One of my good friends Hugh recently turned 30 and to mark the occasion I baked him a giant carrot cake, topped and filled with salted caramel.
The cake is an adaption of a BBC carrot and cinnamon cake which I’ve been making as a loaf cake for quite a while and what makes it deliciously moist and fruity is 100g of sultanas which have been soaked in apple juice.
As it was a special birthday I made some salted caramel and filled the middle of the cake with it, as well as drizzling it over the finished cake. I also sprayed some blueberries and rosemary with edible gold glitter to give it a really special finish.
The recipe here is for a large (9inch) cake, which I baked and then cut in half.
350g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
125g caster sugar
125g light brown sugar
350g grated carrots
300ml vegetable oil
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps ground spice
100g chopped walnut halves
50ml apple juice
500g full fat cream cheese
1,000g icing sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
How to make…
Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Line one deep 9inch baking tin with baking paper.
Blend together the oil and sugars until everything is mixed in. Add the eggs one at a time and then the buttermilk.
Sieve all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (or into the bowl with the wet stuff in) and then mix again until everything is combined. This takes around a minute with an electric mixer and twice without.
Fold in the carrots (don’t blend or you’ll liquidise them), the walnuts and sultanas (pre soaked in apple juice or if you forget, blasted in the microwave for 2 mins) and then pour into the tin.
Bash the tin a few times on your kitchen counter to get rid of the air bubbles and then pop into the oven.
Cook for 45 minutes until a sharp knife inserted into the middle comes away clean (depending on your oven it may take up to an hour). Then remove from the oven and wait until the cakes are completely cold before starting the icing.
Now, when it comes to the icing it’s really up to you. You can either just stick with the buttercream and cream cheese version which looks like a traditional carrot cake or you can add salted caramel as I did here. If you want to do salted caramel you’ll need to make this separately and you can find the recipe here.
Either way you need to make the icing in the same way. Blend the butter and sugar first until light and fluffy – five minutes on an electric mixer and 7-8 by hand (depending on your upper arm strength). Add in the cream cheese and cinnamon and mix again until everything is smooth and nicely combined.
When the cake is completely cold cut it in half and put on a flat surface.
Next plop a small amount of icing on top of the first half of the cake, followed by a couple of tablespoons of the salted caramel, and then lay the second half on top and cover the top with the rest of the icing.
A heated spatula (run it under the hot water tap) will help you to make it look smooth and beautiful and is useful if you want to create a design (like I’ve done) with the topping. Drizzle on the caramel and keep in a cool place until you slice.