This is everything a carrot cake should be: moist, not too dense and laden with the sweetness of freshly grated carrot. The fluffy layer of cream cheese frosting, the spices and lightly roasted nuts create a gorgeous combination of flavours and textures in this delectable cake.
This week l was given the ultimate compliment for my carrot cake by one of my colleagues. She likened it to carrot cake she had eaten at Bourke St Bakery. This is a well known bakery which has become an iconic food destination in Sydney. Am l chuffed? I sure am.
ABOUT THIS CARROT CAKE
Since I haven’t tried carrot cake from Bourke St Bakery, l can’t tell you about it, but l can tell you about mine.
- My cake is lighter than most carrot cakes. I’m not much for the heavy, somewhat doughy consistency you get from some carrot cakes.
- I use brown sugar and not that much of it either. There’s enough sweetness in the frosting to satisfy the sugar craving.
- In addition to the sweet spices (cinnamon and allspice), l add freshly grated ginger. And no, it will not overpower the cake. It blends beautifully with the other spices, and if you taste the cake without the frosting, you’ll just be able to detect an element of heat.
- For nuttiness, I add desiccated/shredded coconut and walnuts. l lightly roast the walnuts in the oven before l add them to the mixture.
- Light and airy is the order of the day when it comes to the frosting. It’s worth the extra bit of time to beat the frosting until it’s fluffy.
What will l be doing this weekend? Going to Bourke St Bakery for a slice of carrot cake of course!
Preparation Time: 20 – 25 mins
Cook Time: 45 – 50 mins
Servings: 8 – 10 slices
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 150 g / 5 oz brown sugar
- 3 eggs (room temperature)
- 200 g / 7 oz plain / all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda / baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp grated ginger (note 1)
- 200 g / 7 oz grated carrot (note 2)
- 30 g / 1 oz desiccated / shredded coconut
- 75 g / 2.5 oz walnuts (note 3)
The Icing / Frosting
- 100 g / 3.5 oz unsalted butter, softened
- 180 g / 6.5 oz cream cheese
- 250 g / 9 oz icing / confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 160 C / 320 F.
- Line a 20 cm / 8″cake tin with baking / parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the walnuts on a tray. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove. Cool then chop roughly. Set aside.
- Place the oil in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar and whisk together until incorporated (1 min).
- Add the eggs. Whisk until the ingredients have combined, and the mixture is light caramel in colour (2 mins).
- Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, allspice in a medium bowl.
- Switch to a wooden spoon. Add the flour mixture and grated carrot alternately to the wet mixture (flour – carrot – flour – carrot – flour). Mix gently to combine, and do not over mix or it will toughen the cake (2 mins) (note 4).
- Add the chopped walnuts and desiccated / shredded coconut. Mix gently.
- Pour cake mixture into prepared baking tin.
- Place baking tin on lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 45 – 50 mins at 160 C / 320 F. Insert a skewer in centre of cake. If it comes out clean; no streaky batter, it’s done. A few crumbs are fine. In my oven, l bake my carrot cake for precisely 47 mins.
- Allow tin to cool before turning cake out onto a rack (note 5).
- Add the frosting once the cake has cooled.
The Icing / Frosting
I use a stand mixer to make my frosting; it’s faster and it fluffs up the frosting beautifully.
- Beat the butter and cream cheese until combined.
- Add the icing sugar in 2 batches.
- Add the lemon juice and zest.
- Continue beating until the icing is fluffy and has increased in volume. I use speed 8 on my stand mixer. It takes around 6 minutes for the icing to fluff up; the more you beat the fluffier it becomes.
- The ginger won’t overpower the cake. It blends beautifully with the other spices, and if you taste the cake without the frosting, you’ll just be able to detect an element of heat.
- No long strands of carrot please. I use a box grater for this job. I start at the pointy end of the carrot and grate until l reach the base.
- Big chunks of walnuts are another no-no. If you chop a walnut into 8ths, that’s the size to go for. I chop my walnuts after they’ve been roasted and cooled.
- I work gently but quickly so that l don’t over mix. Run the wooden spoon along the sides and base of the bowl to ensure all flour is incorporated.
- If you have lined the sides and base of the cake tin, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting the cake out. I gently remove the baking paper from the sides of the tin first. That helps to release the cake from the tin.