We were tired from all the climbing during the hike, so our tour leader decided to call for a break at a forest shelter. He set down his picnic basket and whipped out many things from the rattan chest: one flask of coffee, one flask of tea, cups, saucers, teaspoons etc. The most amazing thing that he laid out was a huge serving of carrot cake. Everyone in the group took a slice of cake each and I could swear there and then that it was the most amazing piece of cake I have ever had.
The taste of that slice of carrot cake was one the most impressionable pieces of memory on that eventful day nine years ago, on top of a hill in a rainforest in Queensland, Australia. That was the first time I tasted carrot cake too.
Ever since then, I have always found it strange that the taste of carrot in carrot cakes isn’t enough to make it deserving of such a name in the first place. So I went online to surf the web and discovered something interesting – that man has been using carrots as a substitute for sweeteners since the medieval times due to their high level of sugar content. In the process of baking, carrots would soften and their sugar components would break down, rendering a sweetened and denser cake batter. This therefore explains why carrot cakes are a lot sweeter, denser and more moist than many other cakes.
Alright. Mystery solved. Back to the baking for now.
- Plain flour: 1.5 cups, sifted
- Baking soda: 1 tsp, sifted
- Baking powder: 1 tsp, sifted
- Salt: 1/2 tsp, sifted
- Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp, sifted
- Large egg: 2
- Caster sugar: 3/4 cup
- Vanilla essence: 1.5 tsp
- Canola oil: 3/4 cup
- Grated carrots: 2 cups
- Unsalted butter: 3/4 cup (150g)
- Cream cheese: 1/2 cup (115g)
- Lemon essence: 1.5 tsp
- Icing sugar: 1.25 cup
- Whole walnut: 1 cup
- Almond: 2 cups, chopped
- Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius.
- Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon powder together.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk eggs and caster sugar on medium speed for 2 min.
- Add in vanilla essence and oil. Continue whisking on high speed for 2 min.
- Gradually add in flour mixture in 2 batches. Whisk till mixture is even.
- Remove whisk and fold in carrots. Pour batter into an 8″ baking pan.
- Bake 35 min till golden brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
- In the meantime, whisk together butter, cheese, lemon essence and icing sugar till smooth.
- Leave to chill in fridge for 30 min.
- Remove and spread mixture on top (and sides, optional) of cake using a spatula.
- Decorate with whole walnuts and chopped almond slices before serving.
- I prefer chilling the icing frost before spreading it onto the cake to make it less fluid and hence more manageable.
- This recipe was kindly adapted from Deliciously Yum’s ‘Scrumptious Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting’. I added a lesser amount of sugar in my recipe and created a more tangy, lemon flavoured icing instead of the original vanilla flavoured frosting.
One 8″ cake (about 8 large slices)