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Carrot cake with cream cheese icing

April 21, 2010
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I came back from a work trip last weekend to a surprise birthday cake… could you ask for anything more?

Here’s the recipe from Simon:

This recipe is far from original. In fact, it’s taken from the most famous cookery book of them all, The Joy of Cooking. But, in case you don’t own this weighty tome, or don’t want to risk a wrist injury lifting it down from the shelf, I have reproduced the full recipe here:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 190g sugar
  • 1.5 tsps bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp grated/ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Mix all these dry ingredients up in a large bowl, and then add:

  • 3 eggs
  • 160 ml oil (the Joy recommends vegetable oil, but apparently these days that is often palm oil, which can result in cholesterol-clogged arteries and huge chunks of deforested land in SE Asia, so I used a 50/50 mix of peanut and olive oils instead)

Mix together well with a rubber spatula or low-powered beater, and then stir in:

  • 165 g grated carrots
  • 100g finely chopped walnuts
  • 120g raisins or other dried fruit, if you so desire

Spread the batter evenly in a greased or lined cake tin and cook on 180 degrees for 25-30 mins, or until a fork poked into the middle comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Icing

This is what makes a good carrot cake into a great one.

Beat until just blended:

  • 225 g cream cheese (the Joy says it must be cold to produce the best icing texture)
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • Grated lemon rind, or a few drops of Boyajian lemon oil

Add icing sugar a little bit at a time until the desired texture and sweetness is reached (about 150g for me). The frosting will firm up a bit if you pop the cake in the fridge once it’s been iced.

That’s it! It’s very simple but truly delicious.


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