One of my very lovely friends (and I am extremely lucky in that I have lots of very lovely friends) was hosting lunch for her friend’s birthday and was looking for a birthday cake that could also serve as dessert for adults and children.
You won’t find many people who don’t like carrot cake, adults and kids alike, and it is easy to smarten it up a bit to make a tasty dessert and serve it as a birthday cake. And surely it has to be good for you because it’s full of carrots…
I use a variation on the Hummingbird Bakery recipe (are you noticing a theme here!) and it’s my absolute favourite carrot cake recipe. Instead of the traditional walnuts I like to use raisins. It’s also incredibly easy and quick to make.
The recipe calls for two quantities of cream cheese frosting and I would normally only make one and use it to sandwich the cakes and decorate the top, exactly like the Hummingbird Cake in one of my previous posts. If you want to do the sides too you will need the two quantities.
Again, this is an easy recipe to scale down and just make enough for two layers. Alternatively you can make the full recipe quantity and put one of the layers in the freezer. The next time you make it put the third layer in the freezer again and you’ve got a carrot cake ready and waiting for a reason to be iced and eaten.
300g light brown sugar
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g carrots, grated
100g raisins (or walnuts if you prefer)
Set the oven to 170°C. Grease and line three 8″ cake tins.
Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a mixer and beat for a few minutes until well mixed. Fold in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla extract and make sure it is all well mixed together. Stir in the carrots and raisins (or walnuts, if using).
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and gently level if necessary: you can weigh them if you want to be sure of even layers. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and springy to the touch. Leave for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
300g icing sugar
125g cream cheese
Make the icing: one recipe quantity will be enough to sandwich the cakes and decorate the top but double the quantities above if you want to decorate the sides as well. Beat the butter in the mixer and then add the sieved icing sugar. Beat the sugar and butter until the mixture comes together. Add the cream cheese and beat again until light and fluffy.
When the cakes have cooled completely, sandwich together with the icing and finish with either a layer just on top or cover the sides as well. If you used walnuts in the recipe they will lovely on the top, otherwise decorate as you choose: a sprinkling of cinnamon looks great, as do coloured sugars.
As this was a birthday cake I sprinkled yellow and orange sugar sprinkles around the sides and added a happy birthday message:
Birthday cake with carrots and raisins – definitely one of your five a day!