My apologies, at the outset, for the lighting in this picture that simply does not do any justice to this world’s best carrot cake, a fluffy, super moist crumb, loaded with fresh carrot & my favourite flavour enhancers cinnamon & nutmeg. They do a fine job of totally bringing out the freshness of the cake without adding sweetness to it. In fact, the combination of light brown sugar & refined white sugar adds its own caramelized charm to this cake.
And finally, there you have it, this pretty two-tiered maiden, covered in the magnificent veil of a tangy silky-smooth cream cheese frosting dusted with more cinnamon before you- oooh! completely worth that extra half hour in the gym! Take my word for it & try it out real soon. And remember, as I said before, any time is cake time, especially when it’s homemade without preservatives & synthetic flavours!
Hey, hold on, this post would be incomplete without this little story to go. You see when my daughter was all of 3 years in her pre-school phase, the cute little school she went to, requested each child to bring in one snack in the year, sufficient for all the kids to share. That was the first time I ever tried out a carrot cake 13 years ago & unfortunately it turned out too dense as the recipe only asked for 2 eggs. Though the kids enjoyed every last crumb, my heart sank looking at the flat bread I had baked with so much love for them all.
Thereafter there was no looking back. I researched tons of recipes trying out various proportions of flour, oil/butter, carrot & eggs until I finally had it spot on! Went out with my best carrot cake to her pre-school for my next opportunity the following year. That’s me and my crazy perfectionist side for you, ha ha!
The crazy things we all do sometimes, for love!
Recipe for Mega Moist Anytime Carrot Cake
Ingredients (Serves 8 – 10 persons)
- 1 ½ cups (300g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) refined white sugar
- 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup (130g) fresh unsweetened apple puree (stewed & pureed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 ½ cups (310g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 2 cups (260g) grated carrots (about 4 – 5 large carrots)
- 100gms chopped almonds for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Grease two 9-inch cake pans & line them with butter paper.
- Whisk together all the wet ingredients with an electric beater, namely brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, apple puree, and vanilla essence in a large bowl until combined and no sugar lumps remain.
- In another large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg together.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix using a rubber spatula until just combined with no flour pockets remaining.
- Fold in the grated carrots with very light movements.
- Pour/spoon the batter evenly between 2 cake pans & bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Test the centre with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.
- The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 450gms full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 115gms unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 500gms icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla essence
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds for garnish (optional)
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth for about 2 minutes.
- Add the icing sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
- Beat on low for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until completely combined and creamy.
- Add more icing sugar if the frosting is too thin & more milk if frosting is too thick. It should be soft, but not runny.
- To assemble, first, using a large serrated knife, cut off the tops of the cakes evenly to create a flat surface.
- Place 1 cake on a plate and evenly cover the top with frosting, using a palette knife.
- Now gently with both hands, place the 2nd cake on top of the 1st cake & cover it with frosting.
- Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides & decorate with chopped almonds.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 20-25 minutes before slicing to help it hold its shape when cutting.
- Remember to allow the frosting to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, then give it one more mix with the hand mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute before frosting your cake.
- You can substitute the almonds with walnuts or skip the nuts entirely
- You could also substitute the apple puree with : ¾ cup thick pumpkin puree (stewed & mashed) or slightly sour cream or plain yogurt
- Use real cream cheese eg. D’lecta & Amul are Indian brands of cream cheese, now available easily in many supermarkets. Please do not use cream cheese spread.
- Amrit is an Indian brand of packed, light brown sugar, now available across supermarket chains in India.
- If you wish to make carrot cupcakes, fill each cupcake mould until about ¾ full & bake at 180°C for 20-25 minutes.