I've always liked carrot cake. I think mostly because of the icing, there's something unexpectedly delicious about cream cheese icing that there just never seems to ever be enough of it on a cake! I think somewhere deep down, I also like to believe that, well yes, its a cake, but it has lots of carrots in it, so if you have to eat cake, at least you're getting some form of nutrition too! Well anyway, I like carrot cake! Especially when they are moist, and with a generous lashing of cream cheese icing (cheese in icing, got to get that calcium!!).
I have made plenty of carrot cakes before, but couldn't seem to find my recipe, so based this one on the Hummingbird Bakery recipe, and just adjusted it as I went along. It stayed super moist and fresh for longer than any other carrot cake I've ever made, and I think it is possibly the best one I've ever done!
225g peeled and grated carrots
2 tablespoons milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
130ml vegetable oil (I usually use melted butter, but the oil was incredible)
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
40g toasted pecans
1. Beat together the grated carrots, milk, eggs, vanilla, oil, honey and sugar and mix until well combined and the eggs have started to froth up a little.
2. In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, salt and spices.
3. In 3 parts, add the sifted dry ingredients to the egg/carrot mix, and slowly beat until well combined.
4. As this is happening, toast the pecans. I have never toasted pecans before, but think I want to bottle the smell. You know how they say when you're selling a house, you should have a pot of coffee on or a roast in the oven on open day, well, I think you should toast some pecans instead. I couldn't get over how amazing my kitchen smelled after popping a tray of pecans in the oven for about 5 minutes! I kind of want to do some again now, just to enjoy the smell again. Anyway, moving on....
5. Once your deliciously aromatic pecans have been toasted and your kitchen forever the better for it, chop the pecans and add it to the batter and stir well until smooth and even.
6. I made this batter into 12 generous sized cupcakes (which were more like muffins really), so the baking time may vary from this. After dividing the batter between the cupcake papers, place in a 170C (325F) oven, and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until cooked through, but not overly brown on top. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack whilst making the icing.
1. Mix together 50g of butter with 300g icing sugar. This will gradually combine, but remain powdery.
2. Add 125g of cream cheese (full fat, please, don't pretend! You're getting all the vitamin A of carrots AND the calcium in the cream cheese, enough is enough!) and beat until icing is smooth, light, and incredible!
3. Spread generously onto each cooled cupcake, allow ten minutes for it to set, and then enjoy! Or, if you are a little bored waiting for your husband to come home late from work, play around with icing colours and make some carrots for the tops!