Scrumptious carrot cake

Scrumptious carrot cake

By
From
Boutique Baking
Makes
one 15cm round cake, serving 8–12 slices
Photographer
Georgia Glynn Smith

An exceptionally moist, perfectly balanced cake baked with chunks of juicy pineapple as well as carrots and walnuts. Wonderful with lemon buttercream, it can also be baked in a loaf tin and enjoyed on its own.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the cake mix

Quantity Ingredient
140ml vegetable oil
200g light brown sugar
80ml beaten eggs
80g walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
320g carrots, peeled and grated
280g tinned pineapple, drained and crushed
290g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
1 vanilla pod, seeds only

For the buttercream filling

Quantity Ingredient
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g icing sugar, sifted
1 unwaxed lemon, finely zested
pinch salt

For the decoration

Quantity Ingredient
150g white sugar paste
1 teaspoon gum tragacanth
small amount white vegetable fat
orange, green, blue and brown paste food colour
small amount clear alcohol or edible glue

Equipment

Quantity Ingredient
Basic baking kit
3 15cm round sandwich tins
cake leveller or large serrated knife
non-slip turntable
flat disc to place on top of the turntable
15cm round cake card
metal side scraper
plastic piping bag
plain round 4mm piping nozzle
Assembling layer cakes

Method

  1. Bake the sponges one day ahead of serving. Prepare the buttercream filling and assemble and decorate the cake on the day of serving.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Prepare the sandwich tins by greasing and lining them with greaseproof paper.
  4. To make the cake

    Place the vegetable oil and light brown sugar in a mixing bowl and beat together. Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and gradually add to the oil mixture until you get a smooth emulsion. Add the walnuts, carrots and pineapple and gently mix until well combined.
  5. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt together and add to the wet mixture in two batches. Mix together at a slow speed until the batter is just combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the sandwich tins. If you find it difficult to measure by eye, use your kitchen scales to weigh out the amount of sponge mixture for each tin.
  7. Bake for 40–50 minutes, depending on your oven. If you are using deeper cake tins, the sponges will take longer to cook. The sponges are cooked when the sides are beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tins and the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch. If in doubt, insert a clean knife or wooden skewer into the centre of each sponge; it should come out clean.
  8. Once the sponges are baked, let them rest for about 10 minutes outside of the oven. Once just warm, remove the sponges from the tins and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
  9. Once cool, wrap the sponges in cling film and then rest overnight at room temperature. This will ensure that all the moisture is sealed in and the sponges firm up to the perfect texture for trimming and layering. When trimmed too soon after baking, the sponges tend to crumble and may even break into pieces.
  10. To make the buttercream filling

    Place the butter, icing sugar, lemon zest and salt in a mixing bowl and cream together until very pale and fluffy.
  11. To assemble the cake

    Trim and sandwich together the three sponge layers using one-third of the lemon buttercream filling. With the remaining buttercream filling, cover or mask the top and sides of the cake. Chill until set.
  12. To decorate

    Make a selection of applique blossoms. Knead the sugar paste with small amounts of gum tragacanth until firm and pliable. Add the food colour to achieve the required shade then knead in a small amount of vegetable fat until smooth and pliable. Roll out the paste to a thickness of approximately 2mm. When not in use, wrap the paste in cling film to prevent it drying out. Place a blossom cutter on the paste and press firmly. Lift off the cutter and release the blossom. Cut as many different shapes, sizes and colours as required. Brush a small amount of clear alcohol or edible glue on to a large blossom and place a medium- sized blossom on top. Layer as many different sizes and colours together as required. Leave to slightly set before applying to the cake.
  13. Place the cake either on to a cakestand or on top of the turntable covered with a piece of greaseproof paper.
  14. Arrange the decorations around the sides of the cake and stick them down with a dab of buttercream. Trim away any overlap with a kitchen knife.
  15. Place a round nozzle into a plastic piping bag and fill with the remaining buttercream. Around the sides, pipe rows of dots in between the blossoms, revolving the turntable as necessary. To finish, pipe a border of shells all around the top and bottom edges of the cake. If the cake has been placed on greaseproof paper, chill until the piped borders are set before transferring to a cakestand.
  16. Serve the cake at room temperature.
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