One of the things that I really like about being able to make a layered cake, is that it makes me so happy to bring one of these with me to friends or family. This carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is actually a little bit of practice for a wedding cake (!) I’ll make next year’s spring for good friends.
This carrot cake is different by means that I didn’t add raisins or nuts, but which you could by any means. Another addition I made to a classic carrot cake recipe is that instead of oil, I used melted butter here. The reason for that is that I consider that butter has much more taste and doesn’t leave an greasy layer in your mounth. The amount of spices in this cake is on the more generous side, so do feel free to amend it to your liking.
Altogether this cake is delicious. It is sweet, but not too sweet and has a wonderful firm, yet light texture. The carrots give it a lot of moisture so you don’t have to worry that it will dry out. Just make sure you handle the different layers of cake carefully, to prevent crumbling.
- For three layers of 15cm diameter cake.
- 450 grams of finely (hand-)grated carrot (*see note)
- 300 grams of plain flour
- 15 grams of salt
- 300 grams of granulated sugar
- 300 grams of melted butter
- 4 eggs
- 15 grams of baking powder
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of mixed spices (like Dutch koekkruiden or German Lebkuchengewurze, if you can't find something like this, make a mix of star anise, kardemom and ginger powder, together with a pinch of cloves)
- 1/2 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 300 grams of icing sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of corn starch
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 250 grams of butter
- 250 grams of cream cheese (** see note)
- For the Marzipan Trees:
- 100 grams of marzipan
- 6 wooden skewers (cut in half, keeping the sharper end)
- green foodcoloring
- silver food-safe dust
- 1 tablespoon of vodka
- *I started off finely grating the carrots and ended up being fully covered in orange muck. The much better alternative, I found, is to let the raw carrots be blitzed in your kitchen machine (one that is not too strong to prevent it from turning into juice - mush) into an almost sandy texture. Even though I would like to say the contrary, shop-bought grated carrot will not do as it is not fine enough and too dry.
- ** Don't be me and be patient and careful when making your frosting. Do not mix in the cream cheese until your frosting is completely ready. If you overmix the cream cheese it will turn into a liquid soup (beyond repair). Adding corn starch helps to prevent this, but doesn't exclude the possibility of the frosting being ruined.
- For the batter mix the finely grated carrots, flour, sugar, baking powder, melted butter, spices, eggs, salt and lemon juice. Mix with a spatula by hand until it looks smooth. Line your baking tins with baking paper and brush lightly with some oil or melted butter (or if you only have one baking tin, bake the batter in three batches).
- In a moderately hot oven, bake the cakes on 150 degrees Celsius for around 30 minutes or until a wooden stick comes out dry. My advice is to rather have the cake be a little bit on the firm side than to undercook. The crumb of this cake is really soft and baking it properly will make it easier to handle. The carrots (and cream cheese frosting) also help keeping the end-result moist enough (if you're adding raisins this will even more so be the case).
- Let the cakes cool down thoroughly.
- Beat together the icing sugar, salt, vanilla extract and butter until airy using a mixer. Once you are happy with the texture of this buttercream, add in the cream cheese and only mix as much as necessary to incorporate it.
- Then start building up your cake by putting a bit of frosting in between each layer and covering the outside and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. For more tips on how to build a layered cake, see the post I wrote on baking a wedding cake here or Smitten Kitchen's super-useful guide.
- I made the little trees by shaping balls of marzipan into cones and sticking them onto the sharp end of a wooden skewer. I then painted these with a little brush, using a mixture of green food coloring gel, silver dust and a bit of vodka. I then sprinkled more silver dust on these little trees and stuck them onto the tree.