Firstly, sorry for the woeful lack of posts this past week. I have an excuse though: some sort of throat virus that attacks anonymously but leaves its trace for several long, protracted days. Moving from the bed, much less blogging, was completely out of the question for the past few days but the good news is, apart from a nasty sinus headache (any tips for clearing that one up? I’ve tried every pill going and none of them seem to touch it) I’m back to 65/70% recovery and so I present to you a post that I started on Monday before I fell ill….(oh and I will get back to each one of you who commented or stumbled me…very soon!!).
I don’t know many people who dislike Carrot Cake. I prefer it everytime over chocolate cake. Perhaps it’s the always exciting spiciness of the cinnamon and cloves or is it the rich cream cheese icing (I always say I love a bit of cake with my icing). Or is it the slightly perverse thrill at putting a vegetable into a cake?
I suppose it could be the fact that Carrot Cake was once lauded as healthy. For sure it is missing the butter element but that cream cheese topping is about as calorific as it comes although there must be healthier options for the icing. I just don’t want to know about them.
For me, I enjoy the relentless moistness of the cake, the fact that it lasts forever in the cake tin (providing you don’t eat it first) and that tang of cream cheese followed by the spiciness of the cake when you take your first bite. Oh, and it is really easy to make. In fact, it was the first cake I ever made, in Domestic Science class (that’s cookery to you and me), when I was about 10 years old. It is my favourite type of cake mixture, pour and stir. No creaming necessary. There is that annoyingly prolonged time spent grating carrots but if you have a food processor that element is despatched post haste too.
This recipe is slightly different, because, what with this being a chocolate blog and all, it uses Cocoa Powder. The flavour is not overpowered by the cocoa but simply enhanced and given extra depth. The original recipe used (from the Divine Heavenly Chocolate Recipes cookbook) used Cocoa Powder in the Icing too but I omitted that because I love the white, fluffy purity of the original cream cheese icing. I have given both options here in case you want to go all out cocoa mad though.
For the Cake:
3 Large Free Range Eggs
175g Caster Sugar
200ml Sunflower Oil
250g Grated Carrot
200g Plain Flour
3 Tablespoons Good Quality Cocoa Powder
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ground Ginger
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
125g Walnut Pieces (optional)
For the Icing
100g Soft Unsalted Butter
100g Cream Cheese
300g Sieved Icing Sugar
5 Tablespoons Sieved Cocoa Powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 180c.
Line and grease two 8″ Round Sandwich Tins.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until light and frothy. Gradually beat in the oil. A hands free or electric hand whisk is by far the quickest method here.
Stir in the grated carrots.
In a separate bowl, sieve together the Flour, Baking Powder, Spices and Cocoa Powder and stir into the carrot/egg/sugar/oil mixture.
Fold in nuts if using.
Pour evenly into the two prepared sandwich tins and bake for about 25 minutes or until soft to the touch. A skewer may not come out completely clean as carrot cake is always supposed to be very moist.
Leave to cool in the tins and then turn out. Once completely cool, cover and fill with the following icing:
To make the icing, mix together all the ingredients until a thick but spreadable and very creamy icing emerges.
You can decorate with chopped walnuts if you like, or some coconut carrots that, implausibly, my Mum had in her bread bin!