Carrot cake – finally we’re friends

carrot cake recipe

We’ve come a long, long way my baby

During those lazy years as a student at the university, when most of my time was spent at a café with a cigarette, a latte and a piece of pastry the carrot cake and I had a pretty crappy relationship. We were a bit like a Nicholas Cage / Juliette Lewis-ish couple where we went from fab to act like trashy scum. While we tore each other apart, we could not live without the other. It was of course completely unsustainable.

Years passed, my habits changed and our relationship faded. My arteries were given time to heal. I discovered other carrot cakes that was better, fresher, contained carrot and who didn’t come with three centimeters of frosting. But despite that, she was my first carrot cake and it’s always something special about being the first one.

Fast forward to today and watch an aged version of myself as a student armed with a machete, fighting through the jungle of scrubby carrot cake, looking for the holy grail, the combo that will finally give me spiritual peace.

Many people make the mistake and serve a far too tall cake – if you’re not careful it will be baked unevenly and when the core is ready the outer parts have dried completely. Others forget to properly spice the batter, to add a pinch of salt, and above all, they miss a little lemon.

Then we have the issue with the almonds – adding it is as important to this cake as liquid smoke is in a real BBQ-sauce. The only reason to give up is if you are so allergic to almonds that it is enough to show a picture of a hand-drawn version for you to force the syringe with antihistamines in the heart more desperately than Nicholas Cage’s character from The Rock (such a good scene!)
By the way – other NC parable in one single post, what’s wrong with me?

 The almond adds crunchiness and we love that, so don’t skip it. Got it?

I prefer baking the cake in the evening, cover it with frosting and then let it rest in the fridge until the day after. That way the flavours get time to evolve and really blossom.

 

Carrot cake

Time: One hour

  • 100 g butter
  • 230 g carrots
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 dl raw sugar (although granulated sugar works fine as well)
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 60 g blanched almonds
  • 135 g flour (wheat) (2.25 dl)
  • 1 tsp cardamom (ground it!)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 0,5 tsp grounded ginger
  • 0,5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Butter and breadcrumbs to line the pan
  • 300 g cream cheese
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 175 C.
  2. Melt the butter and let cool completely.
  3. Finely grate the carrots. Use a hand-grater since the forces more moist out of the carrots which is needed in the batter.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar to a fluffy batter. As usual, it’s important to beat until almost all sugar is dissolved and then beat one more minute.
  5. Split the vanilla pod, scrape it and add it to the batter.
  6. Zest the lemon and add that along with the cooled butter to the egg-mixture. Fold with a spatula until all combined.
  7. Sift the flour in a bowl, add coarsely chopped almond, freshly grounded cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix with a fork and add it to the batter. Once again fold until all combined.
  8. Finally add the grated carrots and fold a final time.
  9. Use a round cake tin, 24 cm wide, preferably with removable bottom. And now you could line it with parchment paper, but why not try the Swedish way? Butter it up and sprinkle it with breadcrumbs. Make sure the whole tin is covered with a thin layer of butter and a thin layer of crumbs that sticks to the butter. Turn it upside down to remove excessive crumbs.
  10. Add the batter to the tin and bake for thirty minutes depending on oven. Stick a toothpick in the middle of the cake and if it comes up clean and dry the cake is ready.
  11. Let cool completely before you frost it.
  12. Cream the…ehrm…cream cheese in a bowl. Sift the icing sugar in the bowl. Add lemon zest. Beat until smooth.
  13. Frost cake using a palette.
  14. Before being frosted it’s best stored in an airtight container in room temperature. After it’s frosted it should be kept in the fridge.
  15. Garnish with lime zest, fresh flowers and maybe small stripes of pickled carrot.
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