Historically, I have always enjoyed baking but have never ventured too far astray from cupcakes, muffins and basic sponges. With a big family meal over Easter, however, I thought it was about time for me to dust off my whisks and do something I’d never tried before. Risky? Possibly, but with my Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by my side I felt confident and I have to say, the end result was pretty darn delicious!
I love the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook and there are so many delicious recipes in there I’d like to try. I’m hoping to spend my early maternity leave becoming a baking maestro… We’ll see! Here’s the carrot cake recipe. The cake was moist, rich but not overpowering and surprisingly light. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and I hear the leftovers went down a treat with my parents’ friends the following day!
Prepare two quantities of Cream Cheese Frosting (see separate recipe). Base line three 20-cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.
300g soft light brown sugar
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon , plus extra to decorate
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
300g carrots , grated
100g shelled walnuts , chopped, plus extra, chopped and whole, to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
2. Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated (don’t worry if the mixture looks slightly split).
3. Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed.
4. Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts by hand until they are all evenly dispersed. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
5. When the cakes are cold, put one on a cake stand and spread about one-quarter of the Cream Cheese Frosting over it with a palette knife. Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the frosting over it
6. Top with the last cake and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Finish with walnuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.
Total time required Total time: 45 mins
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Note: I found the cooking times to be just a teeny bit over ambitious, possibly due to my lack of pre-grated carrots, pre-chopped walnuts and a huge oven that can even cook 3 sponges at once!
For the frosting:
300g icing sugar , sifted
50g unsalted butter , at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold
1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
2. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed.
3. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.
Total time required Total time: 10 mins
Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins