Carrot Cake. Not just a pretty cake.
I love carrot cake. But not the rich heavy kind where you KNOW it’s healthy. I prefer to have a little piece of my little-bit-healthy but-very-tasty carrot cake. As I’ve said before I’m not a huge fan of vegetable cakes. But this one is a personal favourite. I decided this time to change it up a bit. I had seen a picture of flames on a cake, and thought that the candied carrots would be VERY cool looking as decoration. As with all aspiration cake ideas- they take time to work out the kinks. Next time? I’d try to get longer carrots, and might trim the peel so that they looked more like the flames I imagined!
Jen’s Carrot Cake
300g Caster sugar
120g sunflower oil
260g Plain Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground ginger
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
300g of peeled and grated carrots
Zest of one orange (optional)
300g butter, soft
400g icing sugar
tub of mascarpone
100g caster sugar
Whisk the eggs and the sugar VERY well, until the whisk leaves a trail in the lighter than light mix. Add the oil, and vanilla extract, and the zest of orange if using.
Meanwhile, sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and the spices together.
Add these to the egg mixture using the folding method. Lastly fold in the carrots. Ensure the mixture is evenly mixed. Split between the three well-greased and lined 6″ tins.
Bake at 170oC for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Remove from the tins to cool after 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir the sugar and water together in a pot over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the carrot peels carefully and stir every now and then. Let this bubble away gently until the peels go translucent. Transfer the peelings VERY carefully using tongs onto a silicone mat, and transfer this to a VERY low oven to dry out for at least an hour. Turn the oven off, and leave the peelings to further dry for 5 -6 hours.
To make the icing; mix the butter and icing sugar together in an electric mixer (I use my Kenwood with the K attachment). Mix slowly at first, then beat very well, until the icing turns a paler colour. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix again until combined, but no longer, as this can become runny if over-whipped.
Use this buttercream to sandwich the layers together. Then using a spatula, spread a thin layer around the cake to form a crumb layer. Place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to help it set. This carrot cake is extremely light and fragile so it needs the time in the fridge.
After time in the fridge, spread another, thicker layer on the cakes, and finish by carefully placing the candied carrot pieces around the cake. Serve on the same day for best flavours and textures. But honestly? It won’t last too long. It’s quite simply divine.