So it has been a bit of a theme lately to try to get creative and find ways of using the food we have so it isn’t wasted. I woke up on Sunday to a few carrots that needed to be used, as well as some excess cream cheese (I bought it to use in the frosting for the red velvet cupcakes and accidentally bought too much). Naturally, a carrot cake seemed the perfect way to use up these ingredients, and I already had all the other ingredients required.
My usual go to carrot cake recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s “How to be a domestic goddess”, but I found this recipe in Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home” and thought I would give it a try. The recipe was very straightforward, the only issue was that the recipe is intended to be for cupcakes, so the cooking time needed to be substantially adjusted. The cupcakes were supposed to cook in 20 minutes, this cake took close to 1 and a half hours before it was ready. Clearly, my choice of a narrow 7 inch cake tin was not inspired here. The top of the cake browned quickly but remained liquid for a long time. About 40 minutes into the cooking I covered the cake with foil to make sure it didn’t burn.
Stress about cooking time aside, this was a delicious cake that I will absolutely make again. Moist and chewy, the cake has a caramelly flavour and a distinct hit of cinnamon. I liked the icing as well, not too sweet and very moreish (note that this icing is much thinner than the cream cheese icing I used on the red velvet cupcakes). It was a perfect way to clear through some of the fridge and pantry and a lovely Sunday afternoon treat with a cup of tea!
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home recipe for carrot cupcakes
240g plain flour (or 290g spelt flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
60 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g caster sugar
200g brown sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil (you could substitute for another neutral tasting oil but do not be tempted to use olive oil, I did this once and ruined a perfectly lovely carrot cake)
3 cups finely shredded carrot (about 2 medium carrots)
1 1/2 cups walnuts
350g cream cheese, at room temperature
225 g butter, at room temperature, chopped into cubes
90g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla essence
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Line a cake tin with baking paper (I used a 7 inch tin. You could use a wider tin and reduce the cooking time)
- Place the walnuts on a tray and bake until toasted.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and cinnamon together and set aside.
- In a food processor, shred the carrot:
- Beat the eggs, milk, vanilla and sugars until smooth and combined. Beat in the oil.
- Blend in the flour mixture in three parts.
- Stir in the carrot.
- Chop the walnuts and add 1 cup to the cake mixture:
- Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 1.5 hours, rotating the cake half way through and covering with aluminium foil once the top has browned. The precise cooking time will depend on the cake tin you used.
- Beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
- Add in the butter, and beat until completely incorporated and smooth.
- Beat in the icing sugar in batches until combined.
- Add in the vanilla essence.
- Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Frost on cooled cake, add hazelnuts for decoration.