Idiot-proof, Bake Off-worthy carrot cake
I am a terrible baker. Truly awful. So with Bake Off starting tonight, I thought I’d share my one successful bake. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe (with a few minor tweaks) for carrot cake with a lime mascarpone icing. I cooked this earlier this year in a gas oven older than me, and although I had to constantly rotate the cake to stop it burning and massively extend the cooking time, it was a monumental success. The icing is delicious too – fresh, light and makes a lovely change from the more traditional butter icing.
PS. Please ignore the general mess in the photo on the left. I am very proud of this cake, but this is the only photo I have.
Ingredients for the Cake
250g softened unsalted butter
250g light brown soft sugar
5 large free range eggs
Zest and juice of 1 orange
170g self-raising flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
100g ground almonds
100g chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
250g peeled and grated carrots
1 pinch salt
Ingredients for the Icing
100g mascarpone cheese
200g cream cheese (don’t be tempted to buy low fat)
85g icing sugar
Zest and juice of two limes
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Or, if your oven is anything like mine, just whack it on medium-ish and hope.
- Grease and line an 8” round cake tin. Jamie recommends a 22cm square tin, but I found the round one worked just as well. Which is a relief as it’s the only one I have.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until it goes pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg yolks one by one. I did this by hand, but a mixer is fine too.
- Add the orange zest and juice and mix.
- Stir in the sifted flour and baking powder, and add in the ground almonds, walnuts, spices and grated carrot and stir well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Takes ages.
- Gently fold them into the cake mix. Make sure there’s no lumps of egg white left in the mix.
- Dollop the mixture into the cake tin and cook for 50 minutes until golden and risen. Mine took way longer than this – about 1hr 10mins – so use your judgement. The cake is done when you poke a cocktail stick into it and it comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool for a few minutes, before turning it out onto a rack (a grill tray or tennis racket will also do the job… I’m not joking) and leaving to cool.
- DO NOT EAT YET.
- Once the cake has cooled, mix together all of the ingredients for the icing. I found the juice of 1.5 limes to be about right for me, instead of the full two.
- Spread the icing generously over the cake, and finish off with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts.
One thing I would say, if you don’t planning on scoffing the lot in one sitting, it might be worth not covering the whole thing with the icing just yet. The icing went a bit gloopy when left out, which meant I had to put the whole cake in the fridge. It’s quite a deep cake, so you could slice it in half and ice one layer for immediate munching, and save the other.