Curly Carrot Cake
I already had a whole post about brownies lined up for this week, but then I remembered that Easter Sunday is this coming weekend. Now, as much as I love brownies, there is no possible way I could have twisted this particular recipe to have some sort of Easter angle. I must have some sort of screw loose, because this realization could only bring up one result in my head: emergency carrot cake. I mean, carrot cake practically screams Easter, right? Right. (Brownies next, I promise.) But then there were all the usual sorts of complications that come with emergency baking, so I’ve pretty much been consumed with carrot related thoughts for the last 48 hours.
Luckily for the blog, I haven’t been able to sleep the whole night through for some while now. You know what this means – carrot cake musings at 3:25am! (It’s thrilling, I swear. Except maybe for my darling boyfriend Rob, who gets woken every night with my random ramblings, but thank god he still helps me with every photo I take.) The first decision I made in my groggy state of mind was that I absolutely did not want to make a loaf shaped carrot cake. Because let’s face it, you can buy them everywhere & I wanted something different. So I started thinking that I want something layered. Maybe three or four layers or am I going delirious with lack of sleep? Three layers sounds good. Or four. Late night/early morning thoughts are always rife with damn indecision.
Then I moved onto the frosting. Easy peasy: cream cheese frosting. No need to mess around with something that works already. Then finally, how the cake is going to look. Obviously, for food blog purposes, the cake should look pretty. & it also should probably look delicious. So I’d obviously lather the whole cake in the deliciously creamy cream cheese frosting. But how to decorate the top? Well. There I was, tossing & turning & exhausted, when suddenly it came to me. Candied carrot curls. A mindbogglingly bizarre idea that I was sure wouldn’t stick when I fully woke up in the morning. Turns out I actually fell further in love with the idea the more I thought about it.
After a quick google search I was able to see that candied carrot curls aren’t actually a revolutionary thought at all, but they’re still far from your standard carrot cake decoration! Obviously this is a sign from the gods of sleep that I need to adorn my carrot cake with candied carrot curls. & then I was thinking coconut. & then BAM, all of a sudden I had a whole cake planned in the middle of the night. How productive is that!?
Should we talk about the cake now? Let me begin with saying that this is hands down the best carrot cake I’ve ever tried. Even if you ignore the most beautiful topping in potentially all of the world ever (okay, I know I’m pushing it), the cake itself is incredibly moist & crumbly, & one of my very favourite things about it is that it doesn’t have that overwhelming taste of cinnamon that we’ve come to expect in carrot cake. The cream cheese frosting is creamy & oozy & ticks all of my boxes. Now the candied carrot curls. Crazy surprisingly good (& mildly addictive), just trust me. Top the cake off with the curls & some desiccated coconut & thank me later.
Adapted from Call me cupcake
For the cake
- 150g of salted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs
- 170g caster sugar
- 100g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 180g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 & ½ teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
- 1 lone teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 250g of carrots, finely grated
- 80g walnuts, chopped
- 150mls of apple sauce
For the cream cheese frosting
- 100g of softened butter
- 300g of full fat cream cheese
- 1 & ½ cups icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Desiccated coconut
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large carrots, peeled & washed
- Heat the oven to 170C & butter and flour two 6-inch cake tins. Set aside.
- Beat together the eggs & the sugars until fluffy & light in colour. Add the melted butter & the vanilla extract; beat until combined.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarb & cinnamon. Sift into the batter. Use a spatula to fold until just combined.
- Add in the grated carrots, chopped walnuts & the apple sauce; use the spatula to stir the batter together until just combined.
- Divide the batter as evenly as you can between the two cake pans & bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
- Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tins & then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Now, the cream cheese frosting. In a medium bowl, beat the butter until pale & fluffy.
- Add all other ingredients & beat until combined & smooth. Leave in the fridge until ready to frost the cake.
- Now make the candied carrot curls. Use a vegetable peeler to peel thin long strips of carrot – the longer strips are best as they’re easier to curl.
- In a pot, bring the sugar & water to the boil. Add the carrot strips & reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 100C & line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- Remove from the heat, drain the carrots & leave to cool for 5 minutes.
- Stretch out the carrot strips on the baking parchment & bake for 25-30 minutes.
- As soon as you take the carrot strips out of the oven you’ll need to work very quickly (or get 2 assistants like I did) to wrap the strips around the handle of a wooden spoon & then slide it off onto a cold plate. The strips start to get cold quickly, so this need to be speedy but efficient work.
- Cut both of the cake layers in half with a serrated knife, giving you four layers in total.
- Put the first layer directly onto the cake stand & spread a layer of frosting across the top. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the layers.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake & place in the fridge for 20 minutes to ensure there are no loose crumbies. After chilling the cake spread the rest of the frosting evenly over the whole cake.
- Use some desiccated coconut to decorate the top of the cake & top with the candied carrot curls. Enjoy!