Friday, 17 April 2015

Carrot and Orange Cake with Fresh Cream Icing (Wheat Free)

This Monday just past was my brother's girlfriend's birthday, and he managed to sneakily ascertain that her favorite cake is carrot cake. And as such, I delivered!

I made a carrot cake for my blog a while back, but since then I've honed the recipe. I made sure to grate the carrot more finely, and find a good balance of carrot to cake mixture, and it turned out really well. However, traditionally, carrot cake is traditionally decorated with cream cheese icing, made by mixing cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and lemon juice, but I personally find this a bit sweet and heavy for carrot cake. Instead this time, I opted for a lighter icing, made with cream cheese and whipping cream.

I took a leaf from the book of making a gelatine free set cheesecake, where cream cheese and whipping cream are beaten together and mixed with lemon juice to set it, the acid reacting off the dairy. I sort of made up an icing recipe using the same logic (except with orange juice, because orange in a carrot cake is good and traditional) and it worked really well! It set up a little, but still remained light and fluffy. A nice accompaniment to the denseness of carrot cake.

☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☑ Yeast
☑ Wheat

☒ Eggs
☒ Dairy
☒ Gluten
☒ Nuts
☒ Refined sugar products

For two round 8 inch (20 centimetre) sandwich cakes:
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) cornflour
  • 6 ounces (170 grammes) white spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) baking powder
  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon (3 millilitres) ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon (2 millilitres) coriander
  • 2 pinches ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) sunflower oil
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) brown sugar
  • 8 ounces (225 grammes) finely grated carrot
  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) raisins

For the fresh cream icing:
  • 9 ounces (250 grammes) cream cheese
  • 9 fluid ounces (250 millilitres) whipping cream
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

To decorate:
  • 18 whole or halved nuts, for example pecans, walnuts, or almonds


First, make the cakes:
  • Preheat oven 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mk.4). Grease two 8 inch (20 centimetre) round sandwich tins with a little butter or margarine. 
  • In large bowl, sieve the cornflour, spelt flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and caster sugar. Take a spoonful of this mixture and use it to dust the tins, returning the excess to the bowl.
  • In a jug, beat together the brown sugar, sunflower oil, and eggs until fully combined. Mixing the brown sugar with the wet ingredients makes it easier to dissolve out the lumps.
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it is half mixed, and then add in the carrot and raisins. Mix until completely combined and smooth.
  • Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until springy to the touch and a cocktail stick poked into the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool in the tins for about 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen. Turn out the cakes and allow them to cool completely.

Then, prepare the icing and decorate:
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add in the cream, a third at a time,beating until smooth between additions.
  • Once all the cream is added, beat until the cream reaches soft peaks. This could take a while, especially if you're whisking by hand with a balloon whisk. I recommend a electric mixer for this.
  • Once it has formed soft peaks, add in the juice, zest and half the sugar. Beat until mixed in, then add the rest of the sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over whip as the cream will split.
  • If the cakes have a big dome, cut them off before decorating. Put one cake on the serving platter, top with about a quarter of the cream. Then place the other cake on top, upside down. Ice with another two quarters, then use the last quarter for piping little rosettes along the top and bottom edges.
  • Place the nuts on top of the rosettes in a pretty pattern, spacing them evenly.
  • Chill for at least 2 hours to allow the icing to set, then allow to temper to room temperature before serving.

And here's the end result. It was very tasty, and not all heavy and sweet with too much cream cheese icing. I think this is a nice, fresh twist on a classic.

THIS TIME IN 2014: No blog
THIS TIME IN 2013: Pouring Fondant Done the Awkward Way

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