mother nature is teasing us with what feels like autumn in the evenings but still sharing a taste of awkward (uncomfortable, annoying, you name it) humidity during the day. talk of spending my sunday afternoon baking turned to me thinking it would be a good idea to whip up something autumny with a hint of spice, perhaps a gingerbread loaf? i was soon outnumbered (thanks to our visitor for a few days) and so carrot cake it was. not just any carrot cake however, a much loved women's weekly recipe. i felt a little bit of pressure as baking is totally my thing but baking a good quality, well baked, tasty cake in my very old but new to me gas oven, now that's a different thing altogether. will it sink, will it be too wet in the middle, too dry too blah too not yummy?! oh the pressure. the idea that our afternoon visitors would be subjected to my cake effort made the weight on my shoulders even heavier. yes, i'm still talking about baking cakes here, stay with me. after careful watching, temperature moderation, some sweet whispers and a whooolllee lot of lemon cream icing, i can safely say (alongside my fellow taste testers) that this was THE best cake i have EVER made. i added a little extra carrot and mixed spice to make up for excluding the nuts and raisins (my roomie is allergic to nuts and really, raisins?) ta da!...a super delicious spicy autumn treat that should be devoured amongst the company of good friends alongside a pot of champagne praline tea (hit up your local tea centre for this god send.) it's one of the easiest recipes to follow and the kitchenaid was whipped out for the occasion even though this recipe was a breeze. prettiness makes for perfection in my books so do as you wish with the walnuts and raisins but make sure you tell me/show me your efforts. enjoy lovelies, i'm off to sample another slither (slab) myself. sweet dreams!
1 cup oil
1 1/3 cups of brown sugar
3 cups of coarsely grated carrot
1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup chopped raisins
2 1/2 cups of self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2 tsp mixed spice
80g cream cheese, softened
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
kitchenaid optional but a darn good excuse to make your work bench pretty in the process.
beat oil, sugar, and eggs in a bowl with an electric mixer/kitchenaid until thick and creamy.
add grated carrot, nuts and raisins and stir.
sift in the dry ingredients.
use a spatula to combine ingredients well.
pour mixture into the prepared pan (loaf or round tin that is greased and lined with baking paper) and bake in a moderate (180 deg) oven for 45 mins. It says to bake for a further 45 mins after covering with foil but i kept an eye on mine for around 25 mins at 180 deg and then lowered the temp to 140 deg for the remaining 10-15mins or so. it depends greatly on your oven so give it a whirl whilst keeping an eye on it. it's a labour of love this baking thing.
stand on a wire rack to cool and top the cake with cream cheese frosting. beat butter, cream cheese, lemon rind and juice in a small bowl with electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy; gradually beat in sifted icing sugar.
not suitable for the microwave but can be frozen. store in an airtight container if there is any left over and enjoy!