Thursday, 7 April 2011

Spring Carrot Cake

Last Sunday was Mothering Sunday in the UK and, being a broke student, I didn't really have anything to give my mum except a handmade pot (one of the first things I threw on the wheel) with a dying orchid in it. Not wanting to look mean, I made her a carrot cake.

This recipe is adapted from the carrot cake in Delia Smith's Book of Cakes, but I feel it's different enough to not get in trouble for posting.
This cake is moist, with a texture a little like a muffin. The carrots lend a good amount of sweetness without ever bordering on sickly, and you can dress it up multiple ways (see topping ideas below). The mixture would also work as cupcakes, pour into cake cases and bake for 17-20 minutes instead.

  • 75g soft dark brown sugar (muskavado)
  • 100g light brown sugar (demerara/unrefined cane sugar)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150ml sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 200g grated carrots (this is about 3 medium sized carrots)
  • 30g desiccated coconut
  • 200g self-raising flour

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • Combine the sugars, eggs and oil in a mixing bowl and beat to a smooth mixture, making sure to eliminate any lumps in the dark brown sugar.
  • Add the coconut and carrot then gently fold in the flour.
  • Line a 7 inch round cake tin with parchment paper, pour in the mixture and bake for 30-35 minutes. The cake will have risen and should be lightly browned on top. It will also spring back when pressed and should leave a skewer clean.
  • Leave to cool on a cooling rack and remove parchment paper from the bottom of the cake (it doesn't matter if you do this before or after cooling, but be careful you don't damage the bottom of the cake)

Topping ideas
I wanted to create a light topping that wasn't too messy, so I combined a spoonful of icing sugar with a pinch each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and then used a small sieve to dust the top of the cake.
You could instead choose a cream cheese topping for a mature taste, use spiced buttercream (mix butter, icing sugar, and a small amount of mixed spice together), or go with a fruit syrup soak. To make a syrup soak combine the juice of one orange with a dash of lemon juice and 75g of sugar. When you take the cake out of the oven, keep it in its tin and (carefully!) stab it all over with a skewer, then pour over the juice mixture and leave the cake to cool. As it cools it will absorb the juice and become a gooey sticky cake that's good served with ice cream.

Happy baking!


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