I carrot cake my eyes off you.
~ Readbeach.com ~
There is a rumour that I don’t have a sweet tooth. This is partially true as I am more likely to order a starter than a pudding. I am also relatively good at refusing cake. But it all depends on the cake. A good chocolate cake like a Chocolate Sheet Cake can be very tempting. I am not mad about fudgy overly sweet caramel cakes. And although a well-baked red velvet can be good, it is more often than not basically a vanilla cake with red food colouring. No, as far as I’m concerned the best cake you can give me is Carrot Cake! Could I refuse a moist, fluffy carrot cake with spices, nuts, and a luscious cream cheese frosting? I think the answer to that is clearly no!
It has vegetables!!
I might be under the misconception that my sweet tooth does not rule me. But I am certainly not the type of person who claims Carrot Cake is healthy because it has a vegetable in it. Well, carrots do have some fibre and you might end up getting in a minuscule amount of beta carotene and Vitamin C from your slice…. and don’t get me started on the monounsaturated fats in the pecan nuts! I know, I know! It all sounds good until you add the main reason for my love of Carrot Cake – that thick, creamy cream cheese frosting! I saw a post online that someone plans to eat a whole batch of Carrot Cake frosting on the day the world ends! This would not be a bad way to spend the last day on earth at all!
Searching for that perfect bite
There is a fantastic Baker’s Café in Pretoria called Afro-Boer where I have found the most perfect Carrot Cake ever! Michelle Cronje-Cibulka’s Carrot Cake is definitely worth the trip to Afro-Boer. But I knew I could find or create a recipe to make the same level of deliciousness. I was just settling myself in for some research on Pinterest when I found the recipe. Sam Linsell from Drizzle & Dip seems to have been on the same quest as I and has done all the research necessary! Her Carrot Cake recipe is just perfect. She does not add desiccated coconut as she dislikes the taste, but I love it, so in my version of Sam’s recipe, I add half a cup of desiccated coconut. I must also admit that I haven’t tried Drizzle & Dip’s cream cheese frosting. I use a recipe I found from Nomu. Their Carrot Cake recipe was not bad, but not quite “the perfect one”. Their cream cheese frosting is the best though – easy to make and full of delicious creamy cheesiness.
- 1 c pecan nuts, toasted and finely chopped
- 200 g dark brown sugar such as demerara or muscovado
- 100 g white granulated sugar
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 250 ml vegetable oil such as sunflower or canola
- 1 t vanilla extract or essence
- 250 ml crushed pineapple drained from tin (432g tin)
- 500 ml grated carrots (half finely grated and half coarsely)
- ½ c raisins or sultanas presoaked in boiling water and then drained
- 2½ c cake or all-purpose flour I used 2 cups of flour and ½ a cup of dessiccated coconut
- 3 t mixed spice
- ½ t cinnamon
- ½ t ground ginger
- 1 t salt
- 2 t baking powder
- 1 t bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Cream Cheese Frosting (Nomu recipe)
- 60 g butter, softened
- 250 g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature Preferably a brick-shaped type like Lancewood
- 185 g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice
- 50 g pecan nuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped to decorate (optional)
- Heat the oven to 150°C and spread the pecan nuts on a baking tray. Roast for 7 – 8 minutes until toasted. Allow to cool.
- Turn the oven up to 180°C and line 2 x 23cm springform cake tins with baking paper. I spray the tins and the baking paper with non-stick spray as well.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the two sugars with the eggs, until fluffy. Add the oil and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well combined.
- Fold through the drained crushed pineapple, grated carrots and drained raisins until well mixed.
- In a separate bowl, sieve all the dry ingredients and then fold this through the wet cake batter until well incorporated.
- Divide the batter equally between the two cake pans and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. The cake is done when a sharp knife is inserted into the middle and comes out clean. Loosely cover the cakes with tin foil for about 25 minutes if necessary to prevent over-browning.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pans on a cooling rack. They should be completely cool before icing/frosting them.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter until very pale and creamy.
- Add the cream cheese and beat on high speed until smooth.
- Add the icing sugar and beat for a few more minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Add the orange/lemon juice and mix through.
- Generously frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with the chopped pecan nuts.