There are those recipes that I love, but only make once in a blue moon because they are a PAIN IN THE ASS. This is one of them.
It's the big guy's birthday tomorrow and carrot cake is his favourite next to lemon meringue pie. Which I suck at making and takes even longer to make. So carrot cake it is!
What I love about this recipe is that it has every tasty thing in the world in it.
It's originally from Group Recipes and I've been using it exclusively for 6 years.
My fear is that one day that website may, in fact disappear and so I am publishing it here, along with my icing recipe. That's 'frosting', for my millions of American followers. (ha!)
This cake is huge. It makes one big-ass cake, or up to TWENTY FOUR cupcakes. No kidding. 24. I stupidly plugged the whole recipe into My Fitness Pal last year when I made it for D's birthday and get this - even without icing, if you ate a tenth of this cake it would total nearly 800 calories! Boo! It has carrot in it! How could it be bad for you!?!
So off the back of that - I prefer to do the recipe as cupcakes. About 250-300 cals a pop, and a bit more accessible for those who don't have the biggest cake tin of all time on hand.
If you're not a fan of spice, coconut, pineapple, raisins or walnuts, look away now. If you love a carrot cake that has real personality, don't hold back!
2 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
1 cup chopped pineapple, fresh or canned
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup shredded coconut
2 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I've used olive oil and canola oil in the past. I don't think peanut or coconut would work that well. Although coconut might, but it might also overpower everything? You try and tell me.)
250g of full fat cream cheese in a slab (the low fat stuff in a tub is aerated and so won't give a great texture. It'll work in a pinch, but not first preference!)
1/2 cup softened butter
lemon juice to taste, and zest too, if you have it!
4 cups of icing sugar/icing sugar mixture
Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, toss together the carrots, walnuts, pineapple, raisins, and coconut with 1/2 cup of the flour to coat them and keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake batter.
Sift together the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, bicarb soda, and salt.
In a mixer with a whip attachment, mix the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy (the "ribbon" stage) then drizzle in the oil.
Fold in the dry ingredients and pour over the carrot mixture.
Fold carefully to blend, then pour the batter into a buttered, floured 10 by 3-inch cake pan containing a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.
Bake until firm to the touch in the center, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or about 20 minutes for cupcakes. They'll be springy to the touch when cooked.
Let cool on a rack and then turn out, or if doing cupcakes get them out of the muffin pans as quick as your teflon fingers will allow, so the paper doesnt separate from the cakes whilst cooling. Not cute.
For the icing, whip up everything in your bench mixer, food processor or hand-held egg beater until fluffy and well mixed. Taste to see if the balance of sweet and sour is pleasing to your palate. Add more lemon or sugar to suit. Note: if you do this too many times you will lose your mind, as your tongue gets accustomed to the icing. Call in a subby to taste test for you!
Ice the cake/s once completely cool with a palette knife or butter knife. If the icing has gotten too warm from mixing, refrigerate it for half an hour or until it's a nice, spreadable consistency. 10 minutes in the freezer will work too.
Decorate with shredded coconut, walnuts, marzipan carrots (ha!) or nothing at all. Eat and be merry.
2019 update: want a smaller carrot cake? Try these quantities for a small round cake or about 8-9 cupcakes:
3/4 cup of grated carrot
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup pineapple
1/3 cup raisings
1/3 cup coconut
2/3 cup of plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp bicarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil.