Friday, 2 September 2011
The bestest, bestest carrot cake in the world, ever.
Frankly I have neglected my duties. Considering the amount of cakes I make, the fact that a cake has not made its way onto the blog yet is really not acceptable, so this is the first in a long line of cakes that will make an appearance here.
YES, carrot cake. How many carrot cake recipes do you need? Well, I don't necessarily think you can have too many but this one is utterly divine! And easy! This is the cake that you whip up earlier in the day and serve with a cup of tea late afternoon. Very civilised. And if you are up to your eyes in carrot cake recipes, then just see this as a suitably apt vehicle to carry this frosting which is absolutely delish!
This recipe is gently adapted from Tamasin Day Lewis' recipe in her book 'Supper for a Song'. If you read through the recipe you will realise that the instructions are for you to make a sandwich cake which is then covered by the mascarpone icing. My preference is to just sandwich the cakes with a layer of the frosting. If you prefer this, please note that you SHOULD HALF THE QUANTITY OF FROSTING.
Carrot cake with lime and mascarpone frosting
Makes a 20cm / 8 inch cake
180g/6oz plain flour
2 level tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 grated nutmeg
180g/6oz light muscovado sugar
150ml/1/4pint sunflower oil
2 large eggs
200g/7oz coarsely grated carrots
85g/3oz shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
A handful of raisins (optional)
For the frosting
200 - 225g / 7 - 8oz mascarpone or full fat cream cheese
100g/3 1/2 oz unsalted butter, softened
85 - 100g/3 - 3 1/2 oz icing sugar or light muscovado sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
1. For the cake: preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Grease and line one deep or two shallow 20cm cake tins.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and mix in the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
3. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk together the muscovado sugar, sunflower oil and eggs until smooth.
4. With a large metal spoon, fold in the carrots and walnuts, and raisins, if using, then fold in the flour and spice mixture until well combined.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin(s), place on baking trays and bake until the cake is golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (test after 25 minutes if you are using two shallow cake tins; 40 minutes if using a deep cake tin). Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin(s) on a wire rack.
5. For the frosting: pare a few shreds of lime zest with a zester and set aside to use as decoration. Finely grate the remaining lime zest and squeeze the juice from one half of the fruit.
6. Beat the mascarpone in a bowl with the softened butter, icing (or light muscovado) sugar and finely grated lime zest. Add the lemon juice slowly, beating the mixture continuously to prevent it from curdling. You may not need to add all of the lemon juice; add to taste.
7. If you have made one deep cake, cut it horizontally into two layers. Sandwich them (or the small cakes) together with some of the mascarpone mixture. Spread the frosting over the top and smooth it down the sides to cover completely, then ruffle the surface.
8. Either refrigerate and serve chilled, or serve immediately, topped with the reserved strips of lime zest.
I make two small cakes instead of one deep one and then sandwich them together.
I have a fan oven and so generally have it lower than the recommended temperature and check it frequently.
For the frosting, if you just want to sandwich the cake together and not top it with the frosting, then you only need half the quantity of frosting listed here.
Sometimes the butter can go a bit lumpy during the mixing of the frosting, even if it is at room temperature, so I make it with an electric mixer and beat it until it becomes smooth.
I use light muscovado sugar in the frosting instead of icing sugar. I think it tastes better, and less sweet.
It's very important to keep tasting the frosting until you get it as citrussy as you want it. I like it quite 'tart'.
I think this doesn't need to be refrigerated. Keep in an air tight tin.
Excellent served with a cup of tea and a few friends around.