If you have read other posts of mine recently then you will know that I have been experimenting with healthy baking a lot in my quest for my ultimate bikini body! However, you can’t force healthy baking on others especially on their birthday so I cracked out one of my favourite recipes recently for my Dad’s birthday – The Hummingbird Bakery’s Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting. This is one seriously yummy (and simple to make) cake, I have shared the recipe below. Happy baking!
300g soft light brown sugar
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract (I love vanilla so use 1/2 to a full tsp)
300g carrots, grated (this isn’t an exact science so a bit over is fine too)
Zest of half an orange (experiment with this, I like the zing so add a bit more thank half)
50g shelled walnuts, chopped, (or bashed up very roughly if you’re short of time like me!)e
50g pecans, chopped (again, or just roughly broken up)
600g icing sugar
100g butter, at room temperature
250g cream cheese, cold
I tend to just do icing by eye/taste so if you don’t like it so sweet use less sugar. Just don’t over cream it as then it will be too runny. Also a key *tip* if you get lumps of butter just pop the whole thing in the microwave for a few seconds at a time (again you don’t want it to go too runny), this gets rid of the lumps and makes it lovely and glossy. Problem solved.
Preheat the oven to 170C. Prepare 3 x 20cm cake tins, grease them and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment or if you don’t have one use a large bowl with a hand mixer, you could do it by hand but it would probably take you ages! Beat until all the ingredients are well mixed . Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, orange zest and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed. The mixture goes a beautiful caramel colour.
Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts by hand – make sure this is all well combined. Pour into the prepared cake tins and smooth over. Bake in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes but keep an eye on them, the first time I made this it took longer (35 mins) this time it was only 28 mins. I was using top/bottom heat though not fan. The cakes are ready when the centre bounces back when (lightly!) pressed and when they are coming away from the sides of the tin. NB mine didn’t all cook at the same time due to their positions in the oven. Leave the cakes to cool a little in their tins and then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the icing/frosting, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment – until well mixed. Add the cream cheese, then beat again until everything is combined. Keep an eye on the icing and don’t overbeat otherwise you will end up with liquid frosting!
Divide up your icing/frosting (I kept a couple of desert spoons to the side for my decorative carrot) and when the cakes are cold, spread your frosting onto the top of each layer with a spatula/palette knife. Assemble your cake by stacking the layers. If you have loads of icing you can completely cover the cake, including the sides but I didn’t have enough/the time! To create your carrot topping, divide your saved icing into two small bowls (2/3 in one 1/3 in the other) add some orange food colouring to the larger portion and green to the small portion. You can then either use a piping bag or if you can’t find yours (like me) add the icing to a freezer bag and, holding it like a piping bag, cut a small hole in the corner, voila make shift piping bag. To create the body of the carrot start piping in zig zags up the cake, slowly getting wider. To create the leafy green tip of the carrot use the same technique with the freezer bag (I used the same one just the other corner) and pipe 3 or 4 lines coming from the top of your carrot. Done! And yummy!
– Because I was doing this in the evening after work I made the cakes one night and made the icing/frosting then iced/frosted the cake the next. It all keeps absolutely fine for days (however once it was complete and delivered to my dad it didn’t stick around for long!)
If you have links to other yummy recipes you can share them in the comments section below! Tell me what your favourite cake recipes are too! You can find more yummy ideas on my Pinterest board too!