I've been meaning to post my Carrot Cake recipe for a while but I thought I would give it one more test. The only problem is that I'm currently off gluten (I shall spare you the details). Given my recent stint at gluten free baking I think I've developed a master recipe which is foolproof so I've used this as a basis of my reworked Carrot Cake. I have to admit I think this is better than the recipe I was going to originally post. The almond and olive oil sponge perfectly compliments the carrots, orange zest, pecans, and spices. As you well know, I am a big fan of cardamom but appreciate it's not the easiest to source. I have provided an alternative suggestion if you can't find it ground.
Hands-on Time 35 minutes (plus cooling)
Baking Time 75 minutes (35 minutes for the cake)
200ml plus extra for greasing Olive oil
2-3 Carrots, medium-large (at least 300g)
2 Oranges, large
150g Pecan nuts
5 Eggs, large
230g plus 1/2 tbsp Light brown sugar
250g Ground almonds
1/8 tsp Fine salt
1 tsp Ground cardamom (use mixed spice as an alternative)
1 tsp Ground ginger
2 tsp Ground cinnamon
100g Cream cheese
50g Unsalted butter, softened
250g Icing sugar
2 x 20cm Fixed or push bottom cake tins
2 Mixing bowls
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C (Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Cut two pieces of baking parchment into circles for the bases of the cake tins.
Grease the tins with oil using kitchen paper and line with the parchment.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Peel the carrots and grate over a plate.
Take 50 grams and place on top of the lined baking sheet. This should leave you with about 200 grams of carrot for the cake.
Grate one orange over the carrot on the plate, and the other over the carrot on the baking sheet. You will find you only need grate lightly before you get to the pith, so don’t get carried away.
Don’t chuck the oranges, they make a great snack.
With a clean knife roughly chop the pecans. Add 50 grams to the carrot and orange on the baking sheet.
Add the remaining 100 grams to the grated carrot and orange on the plate for the cake.
Separate the eggs between the two mixing bowls.
Add 200ml of olive oil and 130 grams of light brown sugar to the egg yolks. Beat with an electric whisk on a high speed (start off slow to avoid splashing) for at least a minute.
Clean and dry the beaters.
Whisk the egg whites until you have a foam. Keep whisking and gradually add 100g of light brown sugar until you have stiff peaks.
Add the ground almonds, cornflour, salt, cardamom, ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the beaten egg yolks and combine using a spatula.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon over the carrot, orange, and pecans on the baking sheet.
Add the 200 grams of carrot, orange, and pecans from the plate to the cake mix and stir again using the spatula.
Add a scoop of the egg whites to the cake mix and beat to loosen it up.
Add half of the egg whites and fold into the mixture. Add the remaining eggs whites, folding again until there are no specks.
Divide the cake mixture between the two tins and smooth using a spatula. Give the tins one tap on the worktop before placing them on a middle shelf in the oven and leaving to bake for 35 minutes.
When the time is up remove the tins from the oven and leave the cakes to sit for 15 minutes.
Carefully turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and remove the baking parchment. You may need to run a palette knife around the edge of the cakes to loosen the sides. Leave the cakes to completely cool.
Reduce the oven to 100°C/80°C (Fan)/210°F/Gas mark 1/4.
Combine the ingredients on the baking sheet using your hands.
Pop the baking sheet onto a middle shelf of the oven for 40 minutes.
Remove and set aside when the time is up.
Once cooled transfer to a clean bowl, add 1/2 tablespoon of light brown sugar, and combine using your hands.
When you’re ready to assemble the cake clean one of the mixing bowls you used earlier along with the whisk beaters.
Add the cream cheese and butter. Whisk until thick and voluminous.
Add the icing sugar. I find it’s best to give it a stir with the whisk turned off at first so you don’t get clouds of sugar puffing up into the air.
Whisk until smooth.
Place one sponge on a serving plate and dollop half of the cream cheese frosting on top.
Sprinkle half of the grated tray bake mixture over the top.
Cover with the other slice of cake and gently press down.
Decorate the top of the cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting and grated tray bake mix.