Sunday 15 May 2016

Carrot Cake

Saturday was supposed to be the first race in the ORRL, which is the main series of road races for lower-level riders in this area. I was really looking forward to it, and it would have been my first big race representing the club. A key part of any race is the post-event "nutrition", so I made a carrot cake, which I think may be the single most popular cake for cyclists (based on what seems to vanish first at cafes)

After all this work, the race was cancelled very last minute (frustratingly down to what sounds like an admin error), something that left a lot of racers, volunteers and organisers a bit annoyed...we did a hard ride as a team, but not really the same, and felt like I've missed out on a good race...but at least I had a cake to console myself with!

I did this as a tray-bake, but you could easily use the same ratios to make a more traditional layered cake, and put the cream cheese filling in between. It rises very evenly, so would be well suited to a layered cake.

Carrot Cake - Recipe

  • Pre-heat oven to 170'C
  • Grease and line a 20cmx30cm tray-bake tin

Cake Ingredients

  • 175g dark soft brown sugar
  • 120ml sunflower oil
  • 200g wholemeal, self-raising flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3-4tsp mixed spice
  • 6 cardamon pods, crushed, with shells removed
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 175g sultanas
  • 200g grated carrot
1) Put the sugar, oil and eggs in a bowl, and whisk with an electric whisk for 2-3 minutes, until light and creamy

2) Sieve the flour, bicarb, mixed spice together, and then combine with the egg and oil mixture (this is one of those cases where you want to just combine everything, but don't over-mix it, or the air will go out and you'll have a heavy, dense cake)

3) Fold in the carrots, sultanas, zest and crushed cardamon

4) Pour the mixture into the prepared tray bake tin

5) Bake in the oven for 35 minutes

6) While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup and toppings

Syrup Ingredients

  • Juice of ½ an orange
  • 15g lemon juice
  • 40g soft dark brown sugar
1) In a small jar, thoroughly miss the juices and sugar, until all the sugar has dissolved

2) Once the cake has baked, remove from the oven to a wire rack, leaving it in the tin

3) Quickly, skewer the top, then pour the syrup evenly over the cake, allowing it to sink in.

4) Leave the cake in the tin until it is completely cool (this allows the syrup to absorb into the cake)

Cream Cheese Topping Ingredients

  • 250g mascarpone (or Quark, if you want a slightly healthier option)
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
1) Place all the ingredients in a bowl

2) Whisk with an electric whisk until smooth and creamy and firm

3) Cover with clingfilm, and chill in the fridge until needed

Praline Topping Ingredients

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g walnut pieces
  • ~40-50ml water

1) prepare a sheet of baking parchment to placing on a work surface, and lightly greasing (this is to turn the praline out onto to set)

2) Place the water and sugar in a very clean, small saucepan

3) gently heat until all the sugar has dissolved

4) Bring to the boil, and continue to boil until it begins to go brown.

5) Once the sugar is nut-brown, remove the the heat and quickly stir in the walnut pieces

6) Scrape out onto the prepared baking parchment to set

7) Once cool, place in a plastic bag and smash it up with a rolling pin


1) remove the completely cool cake from the tin, and place on a serving tray

2) Spread the cream cheese topping evenly over the top of the cake

3) Sprinkle the praline over the cream cheese