Carrot Cake

We recently had a birthday in the family and Carrot Cake is a favourite, so I decided it would be the perfect birthday cake for our birthday man. I haven’t made a carrot cake in a while, but I should say I really liked this recipe from BBCGoodFood for it’s simplicity. The original recipe uses raisins to add sweetness, but I reckon the cake is sweet enough without them. Plus – the question is, do raisins really belong in a carrot cake?! This one also has walnuts, though you can also use pecans or go without if you prefer. Perfect for a tea time treat!

More in cake: Vegan Carrot Cake MuffinsApple & Blackberry CakeBiscoff Cake

Carrot Cake

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Serves 10-12 | Prep 35 mins | Cook 30 mins + cooling
Easy

You’ll need:

  • 235ml vegetable oil, plus extra for the tin;
  • 100g natural yogurt;
  • 4 large eggs;
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract;
  • ½ an orange, zested;
  • 265g self-raising flour;
  • 335g light muscovado sugar;
  • 2½ tsp ground cinnamon;
  • ¼ ground nutmeg;
  • 265g carrots (about 3), grated;
  • 100g sultanas or raisins (optional)
  • 100g walnuts or pecans, half roughly chopped, half halved (optional).

For the icing:

  • 100g slightly salted butter, softened;
  • 300g icing sugar;
  • 100g full-fat cream cheese.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and line the base and sides of two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment (this is a good guide by BBC Good Food – lining cake tins). Whisk the oil, yogurt, eggs, vanilla and zest in a jug. Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg with a good pinch of salt in a bowl. Squeeze any lumps of sugar through your fingers, shaking the bowl a few times to bring the lumps to the surface.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, along with the carrots, raisins and the chopped nuts, if using. Mix well to combine, then divide between the tins. Bake for 25-30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If any wet mixture clings to the skewer, return to the oven for 5 mins, then check again. Leave to cool in the tins.

To make the icing, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add half the cream cheese and beat again, then add the rest (adding it bit by bit prevents the icing from splitting). Remove the cakes from the tins and sandwich together with half the icing. Top with the remaining icing and scatter with the remaining walnuts. Will keep in the fridge for up to five days. Best eaten at room temperature.

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Original recipe from BBC Good food, issue August 2018, available online here.


Previously posted on this day:

== 2018 ==

Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins

I love playing around when I bake… vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and etc. There is so much to figure out like binding agents, raising agents, flours to use and so on. This particular recipe uses linseed (flaxseed) instead of egg to act as a binding agent. I didn’t have any and forgot to get some on my way home, so I played around with the rest of the ingredients hoping for the best. So here is my version of these Waitrose magazine Carrot Cake Muffins.

More in Vegan Treats: Coconut, Pistachio and Lime Friands | Tropical Fruit and Nut Granola | Cashew & Date Energy Balls

Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins

Makes 12 | Prep 20 mins | Cook 25 mins, plus cooling
Easy | Vegan | Dairy-free | Contains Nuts

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You’ll need:

  • 300g self-raising flour;
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda;
  • 1½ tsp mixed spice;
  • 150g Dark Muscovado sugar;
  • 35g porridge oats;
  • 75g sultanas;
  • 75g walnuts, chopped;
  • 1 large orange, zest and juice;
  • 150g Stork baking block, melted;
  • 250g Alpro Vanilla Soya;
  • 250g carrots, coarsely grated (about 3);
  • 25g icing sugar.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and add the mixed spice and a pinch of fine salt. Stir in the Muscovado sugar, porridge oats, sultanas, the walnuts and ½ the orange zest.

Add the melted baking block, vegan soya with vanilla and 50ml orange juice and stir with a spatula. On the fifth turn of the spatula, add the grated carrots and continue to fold until the mixture is mostly even – don’t worry if there are a few dry patches; it’s best not to over-mix it. Spoon into the cases; they will be very full. Bake for 23-25 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

For the topping, stir together the icing sugar, 2 tsp orange juice and the remaining zest. Brush this over the top of the muffin and leave to set.

Original recipe from Waitrose Baking supplement from September 2019 issue, available online here.

Carrot Cupcakes (Gluten-Free Option Available)

These little cakes are really easy to make and are sure to go down well with everyone, especially lovers of carrot cake. Until making these cupcakes, and eating them, I had never tried carrot cake before. They definitely converted me, so I’m pretty sure anyone would like them! Not to mention that they are really pretty, and if you substitute my decoration for sugar flowers, they would have a sophisticated finish suitable for any event – high tea, dinner party, charity bake sale or, as Delicious magazine suggests, a wedding. I made mine gluten-free as they were for a charity event at work so I have included a GF version to Delicious Magazine’s original recipe (ingredients in bold where you can swap to GF ones). I hope that by making this recipe, you’ll see that gluten-free baking doesn’t have to be hard and I doubt you’ll be able to taste the difference from the non-GF ones!

(Gluten-Free) Carrot Cupcakes

Makes 22-24 | Takes: a couple of hours including cooling | A little effort | Gluten-free
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You’ll need:
  • 200g grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots);
  • 250ml light olive oil;
  • 4 large eggs;
  • 75g sultanas;
  • 75g raisins;
  • 1 orange, zested;
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice;
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice;
  • 225g self-rising flour/ 225g gluten-free self-rising flour (I used Dove’s Farms freee range, available in most large supermarkets and free form sections).
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
For the icing:
  • 100g unsalted butter at room temperature;
  • 250g full fat cream cheese at room temperature;
  • 100g icing sugar.
To decorate:
  • Sugar flowers or other small decorations (baking aisle in large supermakets)

To make the cupcakes, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda and mix well with the mixed spice and ground spice. In a small ball, whisk the olive oil and eggs together. Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry. When everything is mixed well, add the carrot, dried fruit and orange zest. Mix everything well.

Line 2 x 12-hole cupcake/muffin trays with pretty cupcake paper holders or use silicone cupcake holders.  Spoon the batter into each case and divide the batter evenly between 22 or 24 cases. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cakes in the trays until cool enough to handle, then put onto a rack to cool completely.

For the icing, beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Then start beating in the cream cheese a spoonful at a time until smooth and well combined. You can spoon or pipe the icing onto the cooled cupcakes and top with sugar flowers. I topped mine with mini fudge bites.

Adapted from a Delicious Magazine recipe, issue May 2018, not available online.