Saturday, 1 October 2016

It's time for carrot cake

Hello October!
I'm celebrating the new coming season with a delicious cake recipe. Carrot cake filled with mixed nuts, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and orange zest definitely speaks autumn to me :). This cake is one of my favourites to make - all ingredients go in one pot, then oven, then my tummy...
You simply have to give it a go, the vegetable oil keeps it moist and fresh for quite a while - that is if you can keep it for more than 2 days!!

Prep time around 15 mins, baking 45-50 mins

Here's what you need:
**I'm using cups to measure out ingredients, the key is to use the same cup size to measure all, you can use tea cups or glasses but stick to one size.**

for the cake:
2 cups of finely grated carrots - it comes up to around 4 medium sized carrots
2 cups of brown sugar
2 cups of white plain flour or wholemeal plain flour
1 and 1/4 cup of oil - I like using grapeseed or rapeseed oil
4 free range eggs
2 tsp of cinammon
2 tsp of baking powder
2 tsp of baking soda
pinch of salt
handful of chopped mix nuts, raisins or pumpkin seeds - you can add all or just pick ones you like

for the icing:
2 tubs of soft cream cheese - around 200g each
2 tablespoons of butter
3/4 cup of icing sugar
few drops of vanilla extract
few drops of lemon juice
orange zest - this is optional, but adds lovely flavour!

Here's how to do it:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Prepare a round cake tin (I like using butter and bread crumbs to line the tin - you can find more info and a picture of this method in my 'i LOVE cake' post, or use baking paper to line the bottom of the tin).
Peel and grate the carrots. In a mixing bowl beat the eggs with sugar. Gradually add flour and oil, keep mixing. Next add grated carrots, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and nuts/seeds that you are using. Mix all to combine well. Transfer to the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for about 45-50mins.

You can use a skewer to check if the cake is baked in the middle - when you pierce the cake it should come out fairly dry, if after 50 mins of baking it's still looking wobbly and wet in the middle, bake for a bit longer.
While the cake is baking, you can start preparing the icing. In a small pot melt the butter then take off heat and add icing sugar, with a wooden spoon mix so both ingredients combine well. Add all of the soft cream cheese and mix, it's nice to use an electric hand mixer to make a more fluffy mixture, but just using a spoon is ok too. Add a few drops of squeezed lemon juice, vanilla extract  and orange zest if using - I would use no more than a heaped tea spoon. Taste your icing to check if you need to add more sugar or lemon juice - depending on how sweet or sour you like it. Once you're happy with the taste of your icing place it in the fridge until it needs to go on the cake.

Once the cake is ready take it out from the oven, place on a cooling rack and cool down.
When it's not so hot anymore, I like cutting it half way, taking the top off so it cools down quicker.
When it's ready divide the icing into half, spreading one half on the middle of the cake and the remaining mixture on top.

And here it is. It goes really well with a nice cup of tea or coffee and it's perfect in the morning, afternoon or evening, all day everyday :-). Happy autumn.

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