I’m back! Sorry for being MIA lately – The Husband and I have recently moved into our own home (!), and between moving, unpacking and trying to get settled, I’ve hardly had time to get into the kitchen. I needed an excuse to get me back in there, really.
And the excuse came in the form of request for a birthday cake. Perfect! I was specifically asked to make a carrot cake, which I was really excited about. Carrot cake is one of my absolute favourites, and honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t posted about it before. There’s just something about that moist, dense cake coupled with creamy frosting that’s absolutely irresistible. In fact, I think I love carrot cake so very much because it’s an excuse to make copious amounts of cream cheese frosting. Adding maple syrup to the cream cheese gives the flavour a whole other, deeper dimension, and it works with so many cakes – red velvet, pumpkin spice, carrot (of course!)…the list is endless! All I can say is trust me, it’s worth it.
This is a very simple carrot cake recipe, which is slightly adapted from the original found in the Australian Women’s Weekly 100 Classic Cakes cookbook. The maple cream cheese frosting recipe is my own, which has sprung from about five different variations all merged together. The carrot cake is moist, dense and bursting with spices, and topped with the creamy, maple-infused frosting makes it the perfect cake for birthdays, desserts or an afternoon tea with friends. I was sad to give it up once it was baked and decorated!
CARROT CAKE WITH MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
For the cake (note that I doubled the recipe):
250 ml vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 cups firmly packed grated carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit or Gas Mark 4) and grease and line a 22cm or 23cm round cake tin.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the oil, eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer until the the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
3. Add the carrots and nuts and the sifted dry ingredients and mix gently with a wooden spoon until combined.
4. Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, though you ought to start checking the cake after 45 minutes in the oven. The cake is cooked when it is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack.
For the Maple Cream Cheese frosting:
200g cream cheese
1/3 cup maple syrup
6 cups icing sugar, sifted.
1. Beat the butter, maple syrup and cream cheese on high speed with an electric mixer for 2 – 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
2. Add 1/3 of the icing sugar and beat again to incorporate. Repeat the process until all the icing sugar has been incorporated and the mixture is thick and creamy.
3. Place the frosting in the fridge for 20 minutes to help it thicken up.
4. Frost the cake however you like – I placed frosting between the layers and over the top of the cake and decorated using extra chopped walnuts and sugar carrots. If you’d like to pipe, simply colour some of your left over frosting and fill a piping bag with an attached writing tip.