Saturday, 17 August 2013

Carrot Cake

This is a Hummingbird Bakery recipe, it's perfectly moist, perfectly spiced, and we’ve had café customers claim it is the best cake they’ve ever had. You can leave out the walnuts if you like, or use equal amounts of mixed spice instead of ginger/cinnamon, if you don’t have them to hand. 

This recipe makes a two-layer, 7in cake.

Gather your equipment
Essential equipment:  Lined cake tins, scales, measuring spoons, measuring jug, grater, mixing bowl, fork, mixing spoon
Optional equipment: electric whisk, sieve, spatula

Gather your ingredients (you are going to have to use your imaginations, as this photo inexplicably disappeared from my laptop... not a single other photo, just this one)
For this recipe you'll need: 200g soft light brown sugar, 2 eggs, 200ml sunflower/vegetable oil, 200g plain flour, 1 teaspoon EACH of bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon EACH of ground ginger and salt, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 200g carrots, 70g shelled walnuts
  • Use caster sugar instead of brown sugar if you don't have any
  • Use mixed spice instead of cinnamon and ginger if you don't have any
  • Leave out the walnuts, or sub for raisins/any other dried fruit/nuts
Prepare to bake
Preheat oven to 170°C and line your cake tins. Peel and grate your carrots, chop your walnuts into small pieces, then weigh out the flour/bicarb of soda/baking powder/cinnamon/ginger/salt into the same bowl.
Mix sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla
Weigh your sugar straight into the mixing bowl. Add the eggs (no need to beat them first). Measure out 200ml of oil and pour over the sugar and eggs. Add the vanilla extract then beat with a fork until everything is well incorporated - or use an electric whisk.
Add most of the flour/spices mix
Add about a quarter of the flour/spices/raising agents mix to the sugar/eggs/oil. Use a sieve if you have one. Stir roughly, then add another quarter. Continue until there is still a little flour left.
Mix flour and walnuts
Stir the chopped walnuts into the remaining flour, until they are all evenly coated. This step helps to stop the walnuts sinking to the bottom of the cake batter.
Mix in the walnuts
Stir in the flour-y walnuts until they are all incorporated.
Add the grated carrots
Finally add the carrots and mix well. (If you taste the batter at this point, it tastes exactly how I imagine carrot-cake-flavoured-fudge would taste - if this exists in real life PLEASE let me know).
Separate into tins, bake, turn out
Evenly separate the mix into two tins, then bake at 170°C for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, poke through the middle with a toothpick/skewer -  if it comes out clean, the cakes are ready. This is a very moist cake though, so if you'd like to leave it in the oven for another ~10 minutes, do feel free.
Allow to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto wire cooling racks. Leave to cool completely before decorating.
I usually sandwich and ice this cake with a simple buttercream icing, spiced with cinnamon. If you are using a very 'yellow' butter/margarine, adding cinnamon also gives the plain icing a nicer colour than usual. I usually top it off with whole walnuts in a circle around the top, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can also buy little royal icing carrots to decorate, or there are a whole variety of sprinkles that would work - like these little gingerbread babies:

And here's the final product, with candles on as it was a birthday cake!

And here are some other variations:
The one on the left is a three layer one, destined for sale at the café. The measurements for making 3-layer quantities can be found in the recipe below! The one on the right is decorated with royal icing, and it was my birthday cake after I'd just gone dairy-free.

Carrot cake: - makes a 7in 2-layer cake
200g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
200ml sunflower/veg oil
200g plain flour
1tsp bicarb of soda
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground singer
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
200g carrots, grated
70g chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C
  2. Beat together the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract until well incorporated
  3. Mix in a separate bowl the flour, raising agents, spices and salt
  4. In parts, add most, but not all, of the flour/spices mix to the sugar/eggs/oil mix. Stir after each addition. 
  5. Stir the chopped walnuts into the remaining flour, then add to the rest of the ingredients. Stir well.
  6. Add the grated carrots and stir well.
  7. Separate into two cake tins and bake for 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins slightly, then turn out and decorate.

Recipe originally from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

Quantities for a 3-layer cake:

300g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower/veg oil
300g plain flour
1tsp bicarb of soda
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
300g carrots, grated
100g chopped walnuts


  1. Yummmmmmm!!! Cooking double quantities now :) 14 people to feed!

    1. Mmmm double quantities, the very best kind!