I've been tweaking this recipe for god-knows how long. See, I only get to try it whenever there's an occasion to make a sweet baked product. And now finally I can officially include this in my storehouse of family recipes.
I named it Dark Carrot Cake, instead of just Carrot Cake as Angela Nilsen did in The Ultimate Recipe Book where I adapted this from, because I plan to bake other types of carrot cakes among the thousands out there online and on cookbooks. The darkness stems from the dark muscovado sugar it uses which lends it a nice treacly smell and taste. Although it is also the source of my mild irritation because dark muscovado tends to ball-up into lumps when mixed with liquid. You can bet I did a lot of smashing and pressing to get rid of the lumps. But if you use newly bought or fresh from the box one, it won't lump that much. If you're not interested in pressing away lumps, just replace the dark muscovado with light muscovado.
Despite this, the cake is lovely especially when made a day ahead and paired with the accompanying cream cheese icing. Enjoy!
Dark Carrot Cake
85 g nuts (walnuts, brazil nuts, etc.)
1 medium orange
115 g [scant 1 cup] raisins
225 g self-raising flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
175 g dark muscovado sugar
175 ml sunflower oil
280 g finely grated carrots (about 2-3 medium carrots)
100 g full-fat cream cheese - room temperature
50 g unsalted or slightly salted butter - softened
50 g [heaping 1/3 cup] icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/325°F.
- [Optional] Toast nuts in a baking sheet in the oven for about 5-10 minutes.
- Finely chop nuts. Finely grate the zest from the orange set aside.
- Squeeze 2 Tbsp of juice from the orange and pour it over the raisins in a bowl. Leave to soak for about 20 minutes while you make the cake.
- Grease and line the base of a 8-inch/20 cm round or square baking pan with baking parchment.
- Combine the flour, cinnamon, and bicarbonate of soda.
- Put sugar in mixing bowl. Rub between fingers to break up lumps.
- Add in oil and beat with electric mixer on low speed until well mixed and have broken down as much of the little lumps as you can.
- Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Gently stir in the flour mixture with a large metal spoon.
- Fold in carrots, nuts, raisins (with the liquid), and orange zest.
- Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes for a round pan and 55-60 minutes for a square pan or until a skewer poked in the centre comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
- Turn out on a wire rack, peel off the lining and let it cool completely.
- Mix all icing in a bowl. Spread over cake. Best if cake is left for a day or two before icing and eating.