Wednesday 16th March 2016
With its soft, yielding texture and cool cream cheese frosting, the carrot cake is arguably unmatched by any other. The perfect carrot cake will have just the right sponge to frosting ratio, arranged either in several fine layers, or sandwiching together the two halves. Heralding from the States, the cake contained carrots because fruits and nuts were often expensive imports and carrots were a more affordable alternative. But that is where the healthiness stops. No longer the domain of vegans alone, the sticky, sweet carrot cake has found its way into the mainstream.
This is a fairly standard carrot cake recipe that is enhanced by orange zest, giving it a zing that complements the richness of the frosting perfectly. The key to getting the cake’s texture just right is to stop mixing once the cinnamon, fruit, zest and carrot have been incorporated; too much mixing and the sponge loses its lightness. The mixture is slightly runnier than other cake mixes, but a perfectly cooked carrot cake will still possess springiness at its centre once it is cooked. The cake is completed with a layer of cream cheese frosting. It’s up to you whether you elect to smother the whole cake in frosting or just the top. Decorate the cake with walnut halves, a grating of carrot in the centre, or fondant icing miniature carrots.
Stuffed with spices and pecans too, this tray bake is ideal for sharing, making perfect mouthfuls for children and colleagues alike. The combination of golden syrup and soft brown sugar creates a delightful richness to the colouring of the sponge and the fact that the flour is wholemeal – together with the key ingredient, of course – might even persuade some that it is the healthy option. Finished off with soft vanilla frosting forked into gentle contours, and tasty pecan nut halves, this bake will be a firm favourite with family and friends time and time again.
If you’re looking for something carroty that is neither a full cake nor a tray bake, then these delightful carrot cake bites might do the trick. The special ingredient this time is white chocolate, which adds a further creamy dimension to each cakey bite. Just sculpt the characterful carrot shapes from the crumbled cake into the required shape and then cover in Tiger Orange ready-to-roll icing. You can fashion effective carrot tops out of sweetie bootlaces.
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