Sunday, 10 February 2013

Move Over, Bugs! It's Carrot Cake for Tea

 Oh dear, apologies for the long absence! What can I say - my lovely DinnerSister's first novel finally hit the shelves ("Between You And Me" by Margaret Scott, available on the shelves right now... Of course I'm biased, but it really is a great read) so we've been gallivanting to launches and having little celebrations of our own, cashing in and having nights out (the Shelbourne Hotel of a Monday night, if you don't mind!).
Iced, to hide the faults!

So, finally I am back to you! January is over, hopefully most of us have dealt with the Christmas excesses and are back to normal, so I felt maybe it was time we could think about a little cake again. I've been meaning to make my Dad's carrot cake for ages, but never got round to it. Today, we were meant to go out and get into town for some retail therapy - I have an attic conversion that needs decorating. The two little DinnerBabies were understandably nonplussed about such a trip, and of course Himself (being an English man) was more interested in the rugby, and then I looked out the window and saw the rain and I'm still tired from a late night last night (celebrating the esteemed lady author again, of course) so I was easily persuaded to stay home. But the match was too tense, I couldn't watch. Mooching around the kitchen, flicking through recipe books, I came across the carrot cake recipe that I wrote out two years ago and still hadn't tried - and I knew there were a lot of way old, sad and tired looking carrots in the bottom of my fridge; so carrot cake it is.

They look better peeled!
Sad, tired old carrots, perfect for cake
I have to say, the grater attachment on the cheapo food processor I got in Tesco is great, much handier than grating 8 soft carrots by hand and made it light work. Unfortunately, I was too lazy to line the tin and; although I oiled the it well; the cake stuck fairly solid. But it tastes gorgeous and I'll know for again (note to self, buy the larger size of paper loaf tin liners next time, ones that are too small are fairly redundant!). Even lining the bottom of the tin would have been enough. Oh well, what the heck, here's the recipe anyhow; it's so easy, with mixed spice and nutmeg to give it that old fashioned flavour.

Carrot Cake 

For the cake:

Poor old battered cake
  • 2 large eggs
  • 140mls vegetable oil
  • 200g soft light brown sugar (I only had dark, so I used that - and not enough, so some caster sugar too!)
  • 300g carrots, grated
  • 100g raisins (I soaked them for a few minutes in some tepid water)
  • 75g chopped walnuts
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (breadsoda)
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • ½tsp nutmeg
  • ½tsp mixed spice (you buy it ready mixed as "mixed spice")
  • Loaf tin, oiled and lined
  • Preheat the oven to 150C

For the topping:

  • 250g cream cheese, fridge cold
  • 50g soft / room temp butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 275g icing sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange 
  1. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and then add in the oil, sugar, carrot, raisins and buts and beat gently to combine
  2. Sift in the dry ingredients (I only sift the breadsoda, to be honest) and bring the mixture together with a spoon
  3. Scrape into the prepared tin and smooth the surface, then bake for 1 to 1¼ hours (mine took 1hr 5mins)
  4. Cool in the tin for 5 mins and then remove to a wire rack to cool fully
  5. For the frosting, beat the cheese and butter together, then add the vanilla, sugar and orange and mix to combine; it should be smooth and thick
  6. Use a palette knife to smooth onto the cold cake, dipping the knife into hot water if the icing becomes too stiff

I found I had enough icing to ice the sides of te cake too, but Himself isn't so fond of all that sweetness, so I only iced the top - and, as you can see from the first picture, I had to ice it inversed (on the bottom, really) as it broke apart so much, the next one will look much more beautiful - but where's the fun in that?!

Slice and enjoy with a big mug of warm tea (Himself wanted his Union Jack mug in the photo too, I felt that would be rubbing salt in our wounds today!).

Sarah xx

PS: here's a photo of the two of us at our book celebration "frock night" last night


1 comment:

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