Very Good Carrot Cake

I have not abandoned this blog… if anyone was wondering.

It’s quiet here because I’m suffering from blogger’s block; zero inspiration, and unsuccessful and equally un-photogenic bakes. In another words, I was baking uninspiring crap that looked shit which I blame it on a poor excuse that I made up.

The other reason is I got myself a full-time job. Yay for me. Not so yay for this blog. I do hope, however, I will be able to start baking more often once I get into a routine. For now though, I’m feeling too tired after work to do anything, let alone bake.

Anyway, when I do get around posting something here on this blog, I promise it will be good. You know, like they say, quality not quantity. Like this very good carrot cake.

There are many recipes and variations out there for the ever popular carrot cake. I tested many many recipes (yes, a double “many”, grammar check), including most of the popular ones online and some of the promising ones in cookbooks and food blogs.

I decided that I like my carrot cake old-fashion. No coconut please, and definitely no pineapple. I’m almost tempted to say I prefer it without walnuts and sultanas. But on second thought, the crunch from the walnuts (if roughly chopped to the right size) and the occasional burst of sweetness from the sultanas add interest to the cake which I quite enjoy. I like my carrot cake moist (of course) but not soggy, with just a hint of cinnamon, and a gentle note of orange.

I can’t say that this is the ultimate carrot cake because I’m sure many will disagree. This is, however, my favourite one of all the carrot cakes that I made. It’s a very good carrot cake which I’m sure won’t disappoint. It’s an easy cake to make too. Mix the ingredients for this cake like you would with muffins- the trick is not to over mix.

Very Good Carrot Cake
(Adapted from Best Recipes)

Makes 8 mini loafs (or a 20cm diameter cake)

Carrot Cake
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup golden syrup
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon orange liqueur, e.g. cointreau (optional, but highly recommend for a hint of orange)
2 medium carrots, grated
3/4 cup sultanas
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting
120 grams light cream cheese, softened and at room temperature
60 grams butter, softened and at room temperature
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
zest of an orange

To make carrot cake:
Preheat oven to 170C (or 150C fan-forced).

Line and grease mini loaf pan (I used Baker's Secret 8 cup petite loaf pan) or 20cm round cake pan.

Combine flours, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a large bowl. Set aside.

In a seperate bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, golden syrup, eggs, vanilla and liqueur until well combined. Add to flour mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold mixture together until just combined. (Tip: This should take only about 10 folds, making sure to scrap the bottom of the bowl with each fold. There should still be big pockets of flour in the mixture. That is okay because we will get to that when we fold in the rest of the ingredient.)

In a seperate bowl, combine grated carrots, sultanas, and roughly chopped walnuts. Add to mixture above. Using the spatula, gently fold all the ingredient together until just combined. (Tip: The trick is to mix as little as you can get away with, without leaving pockets of flour in the batter. The batter should still be slightly lumpy.)

Spoon our pour mixture into prepared pan. If you are using the petite loaf pan, bake for 20-30minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. For 20cm round cake pan, bake for 1 hour.

Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn, top-side up onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

To make cream cheese frosting:
Using an electric mixer, whisk together cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, and orange zest until pale, light and fluffy. Allow frosting to firm up in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Pipe or spread frosting over top of cake. Decorate with grated carrot.

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