I have been sitting on this recipe for many years now. To be honest, I rarely make it. I really don’t know why, because it is magic! It’s delicious and light and moist and way too easy to eat a huge slice of it. I like to think the carrots count as one of your five a day and apart from the icing, this is a dairy free cake. The sum total of its ingredients don’t make me think ‘heart attack’ straight away. So really I have come to think that carrot cake is good for me. Who is with me on this?
For some unknown reason, I was craving carrot cake yesterday. The type of craving that has me scrambling through the cupboards and fridge to see if I could make one instantly. Alas, I did need to take a trip to the market but it was worth it. Every mouthful, every crumb is worth it. This is by far the best carrot cake I think I have ever had. I keep it simple. It takes minutes to throw together and is light on ingredients. The carrot shines through. Of course, you can add walnuts or orange zest if you wish.
I can’t quite understand how I haven’t shared this with you before. This cake is one of those go-to comfort cakes. It’s a bakers repertoire essential. It is one of the lighter, taller, fluffiest carrot cakes, not the kind that you can slice and eat like bread. It is a cakes cake. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
- 400 g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 400 ml sunflower oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 400 g self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 400 g of grated carrots
For the icing: (makes enough for one very large cake or two smaller loaf tin cakes
- 350 g cream cheese
- 50 g unsalted butter, softened
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 600 g of icing sugar
Pre heat the oven to 170 C or 160 C (fan oven). I like smaller, taller cakes, so I use three 18cm loose bottomed round tins. But use what you have. This recipe works well split into two loaf tins and also two larger 23 cm round tins. Whatever the tin shape and size, line the sides and bottom with greaseproof baking paper.
Whisk together the sugar, eggs and oil until pale a fluffy. If you have a stand mixer, use a balloon whisk. Add the vanilla and whisk again.
Sieve the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt into the egg mix. Mix just until combined.
Finally add in the grated carrots and give it a very good mix.
Divide the mixture between your tins, pop into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, it should be golden brown and delicate to the touch and when a skewer is inserted, it should come out clean. Or add a further 10 minutes if you like you cake a little heavier and firmer. Once out of the oven, allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then remove to fully cool on a wire rack (roughly 30-45 minutes)
For the icing, beat together the cream cheese, butter, lemon juice and zest. Sift in the icing sugar and gently beat until fully combined.
For this cake I have three layers. Place one layer on a plate, smear with icing sugar and top with the next layer, icing and the next layer. Cover the sides and top of the cake with the icing. If you have a piping bag you can do some fancy piping work on the top and sides. I tried. I think it’s quite obvious, but my piping skills are somewhat lacking in creativity and finesse…
Enjoy the cake, let me know how you get on!