I’ve wanted to try to make carrot cake for a really long time, because I love it’s cinnamon-ey, nutty yumminess. But as ridiculous as this sounds, I had a preconception that carrot cake would be really difficult to make because it had…um, carrot, in it. It turns out it wasn’t hard at all, but carrot to me still just seems like such a weird thing to put in a cake. To make the whole endeavour even better I worked out after I’d made it, that compared to a normal cake carrot cake is actually quite healthy (in the loosest sense of the word) because it doesn’t have any butter in it and it involves really quite a lot of carrots- way more than you’d expect.
Anyway, as with most of my cooking escapades, I turned to my library of Bill Granger cookbooks and I found this easy recipe for Carrot Cake in Bill’s Basics. You start by greasing and lining a 24cm springform cake tin.
To make the cake you’ll need these ingredients:
200g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g grated carrot
250g soft brown sugar
250ml light-flavoured oil (I used sunflower, but vegetable or canola oil would also work)
100g sultanas or raisins
100g chopped walnuts
zest of 1 orange
To make the icing you’ll need these ingredients:
250g cream cheese
30g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g icing sugar
Preheat your oven to 170c. You start the cake by sifting together your flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a big bowl. Grate your carrots and then mix the grated carrots through the flour mixture. Without a doubt the hardest and most annoying part of this recipe is grating the carrots, 200g was actually quite a few carrots and it took me ages, but I’m quite weak on the grating front, as well as very cautious after a bad run in with a parmesan grater a few weeks back.
In a different bowl whisk your eggs and sugar together. (Very) slowly whisk in your oil to this mixture, if you don’t do it slowly the mixture will split and all the oil will just sit on top of the sugar and eggs which is gross, so take your time.
Make a well in the carroty flour bowl and pour the wet mixture in, stir it until the mixture just comes together. Then fold through your sultanas, walnuts and orange zest.
Pour the mixture into your baking tin and bake at 170c for between 1 and 1 and a quarter hours. I haven’t put loads of pictures of the cooking process because as you can see the mixture looks a little unappealing, but I can assure you it completely transforms in the oven and looks delicious (and not at all like vom) when it comes out.
Once your cake is baked, which you can check with a skewer which should come out clean (or a knife, if like me you don’t own a skewer) let it cool in the tin for 5 mins. Then take it out of the tin to cool on a wire rack. Once the cake is cool make your icing.
The icing is so easy, just beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth and then add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
Then slather your icing all over the top of your cake….
Until it looks shiny and lovely. Obviously add the amount of icing to your own taste. The quantities in this recipe make quite a bit of icing, which I like, but not everyone does. I’ve noticed that boys don’t really like that much icing.