The American Carrot Cake is one cake that I hardly have any encounters with. One reason could be that it is not a staple cake in conventional bakeries and it is more commonly found in western style coffee chains like Starbucks or Coffee Bean. Once, I had a serving of it at a hotel buffet and I was immediately drawn to its spicy taste accompanied with cream cream frosting that is signature of carrot cakes.
Flipping through and comparing my recipes, I decided that the carrot cake by Rachel Allen is the more authentic one, using a combination of mixed spice, nutmeg and cinnamon. My other recipes had cinnamon as the sole spice ingredient.
While I was reading and following the instructions, one particular matter caught my attention. The method of mixing is in fact the conventional mix-dry-wet ingredients muffin method. Being cautious, I made sure not to over-mix the ingredients, ensuring that the mixing stops once the dry ingredients were moistened. Apart from the tedious process of grating the carrots, this is one very simple cake to make. To my amazement, the outcome was a fluffy, moist and pleasantly spiced cake with moist plump raisins and chunky walnuts, topped with a refreshing citrusy orange cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese frosting is one delightful icing on the cake, with vanilla added to accentuate the orange flavour.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe adapted from Bake from Rachel Allen)Taste and Texture: Mild-spicy, moist, fluffy and chunky with moist plump raisins and crunchy walnuts.
Serving size: 8-10 slices, Makes a 9 x 5 inch loaf
Equipment and Materials:
- 9 x 5 inch loaf tin
- Baking paper
- Mixing bowls
- Wire whisk
- Handheld beater/ stand beater
- 110g whole eggs, lightly beaten and at room temperature
- 150ml vegetable oil
- 185g brown sugar
- 280g carrot, finely grated
- 90g raisins
- 90g walnuts, chopped
- 190g self-raising flour
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated (I omitted this)
- 1 tsp mixed spice
Making the carrot cake:
Prepare loaf tin and oven - Line a loaf tin with baking paper and preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Mixing dry ingredients - Sift flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Use a wire whisk to whisk the mixture until it is evenly distributed.
Preparing wet mixture - In a mixing bowl, add in the eggs, oil, sugar, grated carrot, raisins and chopped walnuts and mix well with a large spoon.
Adding dry ingredients to wet mixture - Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and very gently stir the mixture with a spoon until dry ingredients are moistened (the last bit of dry ingredients disappear). Batter will be very watery.
Baking the cake - Pour prepared batter into prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 hour at 180degrees C, or until a cake tester/ wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Allow cake to cool in the loaf tin for 15 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
Orange cream cheese frosting:
- 250g cream cheese, softened
- 50g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g icing sugar ( add more if desired)
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Making cream cheese frosting:
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter to combine. Beat in icing sugar until it is incorporated and mixture is smooth. Lastly, add in the vanilla extract and orange zest beat well to obtain a smooth frosting. Spread cream cheese frosting over the top of the carrot cake.
- Add more icing sugar to stiffen the frosting or add some milk/orange juice to thin out the frosting according to desired consistency.
- You can omit the raisins and use chopped pecans instead for a nutty carrot cake.