For my family and friends I love to make them a birthday cake full of their favourite things. This particular cake was made for my step-dad, Dave. His absolute favourite is anything ginger, but I had made him a sticky ginger cake two years ago (I will post this in time as it’s too good not to!), and last year I made him a ginger and whiskey fruit cake (his loves also include the odd tipple too!)…but this year I thought I was stick to a classic, and make my carrot cake extra spicy with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
This was also my first chance to attempt some sugar paste decorating work. Yes, it’s just one simple carrot, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?!
This cake would be great not only for a birthday, but just for an afternoon tea. You don’t have to cover the whole cake in the cream cheese frosting…but why wouldn’t you if the option is there?!
Classic Carrot Cake
Prep Time: 20 – 30 minutes Cook Time: 30 – 40 minutes Servings: 12
- 2 1/2 cups / 312g gluten free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm)
- 1 teaspoon xanthum gum (again, I use Dove’s Farm)
- 1 1/2 cup / 360ml vegetable oil
- 4 medium carrots, grated (about 260g)
- 1/2 cup / 100g caster sugar
- 1 and 1/2 cup / 300g brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- Optional add-ins of 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans. I like to use both
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- 2 packs / 450g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 115g unsalted butter, softened
- 480g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pre heat an oven to 160 degrees and grease and line two 9″ cake pans
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, caster sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract until no sugar lumps remain and is thicker in consistency
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices until evenly distributed within the bowl
- Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until it is combined. Next, fold in the carrots, and if using, the nuts and raisins. Do not over mix, but ensure everything is combined well
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared tins and place in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, checking that it has cooked all the way through when a skewer comes out clean from the middle of the cake. Once cooked, allow to cool on a wire rack in the tins for 20 – 30 minutes, before removing from the tin and being allowed to cool completely
- Next, make the frosting. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer or a stand alone, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Next, sieve in slowly the icing sugar, and start to combine. It may be easier to do this initially by hand so that the icing sugar doesn’t fly everywhere! Continue to add in all of the icing sugar until it has fully combined and is smooth, then mix in the vanilla extract. If your frosting is still too runny, add in a little more icing sugar until you reach the consistency you desire. Alternatively, you can place into a fridge for 10 minutes at a time until it thickens
- Finally, assemble the cake! With each of your cooled cakes, use a serrated knife to cut through them both so you end up with four layers. Place one of the layers onto your serving plate or cake board, and then divide your frosting mix by half. With one of the halves of your frosting mix, spread an even later onto the cake, placing the next layer of cake on top and spread again, repeating until you reach the top. Finally, with the other half of your frosting, completely cover the top and sides. You can then decorate your cake with chopped nuts. Slice, serve and enjoy!