I’ve talked before about building up a base of classic recipes to have in my back pocket to pull out at a moment’s notice. Tried and tested recipes that I can almost do with no recipe and with simple store cupboard ingredients. Last time around it was scones, which reminds me that I need to work on scones recipes and expand my repertoire!
Carrot cake definitely falls in to this category. In almost every cafe, coffee shop or tea room some form of carrot cake can be found. Useful for its flexibility of form, it will work as a tray bake, a loaf or a sandwich cake the carrot cake is ever popular. The only problem is there is always a vast range of quality, or perhaps it’s just what certain people decide is the perfect formula.
For me, the perfect carrot cake should be moist, spicy and nutty with light as a feather, creamy frosting on top. The worst offenders in the bad carrot cake category (try saying that more than once!) are dry sponge and crispy frosting, it also makes me sad if the frosting is too cheesy – not good.
The sponge portion of this particular recipe is from a Mary Berry cookbook and unusually contains mashed banana in the batter. The banana does impart a recognisable flavour but it also helps the cake retain moisture. Contrary to what I’ve said above, this perhaps is not a classic carrot cake however it is an excellent revision and is surely super healthy*, I mean it contains not only a fruit but a vegetable too!
* This completely false, this cake is extremely tasty but sadly not at all healthy.
The making of this cake batter is so simple, the key is to prepare everything before you start. So, chop the nuts, mash the banana and grate the carrot.
Everything goes in to one big bowl and gets mixed to combine. Easy!
In to the cake tin. Carrot Cake in under an hour!
Ice the cooled cake, then let your friends cat eat the leftovers.
sponge recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible
For the cake:
225g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g light soft brown sugar
50g walnuts, plus some extra for decoration
100g grated carrot
2 ripe bananas, mashed
150ml sunflour oil
1tsp ground cinnamon
For the cream cheese frosting:
200g cream cheese, at room temperature
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm baking tin, set aside.
Bake the cake:
Add all the ingredients in to a large bowl and mix to combine. Pour batter in to the prepared baking tin.
Bake for 45 – 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the frosting:
To make the cream cheese frosting, first beat the cream cheese frosting until smooth. Add the butter and beat until well combined. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until smooth and completely combined.
Top the cooled cake with the frosting and decorate with some walnuts.