Saturday, 26 October 2013

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and caramelised walnuts

Carrot cake with ceam cheese frostinng and caramelised walnuts

Bake number two for EHH’s birthday – carrot cake. Looking back through the blog, I haven’t made a carrot cake in absolutely ages, so this seemed like a great reason to make one. Digging out my recipe – beautifully handwritten by a work colleague while I was temping about 10 years ago – it was definitely time to make and therefore write up this recipe as the paper was rather worn and the handwriting fading!

I’m a big fan of carrot cake – I love the moist multi-textured cake and rich complex flavours, topped with a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting. This is not a standard or traditional carrot cake due to the addition of banana, but I think that it is delicious! Unusually for carrot cake, there is no spice in this recipe - you could choose to add some but (although I love spice) I don't think that this cake needs it. The frosting is delicious and the addition of the caramelised walnuts makes it extra special.

This is a beautifully easy cake to make – no beating, no melting, no big pile of washing up! Just throw everything in one bowl, mix it up and then stick it in the oven! If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of magi-cake strips (keep an eye out as the price for these seems to vary quite a lot – I’ve seen them for as little as £15, but they are definitely worth the money regardless!) – they work brilliantly for cakes like this that take a while to cook and may otherwise bake rather unevenly.  

The frosting is also very simple to make – there isn’t loads of it, so you do need to spread it fairly thinly over the top and around the sides: a tilted turntable and a good palette knife makes this much easier. Sprinkling the nuts around the edges of the cake is completely optional, but it does help to disguise any bits of the frosting that aren’t beautifully smooth! Again, the tilting turntable does make this much easier to do, but, be warned, no matter how hard you try, the nuts will go everywhere when you do this!

As there is cream and cream cheese in the frosting, you will either need to eat this cake immediately or store in the fridge. If you do store in the fridge, remove one hour before serving to allow it to return to room temperature.

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and caramelised walnuts

Carrot cake on a stand, before decorating with cream cheese frosting and caramelised nuts
Pre-decoration - the cake strips help to ensure a beautifully even bake

  1. 225g self-raising flour
  2. 1 tsp baking powder
  3. 140g soft brown sugar
  4. 50g mixed chopped toasted nuts
  5. 50g raisins
  6. 120g carrots (grated)
  7. 2 ripe medium-sized bananas (mashed)
  8. 2 eggs (beaten)
  9. ¼ pint oil

For the frosting

  1. 100ml double cream
  2. 80g icing sugar
  3. 85g full fat cream cheese (like Philadelphia)
  4. ½ tsp vanilla extract

For the caramelised walnuts and mixed nut sprinkles

  1. 30g butter
  2. 30g light brown sugar
  3. 60g walnuts
  4. 100g mixed chopped toasted nuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Line a 20cm deep cake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Stir together flour, baking powder and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add nuts, raisins, grated carrot and the mashed bananas and stir to mix.
  5. Add beaten eggs and oil and stir until well mixed.
  6. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until firm to the touch.  
  7. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.
  8. While the cake is cooling, melt the butter in a small frying pan.
  9. Add in the sugar and the walnuts and stir for about 4 minutes until caramelised.
  10. Tip out onto baking parchment and set aside to cool.   
  11. Whip cream until softly stiff.
  12. Cream icing sugar, vanilla and cream cheese together.
  13. Fold in cream.
  14. When the cake is completely cool, spread frosting over the top and around the sides of the cake.
  15. Sprinkle the chopped mixed nuts around the edge of the cake and top with the caramelised walnuts.

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