I've never really been a big fan of carrot cake. It's always seemed like something healthy in disguise as a dessert. Plus, it usually has sultanas in it, and I hate dried fruit. Anyway, one of my colleagues in Canberra used to make this totally amazing carrot cake with mountains of cream cheese frosting, which instantly made the carrot cake worth eating.
Stupidly, I neglected to get the recipe from her, and I've been looking for a decent, dried fruit free carrot cake recipe ever since. I found this one while flipping through one of the cookbooks at work last week and figured I'd give it a go over the long weekend.
Here's what you need for the cake:
1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 cups firmly packed coarsely grated carrot
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Start by putting the oil, sugar, and eggs into a large mixing bowl. The recipe actually says to mix them in a small bowl, then transfer them to a large bowl, but...WHY?!
Beat them together until thick and creamy:
Then add ALL THE CARROT OMG. Seriously, it was all three of those carrots from the ingredients photo:
Stir it through, then add the walnuts:
Then add the baking soda, mixed spice, and self-raising flour.
Mix it all together, and pour the mixture into a greased and lined deep 22cm cake tin. The recipe specifies a round tin, but I used a square one because the only round one we have that's big enough is springform, and pff. And yes, it NEEDS to be deep. This is a monster of a cake.
Bake at 180 degrees C (350F) for about 1 1/4 hours. Mine was gluten free so it took a little longer, as always. Leave the cake in the tin for like 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
Then go out to a 30th birthday party for like five hours, get home at 11.30pm and decide to frost the cake. Obviously, you will forget to take photos of the frosting-making process... (This part is optional)
Here's what you'll need for the frosting:
30g butter, softened
80g cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
Beat the butter and cream cheese together in a small bowl until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Mix through the lemon zest with a knife so that it doesn't just all get stuck in the beaters.
We decided to cut the cake in half, given that there's only three of us to eat it. So half of the cake got wrapped up un-frosted and put in the freezer. I was going to halve the quantity of frosting, but Mum was all "PFF, WHY?!?!?!" So feel free to double the frosting. There's no judgement here...
The verdict? It's pretty freaking good, y'all. The icing wasn't QUITE as cream cheese-y tasting as I would have liked, but I feel like doubling the quantity was definitely a good idea. The cake is pretty dense but it's got a lot of texture to it that stops it from feeling like you're eating a doorstop. Or something.
Basically, it's delicious. And really, you can't go wrong with cream cheese frosting, now can you?
Where do you fall in the great carrot cake debate? Dried fruit? Or no dried fruit?