Sunday, 17 July 2011

All it needed was a rainy weekend

Too much work, too many responsibilities, not enough baking time. It seems all that was needed was a rainy weekend to reset the balance! Perhaps my favourite of all cakes, the carrot cake, is super easy to make and is perfect with a cup of chai tea on a rainy afternoon.

I've been making carrot cake for years and like to think I've perfected my recipe, the ginger and lime cream cheese icing is an idea borrowed from a Waitrose recipe picked up in store years ago, the lime and ginger really complement the cinnamon in the cake and give the icing a lovely little kick of heat.

Use a 20cm round cake tin

Pre heat the oven to 160C

You will need:
2 eggs
110g self raising wholemeal flour
100g soft dark brown sugar
110g butter
1tsp baking powder
2 large-ish carrots (grated)
A handful of sultanas (to taste)
A handful of chopped walnuts (to taste)
Cinnamon (I like a lot but you may like a little)

For the icing:
1 tub of cream cheese
A 3cm x 2cm piece of ginger root (peeled & finely grated)
3 tablespoons of icing sugar
A squeeze of fresh lime juice

1. Cream the sugar and butter together until smooth, then add the eggs and combine.

2. Next sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix until an even consistency.

3. Add the grated carrot, sultanas and walnuts and mix until even.

4. Line the cake tin with a circle of baking paper and add a little olive oil to grease.

5. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and then level it into an even surface.

6. Checking the oven has reached temperature, put the cake on the middle shelf and bake for approximately 30 minutes, test the centre of the cake with a skewer, if it comes out clean the cake is ready.

7. While the cake is cooling mix up the icing. Combine all of the icing ingredients adding the lime juice last until the icing is smooth but not runny.

8. When the cake is cool turn it out and spread the icing on top with a pallet knife.

Forget about the washing up, put the kettle on and start eating. If you want to make a really awesome cake to impress your friends at afternoon tea this one is good done in layers- bake 3x this recipe and triple the icing so they can be stacked on top of one another. I use wholemeal self raising flour because I think it gives the cake a really wholesome taste and really complements the soft dark brown sugar, but you can use white self raising and caster sugar if you prefer.  Enjoy!

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