Lorraine Pascale, star of BBC show Baking Made Easy, calls this recipe a, 'A no-holds-barred cake with three moist spiced layers of pure excess.'
525ml (18½ fl oz) vegetable oil
9 eggs, lightly beaten
525g (1lb 3oz) soft dark brown sugar
420g (15oz) carrots, peeled and grated
Grated zest of 3 large oranges
525g (1lb 3oz) self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tbsp mixed spice
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 2 drops vanilla extract
For the cream cheese frosting:
200g (7oz) icing sugar
40g (1½ oz) butter, cubed
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Seeds of ½ vanilla pod or 1 drop vanilla extract
115g (4¼ oz) low-fat cream cheese, chilled
Handful of pecans or walnuts, toasted to decorate
You will also need:
Three x 23cm (9in) round tins
Top tip: Lorraine says: 'If you don’t fancy making this sky-high cake, which takes a whopping nine eggs, then knock off a third of the ingredients and make a more humble two-layer cake instead.'
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (325ºF, gas mark 4). Prepare the tins by oiling the insides and lining the bases with baking paper.
Put the oil, eggs, sugar, carrots and orange zest in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. If you’re making all three tiers, you may have to do this in batches. Mix the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice together, then sift into the bowl. Add the vanilla and lightly mix everything together until the mixture is uniform but still soft and runny.
Ladle into the prepared tins and bake in the oven for 40–45 minutes. Ovens vary so have a peek after 30 mins to see how the cakes are getting on. The cakes are ready when the sponge springs back up if pushed lightly. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
Leave to cool for 5 mins or so, then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the paper.
For the cream cheese frosting, mix the icing sugar, butter, lemon zest and vanilla together in a bowl, then whisk well to combine. Stir in the cream cheese. If the mixture looks too runny, put it in the fridge for 10–12 mins to harden up. When the cakes are cool, take two of them and use a large, sharp knife to slice off the domed tops, leaving them completely flat. Don’t slice the top off the third cake.
Put a dollop of frosting in the middle of a serving plate or stand to stop the cake from sliding. Take one of the flattened cakes and place it on top. Then pop a big spoonful of frosting onto it and spread all over, leaving a 2.5cm (1in) gap around the edge so that the frosting does not squelch over too much when you add the next layer. Put the next flattened cake on top and repeat with more frosting. Put the unsliced tier on the top, cover generously with frosting and decorate with toasted nuts, if desired.
Taken from Baking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins, £18.99)