Carrot Cake

I first made this cake for Father's Day earlier this year as a quick present for my Dad. It's a Lorraine Pascale recipe which I have adapted; after watching her TV programme (featuring a lot of chocolate, always a sign of a great show) and falling in love with the beautiful cakes she made, I really wanted to try one of her recipes. It is originally a recipe for a 3-tier cake, but I took off a third from each ingredient to make 2 layers, which I think is more than enough. This cake doesn't need any butter, being replaced with vegetable oil which along with the carrot gives a wonderful moist texture. The orange and lemon in the cake and icing give a really fresh citrus tang to it, and makes what is normally considered quite a heavy cake, very light and refreshing. This cake disappeared very quickly, and like the honey cake I ended up making another one!

The Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 350ml vegetable oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 280g grated carrot
  • The zest of 2 oranges
  • A pinch of salt
  • 350g self raising flour
  • 2/3 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed spice
  • 2 drops of vanilla extract
  • A few handfuls of roughly chopped walnuts

For the icing:
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 25g butter
  • 80g cream cheese (for a healthier option use Quark)
  • 1 drop of vanilla extract
  • zest of a lemon
  • zest of an orange
  • a few chopped walnuts to decorate

How to make it:

1. Preheat the oven to 180Âșc/ Gas Mark 4 and line your two sandwich tins. The cake cooks better by splitting it into 2 tins rather than using one and cutting it in half afterwards. 

2. Put your vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, carrots and orange into a bowl and mix together.

3. Sift in your flour and bicarbonate of soda, then add the salt and mixed spice. Add the vanilla extract and walnuts last and give it a final mix.

4. Split the mixture into the two sandwich tins and bake for 40-45 minutes. Check after half and hour- if it's starting to go a bit brown on the top, just cut a square of greaseproof paper and lay it over the top of the cake in the oven.

5. After three-quarters of an hour, use a knife or skewer to check your cakes are ready- it is properly cooked if the skewer comes out clean. If not, put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes. When they are done, rest them on a cooling rack for half an hour to an hour, until the top of the cakes are cool to touch.

6. For the icing, put your icing sugar, butter, lemon, orange and vanilla into a bowl and whisk it gently. Add the cream cheese last and mix. If this makes the mixture a bit too runny, add some more icing sugar until it starts to thicken up slightly and put in the fridge for about 10 minutes. 

7. Cover the top of one layer with half of the icing, before placing the next layer on top; this acts almost like cement to secure the 2 layers together. Use the rest of the cream cheese frosting over top of the cake and decorate however you want with the remaining chopped walnuts, and it's ready!

This carrot cake recipe is honestly one of the best ones I've tried. The oil just makes the cake so moist and the icing is fairly light, but what makes the biggest difference is the citrus taste. Happy baking!

Have you tried this recipe? How did it go?

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