I am getting almost bored sitting around at home with my arm in a sling. I would almost prefer to be back at work. Almost. When boredom threatens my thoughts turn to food. Better I make something I can give away, then. I haven’t made carrot cake for a while. I have partaken of a great many delicious carrot cakes in my time. I have also eaten a few that were not very successful at all. The internet is full of recipes, each claiming to be the “best carrot cake ever”. I am not usually that arrogant. In fact my main character fault is probably a tendency towards excessive humility. Many people have shared with me their”secret ingredient” for the “best ever” carrot cake. Some say it is the particular variety of vegetable oil used that makes the difference (always avoid olive oil though). Others claim that crushed pineapple is the key. Even mashed banana. Some folks do say this is one cake in which self-raising flour is the essential component. They say if you don’t use SRF, you need to double up on baking powder. Works for me. Any carrot cake claiming to be “best” should be moist and spicy, with plenty of chopped walnuts and covered with a cream-cheese frosting that is light and zingy with lemon. That is very important. I have made it many times with crushed pineapple as an ingredient, which certainly works well. Now I have added something new, and I am pleased with the result. I just happened to have one remaining jar of two-year-old home-made marmalade in the back of the refrigerator. It has gone sugary. Guess what my new secret ingredient is. I also had some left-over home-made lemon curd. I used it today and discovered it makes an excellent lemon frosting with cream cheese. In playing around with this cake recipe, I made the batter a bit sloppy at first and increased the flour from a planned three cups to four to compensate. I then had a little too much batter, so I made muffins with the excess. That works.
I modestly offer my recipe for
ingredients – cake
- 1 cup vegetable oil (being in WA, I use Canola)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder (4 tsp if not using SR flour)
- 2.5 cups self-raising flour (or plain flour – see above)
- 1.5 cups wholemeal flour
- 2 cups (packed) of finely grated carrot (3 or 4 good carrots)
- 1/2 cup of marmalade
- one 220 g tin (about a cup) of crushed pineapple, with juice
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (at least)
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp salt
ingredients – icing
- 250 g cream cheese
- 150 g butter
- 1 cup icing sugar (about 150 g)
- 2 Tbsp lemon curd OR 2 Tbsp lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon
method – cake
- Heat oven to 170 C.
- With the electric beater, whisk the sugar and oil until thick
- Add the eggs one at a time and whisk two or three minutes more
- Change from whisk to beater on slow, or use a wooden spoon to mix in the remaining ingredients
- Divide the batter between two greased and lined loaf tins and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. The cake should bounce back when touched and a skewer come out clean. The muffins took around 25 minutes.
- Turn out of the tins after they have cooled.
method – icing
- With an electric mixer, beat the icing sugar and butter to a smooth cream
- Add the remaining ingredients and beat until it is light and fluffy.
- Spread on the cake with a spatula when the cake is fully cooled.