20 June 2011

Scrumptious Carrot Cake

Using vegetables in cakes shouldn't work, my brain fights against the idea, but this cake just proves otherwise. It is A-MAZ-ING, and I don't say this lightly as I am a self confessed cake snob. Snobs a bad choice of word i think...i love all cake! But for something to be worth remaking it has to have that extra something that this one truly 100% does

I realise most people probably have a go-to carrot cake recipe, but if you don't already then please do give this one a go! It is delectably moist (that word is one of my cringe words..moist..ew..but as far as cakes are concerned, moist = yummmm) due to having an obscene amount of carrots in it, I did so much research before choosing this one and that was really the winning factor, too many carrot cake recipes have only 2 cups or so shredded carrot, thats not enough! This one is basically a health food in its own right. It has a wonderful texture studded with plump little raisins, a shed load'a nuts and a bit of coconut thrown in for good measure :) Result is that every bite has that little something special that means it never gets boring, rather a dangerous attribute when you have this 3 tiered, cream cheese slathered, utterly irresistible deliciousness in the vicinity.

Are we getting the fact I like this cake? I think I have probably made my point :)

Another wonderful thing about carrot cake is that it is so versatile as everyone has their different preferances, for example I really adore the juicy pop of the raisins so probably would opt for 50:50 raisins to nuts. Whereas my mum, although liking the raisins, would rather have a higher nut content. If you don't like either, leave them out! Not a coconut fan, same thing goes. A can of crushed pineapple is a nice addition too. Really just play around and find your perfect balance, or just try mine out and revel in its moorish scrumminess

Carrot Cake
Adapted from Marzipan with my alterations in italics
5 ounces (1 cup) raisins
1 pound carrots (4 cups shredded)
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed (I used light brown sugar)
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
5 1/2 ounces walnuts
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment and grease the parchment also (I only had one 8-inch so used this and baked one by one)
Place the raisins in a vegetable steamer over shallow water in a saucepan and steam for 10 minutes Uncover and set aside (my raisins were already pretty plump so I omitted this step)
Grate the carrots and set aside
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, and set aside.
In a large bowl beat the eggs. Add the vanilla, both sugars, and oil, and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix slowly until just combined. Stir in the carrots, raisins, and nuts
Divide the batter evenly among the three pans and use a spatula to even out the batter.
Bake the pans for 35 to 40 minutes or until the tops just spring back when gently pressed with a fingertip and the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. 
Remove from the oven and let stand 2-3 minutes. 
Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake and invert the cakes onto a cooling rack, allow to cool.
It is not necessary to remove the parchment from the bottoms of the cakes at this time.
Brush any stray crumbs from the sides of the cakes and transfer the cakes to the freezer, unwrapped, for at least an hour, or until cakes are firm enough to handle. If you wish to freeze the cakes longer, wrap the frozen layers in plastic wrap and return to the freezer until you are ready to frost the cake. Do not thaw the layers before icing. (I frosted the cakes straight away when cool and did not freeze them)
When ready to ice the cake, prepare a large, flat cake plate by lining it with four strips of wax paper to make a square. This wax paper will catch any crumbs and icing while frosting the cake. 
Remove the parchment paper from the bottoms of the cakes. 
Place one cake layer on the plate and spread a thin layer of the icing evenly over the cake. Cover with the second layer. Spread another 2/3 cup or so icing over the second layer. Place the third layer on top and spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake. Remove the wax paper strips carefully. Garnish the cake with pecan halves. 
Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.
Cream Cheese Icing
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (I used slightly more)
Beat the cheese and butter until soft and smooth. 
Beat in vanilla and sugar until smooth
It was my first time using cream cheese frosting and so I was cautious and used very little on the cake as seen in the pictures. I actually made a full batch as instructed above, stored what i didn't use in the fridge, and served the excess by the side of the cake on a plate. Next time I will use the full batch on the cake as originally suggested as it was scrumptious :)

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  1. I love a good carrot cake (and zuchini cake too). it's been awhile since I've made carrot cake. I'll have to give this one a try!

  2. @Kristen
    Please do! I know im only a rooky in the food blog world but I guarantee you would like it if you did :) I have never had a zuchini cake but its definitely on my to-do list, if you have a good recipe for one that you wouldn't mind sharing I would love to try it!

  3. @Elra's cooking and baking
    Thank you Elra! Coming from someone whos blog I follow religiously, that means an awful lot :)

  4. I like your cake. It looks so tasty yummy! I'm sure you have no problem to finish this delicious cake, right? ^_^

  5. @SweetmakemeSmile
    Oh absolutely no problem! Carrot cake is one of my favs and with my terrible self control it didnt hang around long at all :)

  6. Beautiful cake Sasha!!!!! I have never made carrot cake or any cake... This year I started blogging and I realized most bloggers do bake! It's my new challenge to bake more. You have lots of goodies on your blog.

  7. wow its done perfectly!!!!looks awesome!!!! healthy carrot cake!!!!

    First time to your space, I'm loving it. No doubt i'm following your blog.
    I will be very Delighited to find you in my followers list of my blog.

    Happy Blogging!!!!
    Food Blog News Daily
    Good Food Recipes

  8. that looks so moist and decadent! and I like the simple decoration on the top.

  9. Yummy - welcome to the blogging world & congrats on this beautiful cake, I too love these top decorations & enjoy that this uses so much carrot too (that makes it super healthy right, nice thinking - I'm with you)