Hummingbird Bakery Carrot Cake
My sister is a die-hard fan of carrot cake, so I trusted her judgement implicitly when she told me that this was by far the best carrot cake recipe she has come across – both in terms of taste and ease of making it.
It’s the second time Co and I have made this cake and, yes, it is delicious and straightforward – until you get to the cream cheese icing. The butter and icing sugar are whisked together and then beaten with the cream cheese. The first time we made it, the butter didn’t cream in properly and there were yellow globules in the not-so-creamy paste. This time, we ensured that the butter was super soft before we combined it with the icing sugar. However, the paste still wasn’t as smooth as we hoped. Next time, we’re going to try melting the butter beforehand to see if we get a better result.
However, don’t let that put you off. It still tastes delicious and if you sprinkle cinnamon liberally over the top, no one will spot the imperfections.
Jo and Co tip: Wrap a tea towel around the whisk and bowl when mixing the butter with the icing sugar or you’ll end up with a snowy face and kitchen.
300g soft light brown sugar
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
300g carrots, grated
Zest of half an orange
50g shelled walnuts, chopped, plus extra, to decorate
For the icing (the recipe recommends double the below quantities, but we prefer just to ice the top of the cake or it’s too calorific and sweet for us)
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature (or try melting it)
125g cream cheese, cold
- Preheat the oven to 170°C. Prepare three 20cm cake tins with loose bottoms by greasing and lining the bottoms with greaseproof paper (we just greased ours).
- Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed (don’t worry if it looks slightly split). Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed.
- Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts by hand. Pour into the prepared cake tins and smooth over. Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes (ours took 30 minutes), or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment again until well mixed. Add the cream cheese, then beat again until well mixed. Turn the speed to high and continue to beat until light and fluffy but stop when you reach this point; if you over beat it the mixture will turn runny.
- When the cakes are cold, spread about one-quarter of the cream cheese icing over it with a palette knife. Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the icing over it. Top with the last cake and spread the remaining icing over the top and sides. Decorate with walnuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.
Verdict: a fantastic and very easy-to-bake cake, filled with lovely, moist and yummy flavours.