for 1hour 10 to start, and checked things how things were looking then. The final cooking time was around 1hour 25 mins.
Take the cake out of the oven, the tin and then leave to cool for at least an hour on a wire rack.

For the icing
75g unsalted butter at room temperature
50 g icing sugar
225g tub of half-fat cream cheese
2 tbsp lemon and orange zest

Beat the butter and icing sugar together until they’re soft, and then add in the cream cheese and zests. Mix together until it has an even consistency. Once the cake is cooled, spread on the top.
Everyone loves cream cheese icing, so be generous with it!

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