So it was my Dad’s birthday and I decided to make him his favourite cake – a carrot cake. I normally always have issues making a carrot cake. They get stuck to the tin, or they crack, or sometimes the icing just isn’t right and it goes quite lumpy. But, I’ve finally found a recipe that was absolutely spot on first time! I found it in the book ‘What to bake and how to bake it’ by Jane Hornby. If you haven’t seen this book before, then I’d highly recommend it. In fact, it was one of the things that influenced me to start this blog.
The ground spice mix in this recipe really makes a difference. It changes it from being just any old carrot cake to something a bit more special. It really works.
I’d also never thought about adding pecans to the mix before, but the whole mix of this cake tastes divine! Why not try it for yourself…
For the cake
200ml vegetable oil
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground mixed spice
½ tsp salt
200g light brown soft sugar
250g carrots, grated
For the icing
110g soft, unsalted butter
300g full-fat cream cheese, cold
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Spread the pecans out over a baking tray and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool, then roughly chop.
Grease two 20cm round sandwich tins and line the bases.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices, and salt. Add the sugar, breaking up any large lumps.
Using a microplane, grate in to the bowl the zest of an orange. Squeeze the juice in a separate bowl and set aside.
In your jug with the oil, crack in the eggs. Add 2 tablespoons of orange juice and beat together.
Pour the oil mixture in to your dry ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.
Add the majority of the nuts (saving some for decoration), the carrots and raisins. Stir until blended.
Divide the batter evenly between the tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove and leave on a wire rack to cool.
Now on to the frosting. Beat the butter until creamy and totally smooth. Add the cream cheese and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and evenly blended.
Sift in the icing sugar and gently mix together.
Turn one of the cakes upside down and spread half of the icing across it. Top with the other cake and spread the remaining icing over the top.
Sprinkle the remaining pecans over the top.