Lorraine Pascale's big fat carrot cake
Skill level: Bit of effort
Carrot cake is easy and simple bake to have up your sleeve if you fancy a sweet treat. Lorraine Pascale describes her carrot cake recipe as a 'no-holds-barred cake with three moist spiced layers of pure excess'. We're sold! This easy carrot cake is perfect for a celebration as it looks the part and will also feed a crowd. This simple carrot cake recipe will show you how to make carrot cake in the most easy and basic way. The carrot cake itself is surprisingly easy to make, with plenty of grated carrot and warm spices - plus it's nut free if you simply leave out the nuts as an optional decoration. The sponges in this recipe for carrot cake are layered up with a gorgeous cream cheese frosting that will really set this carrot cake apart as something special. Adding lemon zest to the mixture really peps it up. Decorate with toasted nuts, or top with edible flowers for a pretty finish that will wow. The entire family will absolutely love this delicious and moist carrot cake.
- 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
- 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
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.