Sometimes I just want cake. A simple recipe with instant gratitude. Something that doesn’t take me days to make. I love mixing a cake batter, pouring it into the tin and it’s straight in the oven. I wanted to make something quick and easy this week. I opted for carrot cake because it fit with the sunny weather we’ve been having and its very swift to throw together. I didn’t want to faff with a sandwich-style cake; aiming for ease here I went for a single layer cake that would be lovely to pack and take for a picnic (which is exactly what I did.) It also allows for a delightful cake to frosting ratio.
Toasted pistachios, orange cream cheese frosting and a lightly spiced carrot cake are flavours that melt into one another. The ritual of coffee and cake is prominent in a lot of cultures and for me, it’s a small moment in a day that feels like pure comfort.
Ingredients – Makes one 9x9inch cake
- 200g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 150g caster sugar
- 100g soft dark brown sugar
- 100g sultanas
- 230g neutral oil (I use sunflower oil)
- 3 medium eggs
- 230g grated carrot
- 1 apple, grated (juice squeezed out, end weight approx. 60g)
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- 90g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 180g full fat cream cheese, cold
- pinch of salt
- 150g icing sugar, sieved
- 1 orange zest
- handful of toasted chopped pistachios, to garnish (optional)
- candied orange, to garnish (optional)
To make the cake
- Pre-heat your oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 9x9inch cake tin with parchment.
- In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, sugars and sultanas. In another bowl combine the oil, eggs, grated carrot and grated apple. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry in two additions, whisking together. Once combined, pour the cake batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for 30-40 minutes until a skewer in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool completely.
To make the cream cheese frosting
- Place the butter, salt, icing sugar and orange zest into a bowl and cream together (by hand using a spoon or in a mixer with a paddle) until pale and fluffy. Add in the cold cream cheese and beat again to incorporate.
- Turn the carrot cake out of the baking tin once cool and spread the cream cheese frosting over the top in an even layer. Garnish with toasted pistachios and candied orange. Cut into pieces and serve (I like to cut mine into 16 pieces, cutting the cake into 4 rows then each row in 4.) Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.