My parents birthdays are just excuses for me to make cake. Obviously I’m glad they’re having a birthday or whatever, but really I’m just excited about making them a cake, whether they want one or not. It’s compulsory. Take the cake dad. Say you love it. After a small and peaceful interrogation with my dad where I figured out his favourite cake flavours, and then some sketching out of a few design ideas, I decided to make this simple but innovative carrot cake. The recipe is from Jane’s Patisserie, who I’ve talked about before because she’s sort of my God. It makes a very (excuse me for a moment) moist cake, with a nutty undertone, as well as that sweet hit from the buttercream, which was so fluffy that I realised I’ve been doing it wrong before.
I was thinking it was my dads 60th birthday so I was panicking, thinking aah this needs to be the best cake I’ve ever made him, but then I realised he isn’t actually that old yet so the pressure was off a bit. I think he liked this cake? He eats cake on a daily basis so he is hard to impress, but I can confirm for him it’s delicious and for a cake so simple to make, impressive looking. If you don’t make it at least make the buttercream and you’ll feel like you’re floating through the clouds.
- 225ml vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 275g light brown sugar
- 300g grated carrots, plus 6 stemmed carrots for decoration
- 100g raisins, plus a handful for decoration
- Zest of 1 orange
- 275g self raising flour
- 1 & 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 100g chopped pecans
- 250g butter
- 500g icing sugar
- 3 tbsp. boiling water
- 1 small pack chocolate bourbons (for ‘soil’)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease two 8 inch cake tins with butter and set aside.
- Lightly mix the oil, eggs and sugar together in a bowl until combined. Add the grated carrots, orange zest and raisins, folding into the mix. Add all the spices, flour and bicarbonate of soda into this and stir, being careful not to overmix. Once all of the ingredients are combined stir the chopped nuts through.
- Spread this mixture evenly across the two cake tins and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes (I found mine took longer than this). Once done a cake tester should come out clean when inserted. Leave the cake too cool in the tin.
- While the cake is cooling make the buttercream. Beat the butter in a large bowl for a couple of minutes and keep beating as you gradually add the icing sugar. Once all the sugar is added, beat on a high speed for a few minutes, then add the vanilla extract and beat again. (I was tempted not to beat it for long because I’m impatient but I ended up with the softest buttercream I have ever made, so I really recommend beating it until the electric whisk sounds give you a headache). In-between beating gradually add the boiled water until you reach your desired consistency. Beat for another five minutes. JUST DO IT.
- Cut the tips of the carrots off diagonally twice, so that they are spear like (this will let them stand in the cake easier). Cut them at varying lengths so there will be a variety of heights in the cake. Crush the chocolate biscuits in a food bag with a rolling pin, or quickly blitz in a blender.
- Remove the cakes from their tins and place the bottom sponge on a stand with a dab of buttercream underneath to keep it in place. Spread a layer of butter cream on top (you might want to level the cake) and then place the other sponge on top. Cover this with buttercream too, using an offset spatula, and then cover the sides.
- Arrange the biscuit crumbs around the top of the cake in a semi circle. Arrange the cut carrots into the cake in a semi circle shape too, pushing the pointy ends in until they stand up alone. If you want scatter some raisins around this, or don’t, because my dad said they looked like rabbit poos.