I have been on the hunt for the perfect carrot cake recipe for about two years.
Being a vegetarian, I feel it’s a duty to nail this one.
But have you ever just felt like calling it a day with a particular ‘thing’ and decided that it probably isn’t something that other people are doing, it’s more likely that you just PLAIN CAN’T DO IT?
That was my place.
Again, it could be just me but I HATE oily, dense, thick, WET flippin’ cakes.
What’s with the addition of random liquids to perfectly great cake mixes? I’m all for a bit of moisture. A bit of buttermilk (but NOT half a litre, damn it!) or a squeeze of lemon juice, melted chocolate or even a teaspoon of glycerine all add that melt-in-the-mouth, rich, velvety texture.
But 200 ml of OIL? I don’t fry chips in that much. Using that much, I could run my car on carrot cake for a year. Beat it, arthritis, my joints are supple, slippery and thoroughly well-oiled….
And so began the hunt for The Precccciiioooouuussssss………………
The ONE Carrot Cake.
Here’s a picture of my almost Holy Grail Carrot Cake. When I made this one, I knew I was nearly there. NEARLY.
Then I found this blog:
In my eyes, this lady has saved me from a lifetime of madness. I now have the perfect Carrot Cake recipe. I have tried it both with self-raising flour, plain flour (all-purpose) with additional raising agents and gluten free flour. All three worked a treat.
Now I have a beautiful recipe that I am able to check, step-by-step, thanks to Irina…
It’s been tweaked slightly, and changed to suit making cupcakes for this blog post, but I reckon it’d be an awesome 8″ sandwiched sponge too.
I REALLY hope you agree that this recipe was worth the pilgrimage.
BTW, D bought me an oven thermometer yesterday. My oven was 20 degrees out!!!! WORTH the investment.
Gluten Free Carrot Cake (12 cupcakes / One 6″ cake)
162g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) light brown sugar
162g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) caster sugar (granulated, US)
Here, I did 224g caster sugar and 100g Muscavado instead.
226g (2 sticks) butter
4 eggs, room temperature, cracked and beaten gently.
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 small orange
300g (2 + 3/4 cups) Gluten Free self raising flour. (Use normal flour too, it’s just as good)
1 tsp baking powder (gluten free, if that’s your choice)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using lightly salted butter)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
400g (just under 3 cups) grated carrot
120 g (3/4 cup) golden sultanas
40g (1/4 cup) chopped dates / pineapple / walnuts (I used dates in this recipe but walnuts are goooooood!)
Cream Cheese Frosting
200g (1 heaped cup) full fat cream cheese
150g (2/3 cup) butter
400g (3 + 1/3 cup) icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
1) Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F. (Use your oven thermometer!!)
2) Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
3) Beat your butter. Beat it to within an inch of it’s life – scrape your bowl down in between.
4) Add the sugars. BEAT them. I beat for about 10 minutes, scraping down every couple of minutes. Use an electric hand-mixer, a free-standing mixer or even brute strength, if you live with someone from the WWE.
5) Add the eggs in 4 stages. In between, beat the hell out of the mixture to stop the mixture from curdling. Most people say ‘don’t worry if it curdles’, but I’m a convert to the Women’s Institute method of patience and a Led Zeppelin style of “whole-lotta-love” at this stage. If you want airy cakes, trust me on this.
6) Slowly mix in the zest of lemon and orange juice.
7) In a separate bowl, high-sift the flours, baking soda/powder, ginger and cinnamon.
8) Add the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar/butter mixture – fold in by hand.
9) Fold in carrots, nuts, fruit that you are using.
10) Using an ice-cream scoop, fill your cake cases. (Or greased, lined tin). I always fill to slightly over 3/4 full – this can help prevent peeling cake cases. You want the mixture to ‘grab’ the edges of the case.
11) Bake for 25 – 30 minutes (cupcakes), 40 minutes (cake). It will be springy to the touch when done.
12) Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a cooling rack.
13) Make your cream cheese frosting.
14) Beat the hell out of the butter (if you don’t you will get lumps of butter in your icing). Add the cream cheese and beat again. Add the icing sugar and beat, beat, beat. (This blog is SO violent!).
15) Make little fondant carrots.
16) When the cakes are completely cool, spread icing over. I also added a little orange glitter sugar and a carrot. If you want to make your own glitter sugar, check out this AMAZING BLOG – Sweetsugarbelle
(We made her sugar cookies at the weekend and they are melt-in-the-mouth)
17) Wash up 😦
18) Make coffee and eat the carrot cakes!!!! 🙂