So, despite being a total veg lover and always sneaking them into baked goods, it took me a while to be excited about carrot cake; then we had a bake sale at work and someone brought in a carrot cake they had made. Good lord it was hands down THE BEST carrot cake I’d ever eaten and up there as one of the most delicious slices of cake I’ve ever had. After enquiring about its brilliance, I was informed it was a Hummingbird Bakery recipe, but upon looking through the two Hummingbird books I own, could only find a carrot and ginger cake recipe. I trawled the internet and found the Hummingbird classic carrot cake recipe and waited for the right occasion to appear, to bake this triple layer monster (whilst adding the carrot and ginger cake to my ‘high priority to-bake’ list).
The occasion presented itself in the form of pi day, pi day this year was a special one because the year made the date 3/14/15 and at 9:56:23 it made it 3.141595623, that’s pi to 9 decimal places!! Geeks like me get very excited about this. I’ve always been a big fan of pi and tend to get overly excited whenever it is mentioned. Much like cake.
I have a confession, I siphoned off some of the cake mix to make 4 mini layered carrot cakes, as gifts for friends. I can’t even begin to imagine how big this cake would have been if I hadn’t, as it was already a monster. Not that a cake being too big is even possible, so we don’t need to worry about that.
Check out all the pi pies and cake that was at the pi day party I went to; yep, you heard right:
And here we are, getting nerdy and excited at 9:56:23 (pm, we are’t THAT dedicated):
Onward to the recipe…
- 300 g of light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 300 ml of sunflower oil
- 300 g of white spelt (or plain) flour
- 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 0.5 tsp of ground ginger
- 0.5 tsp of salt
- 0.25 tsp of vanilla extract
- 300 g of grated carrots
- The zest of half an orange
- 50 g of walnuts, chopped, plus extra to decorate
- 50 g of pecans, chopped, plus extra to decorate
For the icing:
- 600 g of icing sugar
- 100 g of butter, at room temperature
- 250 g of cream cheese (cold)
- Preheat the oven to 170°C.
- Line the bottoms of and then grease 3 x 20 cm loosed bottom cake tins.
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric whisk, mix together the sugar, eggs and oil.
- Next, bit by bit, mix in the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, orange zest and vanilla extract.
- Using a spatula, fold in the grated carrot and chopped nuts.
- Divide the mixture between the three tins, using scales to make sure there is the same amount of mixture in each tin, if you like to be exact. Smooth over the mixture.
- Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through (spongy to the touch), depending on your oven they could take a little longer. A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake(s) should come out clean, when they are cooked.
- Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely, top side down, so that the flat ‘bottom’ is the top.
- Whilst the cake is cooling, make the icing. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the icing and butter, once well combined whisk in the cream cheese and whisk until smooth and fluffy, be careful not to over mix though.
- Once the cakes are completely cooled, place the bottom layer on a plate and cover the top of it with a layer of icing. Place the second layer on top and repeat, followed by the third.
- Ice the top and sides of the cake with a thin ‘crumb’ layer of icing. Wipe your spatula each time, to ensure that you don’t get any crumbs in the bowl. The purpose of this layer is to hold all the crumbs, it will look messy but that’s ok.
- Next ice your crumb layer with a thicker layer of icing.
- Decorate your cake with nuts (and optional cocoa powder stenciled pi). Slice, serve and feel like you’re in heaven.