Last month's Spring Fling open studios was as enjoyable as ever. It was just lovely to spend the long weekend surrounded by Patti Lean's inspiring paintings, chatting to our many visitors and selling lots of my brand new jewellery designs. Patti's magnificent kitchen played host to our regular pop up cafe stocked to the gunnels with baked treats made by me and my Mum. The run away hit was the carrot cake made from my favourite baking book, the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I promised a couple of people I would share the recipe, so here it is, adapted slightly from a three to a two layer sandwich cake:
200g soft light brown sugar
200ml sunflower oil
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp (rounded) bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp (rounded) baking powder
1/2 tsp (rounded) ground cinnamon , plus extra to decorate
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
200g carrots , grated
65g shelled walnuts , chopped, plus extra whole walnuts, to decorate
300g icing sugar , sifted
50g unsalted butter , at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold
Preparation time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3. Base line two 18-cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.
2. Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated (don’t worry if the mixture looks slightly split). Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed.
3. Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts by hand until they are all evenly dispersed. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
4. To make the cream cheese icing beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
5. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed.
6. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.
7. When the cakes are cold, put one on a cake stand and spread about one-third of the Cream Cheese Frosting over it with a palette knife. Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Finish with walnuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.