Summer brings us wonderful fresh produce here in Ontario. Roasting or cooking up a bunch of sweet carrots is a wonderful addition with any meal but baking them into a classic dessert is an even better use of this veg.
Today’s recipe for a moist sweet carrot cake with coconut and walnuts topped with a light Cream Cheese Icing will be a pleasant treat after any meal and an impressive dessert to take along to your next bbq!
This recipe is a perfect size as it bakes up in a 3-inch high 8-inch round cake pan in about 40-45 minutes. You could also use 2 x 8-inch pans or use the larger height pan like I did and split the cake for an extra layer of icing. Remember, if using 2 pans your baking time will be reduced.
Miette baking book is where I found this simple recipe and basically the only change I made was using the flat beater for all steps; Miette uses the whisk attachment for the first step of mixing the eggs, sugar and oil. Miette’s recipe also calls for using currents, walnuts and coconut but I opted for only walnuts and coconut as my add-ins.
I normally don’t add coconut to my baked items but in this cake with the carrots and walnuts it added another layer of flavour that blended together deliciously. You could leave out the cocont and add in some dried currents or some raisins. I toasted an additional 1/4 cup of coconut to sprinkle on top of the iced cake.
If possible pick up some fresh carrots at the farmers market as they truly are sweet and crunchy this time of the year and will make this cakes wonderful flavour just that much brighter.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs and sugar, and beat on medium speed about 2 minutes until well combined and light in colour. Slow the mixer down, drizzle in the oil and then beat on high speed to emulsify the oi.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture in 3 additions mixing on medium after each until smooth.
Add in the carrots, walnuts and coconut and beat just until combined. Remove from mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of mixing bowl to ensure everything is folded together well.
Scrape into prepared pans and bake on centre rack of oven until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool completely and ice with Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows).
Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups icing sugar
1-3 tsp. milk or cream
Beat butter and cream cheese together for several miutes until very well blended and smooth. Add in icing sugar 1 cup at a time and beat on low to combine until spreadable consistency. You many need a bit more or less icing sugar and if it’s too stiff beat in a teaspoon or two of milk.
Spread between layers and on top of cake. Garnish with toasted walnuts or coconut.
Refrigerate uneaten portion and bring to room temperature before serving.