Here at Meadow Farm Bakehouse, we want to share the cake love by providing you with some of our favourite recipes. After all, part of the joy of food is sharing it with others (and the eating of course!)

Carrot cake

Last time, we brought you our Lemon and Blueberry cake, with a vegan twist. (Take a peek at the blog here if you missed it!)

This week, we’re excited to share with you an absolute classic – Carrot Cake.

Vegetables? In Cake?!

This can cause as much division as pineapple on pizza! But historically, carrots have been used in puddings and cakes since the Middle Ages. Sugar and other sweeteners were in short supply and therefore expensive, and so people used carrots for the subtle sweetness that is released when cooking. It also adds moistness, protecting the cake from drying out, and (along with the chopped nuts in this recipe) adds texture to the sponge.

More recently, people have experimented and perfected recipes with other vegetables. As well as getting in a few of your five a day (right?!) it can add a variety of textures and flavours, and can be used in specialised baking such as low GI or refined sugar free. Carrots, pumpkin, and beetroot are fairly mainstream in baking now, but you can also find cakes using sweet potato, courgette, or swede. I even stumbled across a recipe for a vanilla and pea cake!

Sounds Like Hard work!

We get it. There’s a lot of fiddly parts in this recipe. Grating the carrots, zesting and juicing the oranges, chopping the nuts; there’s a fair amount of effort going into it even before making the batter. Trust us though, it’s worth it. This cake is bursting with flavour and texture, a perfect blend of sweetness and spice.

If you really don’t fancy turning on the oven though, don’t worry, you can still get your cake. Carrot cake is just one of the freshly baked cakes you can get from us here at Meadow Farm Bakehouse. We have a wide selection to suit any flavour palette, including vegan and gluten free options. Handmade by our talented chefs here at our little bakery on Hayling Island, we take the stress out of cooking both sweet and savoury dishes, leaving you more time to enjoy the things you love. With free delivery to all of Hayling Island, and Click and Collect available for those further afield, you can enjoy your favourite home baked foods in the comfort of your own home, with minimal effort!

The Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 400g grated carrots
  • 200g sultanas
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 50g chopped pecans
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 300g butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 350g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 160C.
  • Grease and line two 9″ round cake tins.
  • Peel and grate your carrots, and place into a bowl with the sulatnas, orange zest and juice, and chopped pecans.
  • Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl, and cream until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between.
  • Add the flour, bicarb, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until just combined.
  • Fold in the carrot, sultanas, orange zest and juice, and pecans.
  • Divide the mixture between two tins, and level.
  • Cook for 35-40 mins, until firm and a skewer comes out clean.
  • Cool in the tin for at least 10 mins, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Topping:

  • 350g icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 100g cream cheese
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 15g chopped walnuts or pecans

Cream together your butter and icing sugar, until it starts to look crumb like. Add the cream cheese and beat until light and fluffy, approx 1 min via electric mixer. Fold in the orange zest.

Once your cakes are completely cool, spread 3/4 of the buttercream evenly on one of the sponges. Place the other sponge on top, and spread the remainder of the buttercream. Decorate with chopped nuts.

Tips and Tricks:

  • You can prepare some of this in advance! Grate the carrots the night before, zest and juice the orange, weigh out the sultanas, and pop it all in a box in the fridge. In fact, the sultanas really benefit from this, as they absorb the orange juice and plump up really nicely, adding flavour and moistness to your cake!
  • When creaming together the butter and sugar, keep going until it is all light and fluffy! You’ll be able to see the colour and texture of it change, this is air being incorporated into your mixture. This is much quicker and easier with a stand mixer or electric whisk, rather than by hand!
  • The mix might start to separate or “curdle” when the eggs are added. This is perfectly normal, and just because there is a lot of moisture in the mix. You can remedy this by adding a tablespoon of flour at the same time as your eggs. (Don’t worry though, it will all come together in the end, and will still taste delicious!)
  • Don’t over mix once you add all the flour. You want it to be combined, but not beaten, as this will deflate a lot of the air you managed to incorporate in the creaming stage.
  • Don’t be tempted to open your oven until at least 3/4 of the way through cooking! This would likely cause some major sinking!
  • You can adjust the consistency of your buttercream by adding more icing sugar to stiffen it up, or some orange juice or milk to make it more spreadable.
  • This cake will last for approx 3 days, when refrigerated and kept in an air tight container. That’s if you can resist eating it for that long!

And That’s all there is to it!

Cake for everyone!

We’d love to hear your thoughts, successes or failures! Was this the first carrot cake you’ve made? Have we inspired you to try something different? Let us know in the comments below!

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