Carrot Cake!

Carrot Cake!A couple of weeks ago it was my Uncle Robert’s Birthday and guess what he likes..? Carrot Cake! This is a recipe I have made many times before & one that me and my family absolutely love. Do not be deceived by it’s ‘healthy’ sounding name though, carrot cake is actually one of the most calorific cakes you can eat! But hey, if we can’t eat cake on our Birthdays then when can we treat ourselves? All things in moderation I say! (or in vast quantity – same thing right??)

So, here is what you will need to make 1 x large cake. (Serves approx 12.)

For the Sponge

  • 300g Plain Flour
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 200g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 200g Grated Carrot
  • 227g Tin of Pineapple Rings, Drained & Chopped
  • Zest of 1 x Orange
  • Zest of 1 x Lemon
  • 4 Eggs, Room Temp
  • 250ml Sunflower Oil

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 250g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • 500g Full Fat Cream Cheese *
  • 1 tsp Orange Extract, Optional

For the Decoration

  • Sugar Carrots, Optional

Essential Equipment

  • 2 x 7″ Round Loose Bottomed Cake Tins

* I used Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese. Don’t use a low fat version as it will not hold it’s shape and may become quite wet & sloppy. 

Preheat your oven to 170ºC/Fan 150°C.

Grease the base & sides and line the base of both cake tins.

To make the sponge, sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda & brown sugar into either a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer.

Carrot CakeIn a separate large bowl, mix together the grated carrot, chopped pineapple and the zest of the orange & lemon.

Add the eggs in and mix with a fork. Then gradually add the sunflower oil stirring constantly.

Carrot CakeIn thirds, add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and, each time, mix only until just blended together.

Carrot CakeDivide the mixture evenly between the two tins and place into the lower section of the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Carrot CakeCheck with a skewer – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked. If it has batter on it – it needs longer.

When cooked, allow to cool in the tins for 15 minutes before removing, peeling off the baking paper and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Whilst the cakes are cooling, lets make the cream cheese frosting.

Either using an electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – beat the butter until really soft and smooth.

Sift in the icing sugar and mix on a low speed to start with. Once there’s not a lot of ‘loose’ icing sugar, increase the speed & mix until soft and smooth.

Carrot CakeAdd in the cream cheese & orange extract (if using.) Continue to mix on a medium speed until you can’t see any more bits of butter and it’s lovely, light & smooth.

Keep covered and chilled until you need it.

Carrot CakeWhen the cakes are completely cooled, level them off with a sharp knife if they ‘domed’ in the middle.

Place the first layer on a cake board.

Load a piping bag with a nozzle of your choosing. (I used a 2D drop flower nozzle which enables you to create the roses.)

Pipe blobs all the way around the outside edge of the bottom layer, then continue with a spiral all the way to the middle.

Don’t worry if it’s not neat – no one is going to see this bit!

Carrot CakeCarefully place the second layer on top – bottom side up. (This will give you a perfectly flat top.)

Working from the outside in, I decided to pipe little roses on the top. (Do this by starting from the middle of the rose and working your way out in a spiral.) You could do whatever you like though.

Carrot CakeAt this point, you could leave it as it is. You could also buy little sugar carrot decorations from a cake shop to place on the top, or even make your own using ready made fondant and food colouring gels. It really is entirely up to you!

Carrot Cake!I usually say to never put cake in the fridge as it dries it out much faster. However, with there always being an exception to the rule – I actually recommend you keep this one in the fridge. The nature of cream cheese frosting is a delicate one to say the least, and the sponge is so moist (with the vegetables/fruit & oil) it will be absolutely fine.

Carrot Cake! Uncle Robert

Carrot Cake! Uncle RobertIt went down a treat with the Birthday Boy and my Aunt Naomi has already asked for one for her Birthday later this year! It’s always a definite hit in my family and a recipe I will continue to make for many years to come. I often find that people turn their noses up at carrot cake without even trying it. Well I implore you, give it a go – it’s not as strange as you think and is genuinely one of the most flavourful cakes you will ever eat. Go on, convert yourself!

And on that note, I bid you farewell until next time my lovelies!

Miss KitchenMason

Advertisements

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Even at 28 years old I still have to trick myself into eating healthy foods. I’ve dramatically improved over the years but I think a part of me will always be a fussy eater. With me, half the battle was texture & ‘eating with my eyes.’ This unbelievably delicious recipe solves both those problems in one fell swoop!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Seriously, what if I told you that you could get all the above veg into a fussy eater and they wouldn’t even realise? I kid you not! The trick? A food processor. Take out the texture & you are left with a visibly appealing sauce that is jam packed full of the good stuff AND tastes fantastic!

Here is what you will need to make approx 6 generous portions/1.5kg. (Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food.)

Top Tip! With it just being me and the Mr, I used 2 portions straight away and froze the rest in freezer bags for a later date.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Sticks of Celery
  • 1 Leek
  • 2 Carrots, peeled
  • 2 Peppers, I used 1x Red 1x Yellow
  • 2 x 400g Tins of Chopped Tomatoes with Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Mushroom Ketchup, optional
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper

Essential Equipment

  • Food Processor or Stick Blender
  • Large pot/saucepan with a lid

Firstly, prep your veg.

Slice the onion, celery, leek & carrot into pieces roughly the same size. Core and slice the peppers and set to one side.

Over a medium heat, add the oil into a large lidded pot/saucepan.

Add in the onion, celery, leek & carrots and cook for about 20mins until softened. Stir occasionally so nothing catches on the bottom.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Add in the peppers and cook for a further 10mins.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Tip in the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, mushroom ketchup (if using) and garlic powder. Generously season with salt & pepper and give it a good stir.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Pop on the lid and allow to simmer for about 20mins until everything is nice and soft.

Then remove the lid and allow to reduce for 5-10mins.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Lastly, give it all a good stir and leave to cool a little before either blitzing in a food processor or with a stick blender.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!See the difference pureeing can make? If I was still as bad as I was when I was younger – there is no way in hell I would have touched this before it had been through the processor! Now it looks completely unassuming and harmless. See?! A perfectly deceitful way of sneaking veg into those fussy eaters.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!As I recommended before, unless you are cooking for a lot of people anyway – this is a great  recipe to split & store in the freezer for those days when you just can’t be bothered. Making you much less likely to reach for the takeaway menu & far more likely to inject some goodness into you!

Top Tip! If serving with pasta, when warming through the sauce, add a little of the pasta water and stir it through. This will make it lovely and smooth.

In other news, If you weren’t already aware, me and the Mr are expecting our first child in around 4-6 weeks. Yesterday, our wonderful family & friends surprised us with an amazing Baby Shower!

Baby ShowerClearly this (and the large amount of cake!) made us extremely happy! I sincerely feel very lucky & privileged to have such a wonderful bunch of people in my life. Huge thank yous all round to everyone that was involved/attended. My mini KitchenMasonite is already so spoilt and she’s not even arrived yet!

Speaking of cake – I would like to take this opportunity to give a big shout out to my Dad. Why you ask? Well, my Dad has never decorated a cake in his entire life but he’s always relished a challenge…

Baby ShowerSeriously, he’s never made a celebration cake before. EVER. How unbelievably awesome is this?! Not only did it look incredible, it tasted incredible too. The vanilla genoise sponge was beautifully soft & light and the buttercream was so smooth – absolutely divine. Move over Mr Kipling, there’s a new cake maker in town!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason