Over the years I have made endless carrot cakes, starting with my childhood favourite from the Cranks cookbook -and the first version I ever tasted in their Covent Garden restaurant- and they have been fine but not perfect. Roll forward a few years and I think this is the perfect carrot cake-for me anyway. I am not of the opinion that carrot cakes should be dainty and delicate-give me something to bite into, please. Hence the addition of sultanas and coconut to give the crumb some texture. Yet, nor should you feel the need to run a marathon to work off the effects of a slice or two. I hope this cake sits in the middle of the two extremes.
- Knob of butter for greasing
- 75g plain flour
- 75g wholemeal flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 3 large eggs
- 150g light brown sugar
- 110ml sunflower oil
- 275g carrots, peeled and grated
- 50g sultanas
- 60g desiccated coconut
- For the icing
- 125g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 175g icing sugar, sifted
- 430g full fat soft cheese, e.g. Philadelphia at room temperature
- 3 heaped tablespoons lemon curd
- Heat the oven to fan 160°c, mark 4. Grease and base-line two 19cm, 7inch cake tins. Mix the flours together with the baking powder and spices. Set aside.
- Put the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until frothy and thick-about 3-4 minutes. Continue to whisk while drizzling in the oil. Carefully fold in the carrots, sultanas and desiccated coconut followed by the flour and spice mix. Spoon into the prepared tins and spread to the edges.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the centre of the cakes feel firm to the touch and the sides have shrunk away from the edges. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 20 minutes then turn out onto wire racks and leave to cool completely.
- For the icing, beat the softened butter with the icing sugar and add cream cheese, beating until smooth and thoroughly mixed together. Stir in the lemon curd. Spread a third of the icing over one of the cakes and place the second cake on top. You can either cover the top of the cake with all the remaining icing or lightly cover the sides as well as the top.