Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
FOR THE CAKE
300ml (10fl oz) / (270g/9½oz) sunflower oil or rapeseed (canola) oil
350g (12oz) soft light brown sugar
4 medium eggs
100g (3½oz) ground almonds
100g (3½oz) walnut pieces
100g (3½oz) sultanas (golden raisins)
100g (3½oz) desiccated (dried shredded) coconut
250g (9oz) self-raising flour
2 tablespoons ground mixed (pumpkin pie) spice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon salt
400g (14oz) grated carrots
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
FOR THE ICING
50g (1¾oz) soft butter
300g (10½oz) cream cheese (Philadelphia is pretty good for this)
juice of ½ lemon
50g (1¾oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lime or some crushed walnuts, to finish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/320°F/gas 4 and line your 22 x 33 x 5cm (8½ x 13 x 2in) baking tray (sheet pan).
To make the cake, combine the oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl, then add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir in the ground almonds, walnuts, sultanas (golden raisins) and coconut. Sift in the flour, mixed (pumpkin pie) spice, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and salt, then fold in gently. Add the grated carrots, along with the zest and juice of the orange and lemon, then mix thoroughly, remembering to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Check the bottom of the mixing bowl, too, as the sugar and oil tend to play hide-and-seek down there.
When all the ingredients are well combined, pour into your lined baking tray and bake for 45–50 minutes. Test to see if the cake is cooked by sticking a knife in the middle; it should come out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack or chopping board and leave to cool, now make the icing.
Beat the butter in a stand mixer on a slow speed (or by hand), adding the cream cheese a dollop at a time, then add the lemon juice and keep mixing. Finally, sift in the icing (confectioners’) sugar and mix well.
When the cake has fully cooled, spread the icing evenly on top. Keep it simple or decorate with lime zest for a bit of funky colour and extra zing, or some crushed walnuts for added crunch. This will keep for 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.