Tuesday, 3 July 2012

"Anniversary" Carrot Cake

Well, that was a busy weekend...
With two young children, we don't get out terribly much. But this weekend we went to a wedding and then a 50th Anniversary celebration. The wedding was in the Boston area (KwaZulu Natal, not Massachusetts - that would have been a really busy weekend!), and the anniversary was my in-laws, up in the Central Drakensberg.
I only mention this because there was, of course, cake involved : )

I had agreed to do something for desert for the Anniversary lunch, but because we were staying overnight at the wedding, it had to be something that could travel -150km to the wedding, then 200km to the anniversary.  So, I was thinking cake.

Covering cakes in Fondant is not something I am very good at, but like a loose tooth, I cannot resist the urge to work at it....
I had already made a "Gardening Lady" Fondant figurine, and a male counterpart was all I needed to top a two tier square cake.
That was the easy part. Unfortunately I don't always consider the practicalities of these ideas ...

The top tier of the cake was to be ginger, and the lower tier carrot cake.  I'm not the biggest fan of plain butter icing, and because this cake was traveling, and I wasn't sure what the temperature variations were going to be (in the end it was just cool, cold and icy!), I decided that cream cheese icing under Fondant would be a bit risky.  So, the end product was sticky ginger cake with dark chocolate ganache, and carrot cake with white chocolate ganache. Yu-u-um!

Ganache between ginger layers

Dark chocolate ganache & ginger cake

White chocolate ganache and carrot cake

Once I start preparing Fondant for a cake, I generally think I'm out of my depth. And I probably am!
I'm much more comfortable working with small rounds of Fondant for the tops of cupcakes, so rolling out the large sheets that are needed to stretch across a large cake are a challenge. 

Anyway, much rolling and re-rolling later, the cake was covered. The wide chocolate MMF ribbons around the base of the cake are to hide the pleats I just can't seem to quite avoid... 


...And the figures were supposed to be on the top of the cake, but they snapped off their spaghetti stakes, lost their heads, broke off hands, shattered hats... so it's a good thing the photo isn't the best quality, or you'd see all the hasty repair work...
 ...the watering can and spade are concealing the stake holes on the top of the cake....

A-n-y-w-a-y... this is the carrot cake recipe.  It is scrumptious! 
It worked very well with the white chocolate, but I do usually cover it with cream cheese icing.  

Scrumptious Carrot Cake:

2 cups cake flour
2 tsp Bicarb 
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flaked coconut 
1 cup chopped walnuts / pecans 
1 can crushed pineapple

Pre-heat the oven to 175'C   
Mix flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and spice together. 
Make a well; add sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.
Add carrots, coconut, nuts and pineapple.  Mix until combined.  

You can bake this in a single cake pan; separate it into two cake pans (which is what I did for this cake - 2 x 8 inch square pans) or even make cupcakes out of this batter. 
Bake cupcakes for approx 20 minutes, 2 layers approx 30min, and 1 layer approx 45min - until a skewer comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.  

The batter is quite resilient (a friend had a cupcake case disaster, and had to remove the batter from the oven, scrape it from the cases, re-dispense it; and it still rose. 

And the cake freezes well, too : ) 

Happy baking!



  1. What filling did you use and how did you make it? (How do you make the cream cheese icing and the white chocolate icing?). Also, do you offer classes?

  2. Hi, Chantal!

    Yes, I run cookie and cupcake decorating classes. The next few are scheduled on the calendar.

    The white chocolate ganache is made with cream and white chocolate melted together in a double boiler, have a look at www.artandappetite.com/2009/11/ganache.

    As for the cream cheese icing, I use 1 tub of cream cheese (the denser kind, like Lancewood or Woolworths plain low fat cream cheese, or Philadelphia) and about 120g butter at room temp. And 3/4 -1cup of sifted icing sugar (I don't like it too sweet).You can add vanilla extract or lemon zest, depending on the flavour you want. I find that it sometimes goes runny if I add the icing sugar last, so I beat the butter and icing sugar together first, then add the cream cheese and the flavouring, and beat until combined

    I will be posting more on cream cheese icing soon!

    Hope that helps.


  3. ...and the filling in that particular carrot cake was also the white chocolate ganache...