Carrot Cake

Fluffy. Tasty. Airy. Creamy. Nutty. Just some of the beautiful attributes of a home-baked carrot cake. Nothing beats it!
I love baking and I love baking for people who love eating bakes.
This recipe is so easy and always puts a smile on my face. I love using lots of nuts and always add buttermilk and crushed pineapple to my recipe. If you wish, you can omit the pineapple and then increase the grated carrot to 350g.

Ingredients
2 C Flour
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp All Spice
2 Tsp Baking powder
1.5 Tsp Baking soda
1/2 Tsp Fine salt
2 C Light brown sugar
4 Eggs
3/4 C Canola oil
1/2 C Buttermilk
2 Tsp Vanilla essence
250g Grated carrot
100g Crushed pineapple, drained
1C Walnuts, roughly chopped
Frosting
1 Tub (240g) plain cream cheese, room temperature
130g Unsalted butter, room temperature
2.5 C Powdered (icing) sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla essence
1/2 C Walnuts, finely chopped (garnish)

How to do it
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Grease two 22cm cake pans and line with baking paper. Spray lightly with non-stick spray.
Sift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, baking powder, baking soda & salt into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, using a handheld blender, combine the sugar, eggs, oil, buttermilk & vanilla essence. Add the grated carrot & crushed pineapple.
Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix well, taking care not to over-mix the batter. (About 1 minute) Lightly fold the walnuts into the mixture.
Pour equal amounts into the prepared pans and place into the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the cake tins for about ten minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cooled, using a serrated knife (bread knife), cut the cake rounds in half and set aside.
Frosting
Using a stand mixer or hand held mixer, beat the cream cheese until light & creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and beat for a further 2 minutes, until well incorporated. With the blender switched off, add 1/2 C powdered sugar at a time and mix for about a minute after each addition.
Add the vanilla essence and mix well.
To assemble
Place the first cake round onto a platter. Using an icing spatula, ice the cake round and place the next round on top. Repeat until all four rounds have been assembled. Smooth the frosting around the cake.
Garnish with chopped walnuts.


Dark chocolate & coffee decadence

Life’s guilty little pleasures…I cannot imagine a nicer guilty treat than a home-baked decadent dark chocolate cake, 4 tiers, filled with caramel and topped with walnuts. Moist yet spongy, sweet yet slightly bitter with an end note of espresso. Absolute bliss!! Use the cake as a base and decorate with your choice of icing & any kind of decoration. Or bake the cake and get the kids to decorate!! The options really are endless…

Ingredients
2C Flour
1 3/4 C Castor sugar
3/4C Cocoa powder
1/4 C Dark chocolate pieces
2 Tsp Baking powder
1 1/2 Tsp Baking soda
1Tsp Salt
2 Eggs
3Tsp Vanilla Essence
1C Milk
1/2C Canola oil
120ml Espresso (I use Nespresso)
130ml Boiled water
1 Tin caramel spread
225g Dark chocolate pieces
250ml Cream
2C Walnuts, if using

How to do it
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line two cake tins with parchment paper and spray with non-stick. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt & cocoa powder. Combine the eggs & milk and mix through the dry ingredients, using a handheld mixer. Add the vanilla essence & canola oil and beat for 1 minute. Lightly fold in the chocolate pieces. Mix the coffee with the boiled water and pour into the batter. Mix well taking care not to over-mix the batter.
Pour the batter in equal parts into the cake tins and place into the oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Insert a skewer into the cake after 40 minutes. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Alternatively, bake for a few more minutes. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a gentle simmer taking care not to overheat the cream. The cream must be warm, not scalding hot. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate pieces and mix well. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before placing into the fridge to set.
To decorate
Once the cakes have cooled down completely, carefully slice each cake in half using a serrated knife. Spread 3 halves with the caramel spread. Place halves on top of one another and place the last half on top.
Once the chocolate ganache have set, using your handheld mixer, mix until lighter in colour and fluffy.
Using a spatula, decorate the cake on the top and sides. Chop the walnuts and cover the top of the cake.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x