What do you mean you need an excuse for cake? OK, make Amy Cooke-Hodgson’s lush carrot cake for the important woman in your life and ‘test’ at least three slices.
I’ve genuinely sat down three or four times now to write an interesting introduction to my Mother’s Day cake recipe. I’ve Googled the living daylights out of its origins, discovered the difference between Mother’s Day and Mothering Sunday, even why the apostrophe is after the r and not the s (Mother’s vs Mothers’) and ultimately none of it offers even the most tenuous of links to what is basically a great cake recipe that your mum/sister/aunt/grandma/friend will love.
Jeez, it’s a carrot cake – even men like a carrot cake – and who needs a gender-specific festival to put one of these on the tea table?
That said, it’s the perfect thing to arrive home with if you are visiting loved ones this weekend and I’m pretty sure your mum would love a slice (or three).
300g light brown sugar
300ml sunflower oil
200g carrot, finely grated
100g courgette, peeled and finely grated
100g walnuts/pecans, roughly chopped
1 handful raisins
300g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp baking powder
½ tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
peel of 1 orange, finely grated
Orange crème fraiche frosting:
100g butter at room temperature
600g icing sugar
3 heaped tablespoons crème fraiche
peel of 1 orange, finely grated
1 tsp squeezed orange juice
Preheat the oven to 170°C/160°C fan. Line two 20cm or three 18cm cake tins. Peel, grate and zest the carrots, courgette and oranges.
In a freestanding mixer (or large bowl with handheld mixer) add the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs and beat until all of these ingredients are well incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients (flour, bicarb of soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon) slowly, a few tablespoons at a time.
By hand, carefully stir in the carrot, courgette, nuts and grated orange, ensuring they’re well dispersed.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the cake tins, making sure they are level; use the back of a spoon or palette knife to even up.
Bake for 25-30 minutes if using three tins and 40-45 mins for two tins. Every oven is different so you may need more or less time; you’re looking for a golden brown colour and for a cocktail stick to come out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
Once baked, leave the cakes in their tins for 10 mins before turning out onto a rack to completely cool.
Don’t be tempted to frost the cakes while they’re still even a little bit warm. I’ve tried: it was a landslide, and not the victorious kind.
Beat the butter and orange zest in a mixer until very soft. Add a third of the icing sugar and a spoonful of crème fraiche and beat well. Alternate adding the remaining sugar and crème fraiche and once all combined, beat on a high speed for three minutes.
Smother the cakes in frosting and decorate with pecans, walnuts and cinnamon. Set a timer and see how long it manages to stay in one piece.3813 Views
Amy is an actor, improviser and singer currently appearing in award-winning improv show Austentatious. You can also visit her Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/RowleyandCooke