Lets eat cake.
When you’re craving carrot cake (mind you, I’m not talking about a transient, wait-five-minutes-and-it-goes-away kind of craving but rather I-will-fight-you-for-a-slice kind), there’s only one logical solution. You make a carrot cake – stat!
I have fond memories of carrot cake. “Aunty Doreen”, our neighbour and family friend, made the best carrot cake with cream cheese frosting – a rustic looking thing with two layers of brown cake and thick lashings of off-white frosting between them and on top. Each slice was studded with just the right amount of walnut, and the cream cheese frosting – oh my – you just couldn’t not love it. Seriously, there had to be something wrong with you if you didn’t! Creamy and thick, sweetish and lemony – It was utter perfection.
She always seem to had a fresh cake ready to go each time we were around, and we obliged. Every. Single. Time.
Needless to say, that was pretty much the catalyst for my undying love for carrot cake. You see, I’m not a massive fan of cakes in general… but I go weak in the knees for carrot cake and cheesecake. Those are the only cakes you’ll ever really see me eat because (in my opinion) they’re the best kinds!
As for any other cake, attempting to persuade me to have slice will be, well…useless. You might as well be trying to sell me a pebble.
I guess what brought around this recent craving was the Instagram feed of an old high school friend, whom just happens to be a dessert queen (Insta handle: @priscillalow). Her cakes are always immaculately decorated and they look so good that I’m positive that her pictures must have subliminally persuaded me, a non-cake-lover, to make cake!
So, here it is. The recipe for the carrot cake of my (and soon to be your) dreams that I make with plenty of walnuts and extra virgin olive oil. Trust me, you won’t even miss the butter – the olive oil makes it so moist and fluffy! Oh and by the way, this covered in a delicious lemon & vanilla cream (vegan-friendly too). You’re welcome. ;)
This carrot cake also contains the perfect amount of mixed spice and cinnamon to amp up all that autumnal flavour – just the way I like it. Though it is not Autumn at the moment (in fact, Spring will be here in a few days), it is by my favourite month for taking in the trees around me. The pretty shades of burnt orange and browns just calm me – thus the inspiration for this shoot!
I decorated my completed cake with different sizes of crushed walnuts and one dried fig, sliced up. Honestly though, you could decorate yours with anything (or nothing at all) and I promise you, it’ll still be delicious! Of course if decorating is your preferred route, or if this cake is for a special event, then all you have to do is peruse Pinterest for inspiration! Pinterest once again to the rescue!
Carrot Cake of My (and soon to be your) Dreams
with Lemon & Vanilla Frosting
Serves 12-16. Makes a two-layered cake.
400g of grated carrots (approx. 3-5 carrots)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs (or 2 flax eggs, if you’re vegan)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp mixed spice
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup walnuts
THE LEMON & VANILLA CREAM
1 & 1/4 cups raw cashews
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
The cake. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line the base of a high, round 7 inch (18cm) cake tin with baking paper, greasing the sides with a little olive oil. If you don’t have a high tin, use two regular 7-inch cake tins. Set this aside.
Meanwhile, mix your grated carrots, brown sugar, olive oil, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl until everything is evenly combined. In a separate bowl, stir together your self-raising flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix until your batter comes together and all the ingredients are evenly mixed through. Stir through the walnuts.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 50-60minutes or until your cake is golden brown and a skewer, poked into the middle of your cake, comes out clean. Once done, remove from the oven and let cool.
The frosting. Add all the frosting ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, if you do not own a high-speed blender, soak your cashews in water overnight, drain, and then reduce the amount of non-dairy milk you use by half. Place in the fridge to cool and thicken.
Assembly. Once your cakes are completely cooled, remove them from the tin. Then cut the cake, horizontally, into two layers using a knife. You will not have to do this if you used two separate cake tins. You may also wish to cut off the dome of the cake(s) so you have a perfectly straight top of the cake. Now place some of the cream on top of the first layer cake, followed by the following layer of cake and more cream. Spread a thin layer of cream around the sides of the cake to “lock in the crumbs”. This will help your final layer of frosting to have no crumbs in it! Place your cake into the freezer to set for an hour or two just so the cream can harden a little. Next, top with the remaining icing. Decorate as you please – I topped mine with crushed walnuts and a few slices of dried fig. Store in the fridge until ready to eat.