Due to the inclusion of a salad ingredient, the carrot cake has a reputation as a healthy option – a misapprehension I am more than happy to embrace. The natural sweetness of the carrots combined with the crunchy walnuts, mild spicing and sweet raisins create a wonderfully textured cake, balanced deliciously by its thick crown of tangy cream cheese icing. The way it brings together sweet, sour, spicy and savoury flavours makes this one of my favourite cakes. If you wish to make it for a special occasion, double the recipe and layer two of the cakes with more cream-cheese icing between them.
Makes 2 loaves (700g)
WHAT YOU NEED
For the cake:
125 g carrot, grated (about 5 carrots)
275 g brown sugar
160 ml vegetable oil
210 g plain flour
1½ tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
45 g walnuts, chopped, plus whole walnuts to garnish
75 g sultanas
For the icing:
250 g cream cheese
55 g icing sugar
1½ Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
WHAT TO DO
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 22 cm round cake tin using butter or oil and line the base with baking paper.
- Start off by peeling then finely grating the carrots, then set them aside.
- In a large bowl, add the sugar and the oil and beat for a few minutes until pale and frothy, then gradually add in the eggs and continue to beat until they are completely incorporated.
- Sieve all the cake’s dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix.
- Add the grated carrot, walnuts and sultanas, and fold gently until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into your cake tin and cook for approximately 1 hour. Cool the cake in the tin.
- To make the icing, beat the cream cheese with the icing sugar, lemon juice and zest in a food processor, or by hand, until smooth.
- Once the cake has cooled, spread the icing over the cake and decorate with a ring of whole walnuts.