The first carrot cake recipe you will go to
I’ve made carrot cake before. Don’t get me wrong, it was fantastic. Not even that hard. But the chances of having all those ingredients on hand have been rare, and that was one of the simplest recipes I could find. Others have canned pineapple, or some fruit salad combination of ingredients. Does it really need to be that complicated, or indeed, bizarre? Carrot cakes surely should be, well, carrot cakes, right? Right. So. When Ro came over and demanded to bake armed with carrots, it was clear we had to set out to find a simple kind of carrot cake bliss. Especially since I was a sniffly wreck from my 3rd cold/flu in the last 2 months. Simple need. Need simple. Also needed vegetable with vitamins. Hidden in vast quantities of brown sugar.
Oh! Oh! And you know what makes for double happy carrot cake cupcakes? Making them in miniature size. They are not only adorable, but would be perfect for a high tea or afternoon tea with the ladies. Especially once iced with cream cheese icing.
Bliss in bite size…ooooh yeah.
These are simply gorgeous as a snack, whereas the normal size cupcakes are a good breakfast size along with a serving of fruit or a smoothie or something. Very good sick-day food. They are super moist and soft, quite sweet on their own, and quite smooth considering they are packed with carrots. They’re pretty light without being dry, and the ginger provides a nice warm accent in combination with all the other spices. The walnuts also provided a good chunky texture – if I was made of money, I’d probably get pecans and try them as well.
Thanks Ro! Whoever thought baking while you’re sick would be a remedy for the blues?
Before you look at the ingredients list, don’t be alarmed. Many of the ingredients are optional, but generally if you bake or cook a lot you’ll have them to hand anyway. For our cakes we used all the optional bits.
Simple carrot cake
adapted from the Edmonds Cookbook
would make one thick 8″ cake or a thinner 9″ cake, or multiple cupcakes (prepare for it to make 24)
3 large eggs
1c light brown sugar (we used 1/2 dark brown, 1/2 white)
3/4c oil (we used 1/2c almond, 1/4c canola)
optional: 1 Tbsp golden syrup
2c plain flour (wholemeal would work)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
optional: pinch nutmeg
3 1/2c grated carrots, packed
optional: 1/2c or so of chopped walnuts
optional: 1 tsp orange zest
optional: 1 Tbsp ground ginger
Preheat oven to 170C (340F). Lightly grease cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper, or grease muffin trays/line with cupcake liners.
Beats eggs, sugar, golden syrup, until thick and foamy, about 2 mins. Beat in oil gradually, beating after all oil is added for another minute. Sift in dry ingredients and fold through until mixture is uniform. Fold in carrots, walnuts and zest. Spoon into cake tin or cupcake liners. I like to use a teaspoon for cupcakes as it doesn’t get the batter everywhere.
Bake in the center of your oven until cake springs back when touched in the center. This will take about 15 minutes for standard sized cupcakes or, depending on the size of your cake tin, 30-55mins.
Cream cheese icing
The amount of icing sugar in this recipe will depend on how hard and sweet you want your icing. Keep adding icing sugar if you want a hard frosting that will keep its shape once piped.
1c (250g) cream cheese, cut into lumps
1 Tbsp good greek yogurt or 1/2 Tbsp water or milk
lots of icing sugar – have 500g on hand, start with about 1c
Beat cream cheese and yogurt until smooth and creamy. Beat in icing sugar 1/4c at a time to achieve desired consistency. If using the cream cheese cold, keep in mind that it will soften once it reaches room temperature and you start to pipe it. Alternatively just slather it onto your cake. Makes about 2c.