When it comes to carrot cake, it’s all about striking the perfect balance between healthy-tasting and sinfully decadent. It must be moist, sweet and carry a flavour full of spices that linger on the palate. And while vibrant orange carrots and crunchy nuts should be laced throughout, it should never feel overloaded. As far as frosting is concerned, a cream cheese variety is the only type that should top a cake of this kind, and in our opinion, the thicker, the better.
So, with the season of celebration around the corner, we thought we would divulge our own foolproof recipe for what we consider to be the perfect carrot cake. Scrumptious, decadent and a true crowd-pleaser, this is a recipe that is sure to impress your family and friends.
For the cake
– 450g of grated carrots (peeled)
– 310g of standard flour
– 3 tsp of cinnamon
– ½ tsp of allspice
– 1 tsp of salt
– 1 tsp of baking powder
– ½ tsp of baking soda
– 200g of light brown sugar
– 100g of white sugar
– 3 eggs (room temperature)
– 240mL of vegetable or canola oil
– 150g of raisins (optional)
– 200g of chopped walnuts
– 1 can of crushed pineapple (225g)
For the cream cheese frosting
– 225g of Lewis Road Creamery unsalted butter
– 340g of cream cheese, room temperature (NOT spreadable)
– 1½ tsp of vanilla extract
– 240g of icing sugar
– 200g of crushed walnuts
1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius fan-bake. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans and line with baking paper.
2) Grate the carrots finely and set aside.
3) In a large bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon, allspice, salt, baking powder and baking soda and gently stir until combined.
4) Take another large bowl and in it, beat the brown sugar, white sugar, and eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed until just combined.
5) Keep the mixer running and slowly pour in the vegetable or canola oil.
6) Lower the speed of the mixer to medium-low and add the flour mixture a little bit at a time into the wet ingredients. Beat until just incorporated and stop mixing when there is just a small amount of flour visible.
7) If you want to add raisins, now is the time. Be sure to roll them in a tablespoon of flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake while it’s baking. If not, skip this step.
8) After the raisins (optional), add the grated carrots, walnuts and pineapple to the batter and use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together.
9) Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with your spatula.
10) Bake the cakes all at once for 25-30 minutes. Insert a toothpick into their centres to check if it comes out clean. If so, they’re ready.
11) Let the cakes partially cool on a wire rack before removing them from their pans and leaving them on the rack to cool completely.
12) While the cakes cool, make the icing. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium-low speed. Once combined, increase the speed to medium-high, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
13) Gradually add in the icing sugar, preferably 60g at a time to keep the sugar from flying everywhere. This will also allow the icing to become incredibly smooth.
14) Assemble the cake by stacking them one of top of the other with a layer of icing in between each. Be generous with the icing in order to ensure the stacking is even.
15) Once all three cakes are stacked, add icing to the top and sides and sprinkle the chopped walnuts all over.
16) Refrigerate for at least 40 minutes, so that the icing can set. And note that keeping this cake in the fridge will not make it dry.