My mate Cam dropped off a box of carrots and kiwifruit the other day. I have no idea where he got them from and, frankly, I’m too nervous to ask: I might get arrested. Suffice to say there were enough carrots in there that I’ve been whipping up enough carrot related dishes to the point I’m wondering if we’ll turn orange. That happened to my little brother once when he was a toddler. Crack up. Anyway, top on the lists of carrot culinary delights was my tried and tested cafe style carrot cake recipe that I’ve made on and off over the years (more years than I care to admit, cough. Shit. I’m old).
This is one of those recipes that’s been handed around and I love going to a mate’s house to find they’ve made it (unless it’s better than my version… Then I feel aggrieved). So if you’ve been on the hunt for a top notch carrot cake recipe, look no further, I’ve got you sorted.
This cake is moist, packed full of flavour and texture and super-filling (I know we shouldn’t be getting full on carrot cake, but good luck with that after you’ve made this). Yeah, it’s delicious. It’s also super healthy because it contains vegetables. Snort. Oh, it’s also beautifully decorated, if I do say so myself. As you may know I detest decorating cakes with a passion, so this is cake decorating at its best: Get some stuff and sprinkle it on. Easy and effective. Who can resist a pretty looking cake, especially when there is no art or skill to it?
Lastly, as with a lot of my recipes, this is definitely one where you can substitute ingredients. Don’t like walnuts? Use chopped almonds. Not a date lover? Use raisins or craisins or even diced apricots. Can’t be arsed with faffing around decorating the cake – just use shredded coconut. Or don’t decorate the cake. Let the icing shine. You get my drift.
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or vanilla paste
- 2 cups of caster sugar
- 1 cup of flavourless oil (like rice bran or grapeseed)
- 3 tablespoons of crushed pineapple
- 1 cup of walnuts or pecans, rougly chopped
- 2 cups of plain flour (i.e not self raising)
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of each: Cinnamon, ground ginger and mixed spice
- 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups of grated carrot (2 largish carrots approx)
- 1/2 cup of chopped dates (raisins will be fine too)
- 50g of butter, softened
- 125g of cream cheese, chopped
- 1 + 1/2 cup of icing sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence or vanilla paste (optional)
- Juice and finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tablespoons of finely diced apricot
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped walnut (or sliced almonds)
- 2 teaspoons of sunflower seeds
- 1 heaped teaspoon of shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees, normal bake. Line a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper.
- Combine the eggs, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl and beat until thick and creamy (I use my Kitchen Aid cake mixer - I'm lazy)
- Slowly add the oil and continue beating. Stir in pineapple and walnuts.
- Fold in sifted dry ingredients and then stir in the grated carrot and dates.
- Pour into pre-prepared cake tin and bake on the lowest oven rack for 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If the skewer is still sticky, bake for another 5-10 minutes. Leave the cake to rest in the cake tin for 10 minutes before removing from the tin (and onto a cake rack) to cool.
- Make the icing by beating the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Beat in the icing sugar, vanilla paste, lemon juice and zest. Spread the icing over the cooled cake and decorate by sprinkling decorations over randomly (or do careful placement... Up to you!).
On a side note, speaking of carrots, if you are looking for a quick, easy and crowd pleasing carrot salad that has the WOW Factor, boy have I got a recipe for you… Click here.