During times of crisis, we all try to find comfort in the people and things we love. With so many people around the world facing extreme circumstances, we each had to get a bit creative to distress and entertain ourselves. Luckily, I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking but being home for longer than usual these past couple of weeks, I have found myself trying new and more complicated recipes every other day. It sometimes feel like I’m preparing to enter a Master Chef competition or something – I’m nowhere that good but can use all the motivation I can get at this point!
I know quite a few of you are in the same situation, so here’s one of my favourite cake recipes in case you need some inspiration: my very own carrot cake. Relatively easy to make, full of taste and guaranteed to please anyone with a sweet tooth. This is something I make quite often, together with my coconut and walnut syrup cake, and everyone seems to love it!
Overall, it’s not very different from your typical carrot cake but I have slightly twisted the recipe to incorporate a few ingredients I absolutely love, such as pistachios, rose and Greek yoghurt. If any of these are not really your cup of tea, feel free to replace them with something that works for you.
Whenever I am lazy or want to avoid too much sugar, I don’t make any frosting. The cake will be less fancy and sweet but it’s really nice regardless. If you’re rolling your eyes as you read this thinking that a cake does have a lot of sugar anyway, please note that in this household, carrot cake counts as a vegetable!
For the cake:
▸ 230g grated carrots
▸ 2 large eggs
▸ 8 tbsp salted butter melted and cooled
▸ 150g caster sugar
▸ 55g brown sugar
▸ 155g all-purpose flour
▸ 1⁄4 tsp salt
▸ ½ tsp baking soda
▸ 3⁄4 tsp baking powder
▸ 1 1⁄2 tsp pure vanilla extract
▸ 1⁄2 cup golden raisins roughly chopped
▸ 1⁄2 cup pecans or walnuts roughly chopped
▸ 1⁄2 cup pistachios roughly chopped
▸ 2 tsp cinnamon powder (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, all spice)
For the frosting:
▸ 90g icing sugar
▸ 3 tbsp unsalted butter softened but still cool
▸ 85g cream cheese softened
▸ 1⁄4 tsp pure vanilla extract
▸ 1⁄4 cup pistachios roughly chopped (optional)
▸ few edible dried rose petals (optional)
* I normally make a double dose of frosting because I like it to be rich and thick, like on the pictures.
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grate the carrots on small holes of a box grater and put them aside. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, and set aside. In a large bowl beat with a mixer the butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Whisk in the dry ingredients until combined and no flour pockets remain. Then, add the carrots into the mixture and gently blend everything together.
Pour the batter into a lightly greased loaf pan making sure that it’s evenly spread. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the top of the cake gets dark too quickly while in the oven, cover it lightly with aluminum foil. Once the cake is removed from the oven, let it sit in the loaf pan for about 10 minutes. Then, remove the cake and place onto a cooling rack until it cools down completely.
In the meantime, start preparing the frosting. In a bowl beat the butter and icing sugar with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and the vanilla extract, and mix until there are no lumps. Frost the cake with a thick and even layer of frosting, and sprinkle with roughly chopped pistachios and dried rose petals. This step is obviously optional, so you can leave it as it is or use pecans and/or walnuts instead.
Tada – your loaf carrot cake is ready! Enjoy and feel free to tag me in your pictures if you decide to give it a go; I’d love to see how you liked it. And if you have any great recipes to share, leave me a comment below or on Instagram – let’s inspire each other and stay creative!