I love baking - it's wonderful to be able to get lots of different ingredients and put them in a big bowl, make a batter and cook only to find the outcome to be a moist soft cake that just screams homemade. I can walk passed cakes in shop windows but seldom manage to resist something that has been freshly baked with love and effort.
On a recent trip to Ikea in Springvale Alex was upset that there was no longer any carrot cake in the cafe - it was one of her (and my) favourite treats from the cafe. We have to stop at the cafe which is half way (it's actually half way in every Ikea store) as it's really hard work shopping at Ikea. This time she had a princess cake after her meatballs so she was still happy.
I decided, after reading so many versions of carrot cake over the years, that I give it a go and treat Alexandria to her favourite cake of all time. Unsure on which was the best recipe to use as there are so many different ones out there strangely a recipe popped up in my Facebook news feed and thought this is the one that I am meant to cook. So thanks to Canadian Living Magazine I present to you Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.
The cake is so moist - every mouthful was a pleasure to eat. The combination of carrots, pineapple and walnuts mixed with the cinnamon and the nutmeg was heaven and actually reminded me of days long ago when I was visiting my gorgeous friend Debbie and her family in Mississauga, Canada. Ahhhh memories......
The velvety cream cheese icing was delicious with a hint of real vanilla. I don't ever use the imitation vanilla essence. I always use Queen Natural Vanilla Concentrate Extract. It is a lot stronger and half the quantity is only needed. It has a nicer and more noticeable natural vanilla taste than the artificial flavour of the essence. Once you use it in baking you will not use the essence again.
Sprinkled with some more crushed walnuts and you will really enjoy treating yourself to this delicious cake.....
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
(Recipe sourced from Canadian Living Magazine)
Serves: 10 -12
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup drained crushed canned pineapple
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans if preferred)
250 gram package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup crushed walnuts for decoration (if desired)
Grease and line a 22 cm round cake tin (or 2 smaller ones) set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. In separate bowl, beat together granulated and brown sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla until smooth; pour over flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Stir in carrots, pineapple and pecans. Spread in prepared pan.
Bake in center of 180°C oven for 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack.
In bowl, beat cream cheese with butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Beat in icing sugar, one-third at a time, until smooth. Spread over top of cake.
Sprinkle with crushed walnuts for decoration.
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)