Carrot cake in its contemporary form complete with decadent cream cheese frosting is a North American import that has quickly become one of Britain’s favourites. However, a version of the rich dense cake has been known since the medieval ages – in particular, Nigella Lawson details a recipe originating from Venetian Jews that is made from ground almonds instead of flour and contains a heavy dosing of booze-soaked golden raisins and pine-nuts. But, as most would tell you – cake is nothing without the frosting, that’s why I have kicked up the creamy topping with a bit of bourbon. And, the mascarpone mixed with the cream cheese keeps it firmly implanted in its Italian roots. With a nutty flavour from the mixture of pecans and walnuts, this cake is the perfect hit for an afternoon tea, late night snack or, even for breakfast! The Food Network denotes this delicacy one of the top five fad foods of the 1970s…so, grab a disco ball and practice your best John Travolta moves, you’ll be sure to work up an appetite for this retro treat.
Carrot Cake (Makes 1 Cake or 24 Cupcakes)
300 g carrots, grated
300 g light brown sugar
300 g plain flour
50 ml sunflower oil
150 ml butter, melted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lemon, zest only
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds only
50 g ea. walnuts and pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees C
- Whisk together melted butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Fold dry ingredients into liquid mixture, add in the grated carrots and chopped nuts and pour into two 19 inch, greased, sandwich tins (cake tins)
- Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Set aside to cool down. *If making cupcakes, bake for approximately 15 minutes in lined cupcake trays.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat together the butter, cream cheese and mascarpone until fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add in the sugar a bit at a time, then the vanilla seeds, lemon zest and bourbon. Mix until Smooth.
- Once the cakes have cooled down, frost the bottom one and let it refrigerate for approximately 15 minutes, then add the second cake on top and frost them together. Decorate with mini carrots and walnut pieces.