I love carrot cake. It's as simple as that. It is the only cake which I will almost never pass on, no matter how much I've already eaten. Doesn't matter, 'cause it's the best damned cake this side of the sun (don't really know what that means, but it fitted my general ramblingness). I've made a couple of carrot cakes over the years, one quite nice, but don't recall the recipe, the other super-healthy, with weird grains and reduced-fat icing which, to be honest, was disgusting. Bugger that - if you're going to make a cake just deal with the cream cheese, or the chocolate, or whatever - it's CAKE!! It's not supposed to be guilt-free. Just enjoy it, don't eat half in one sitting, and you're good to go.
This recipe came to be via a friend who lives in Moscow (thanks Lee!), acting as private chef for a vodka magnate. Well, if there's going to be someone who would likely be quite discerning over the quality and tastiness of his morning cake, it'd be a russian billionaire, right? Definitely - right on the money - this carrot cake is the proverbial bomb. Delicious, as confirmed by the peeps who tasted it. This is the carrot cake recipe to burn all others. You need only one, and I'm going to put it out there that this is it. Okay, now that I sound like I'm trying to sell you something, I'll get onto the recipe. It's really good though, I'll be making it again soon. Oh - the original recipe had double the amounts listed below for the icing, as it called for icing the sides too. I just went for top and centre, so didn't need as much. Up to you.
2 cups finely-grated carrot
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 cups sugar 1 1/2 cups oil (I used rice bran) 4 large eggs 225 g tin crushed pineapple, drained 1 cup desiccated coconut 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 2/3 cup sultanas (optional)
225 g tub cream cheese, softened 4 tbsp butter, softened 1 tbsp lemon juice zest from 1 lemon - reserve a little to sprinkle on top 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease two 22cm cake tins (I used springform ones and lined the removable base with baking paper).
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in sugar, oil, eggs, carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts and raisins (if using).
Divide batter between cake pans and bake until a skewer comes out clean, roughly 35 - 45 minutes.
Allow layers to cool in pans for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of each and turn onto rack to cool completely.
For the icing, beat together the cream cheese, butter, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add icing sugar and beat until icing is smooth.
Place one cake on serving plate and cover with half of icing. Add second layer and ice - make sure the cakes are completely cool, otherwise you'll end with icing running off the cake. Sprinkle with some lemon zest, seeds and the like.