It's hard to resist a good passion cake with its light open texture - and the extra cocoa adds flavour. Use good cream cheese, not a low-fat one.
- For the sponge:
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 175g caster sugar
- 200ml sunflower oil
- 250g finely grated carrots (about 5 medium)
- 200g plain flour
- 3tbsp cocoa powder
- 1tbsp baking powder
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 125g walnut pieces or chopped pecans
- For the filling and topping:
- 100g unsalted butter, very soft
- 100g good-quality cream cheese
- ½tsp vanilla essence
- 300g icing sugar, sifted
- 5tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
- 2tbsp walnut pieces or chopped pecans to decorate
- 2 x 20.5cm sandwich tins, greased and base-lined
Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4).
Put the eggs and sugar into the bowl of a food mixer and beat, with the whisk attachment, until very light and frothy. Gradually beat in the oil. Using a large metal spoon, stir in the carrots.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into the bowl and stir in. Once thoroughly combined mix in the nuts.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared tins, dividing it evenly. Bake in the heated oven for 25 mins or until firm to the touch. Turn out the sponges on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling and topping: put the soft butter, cream cheese, vanilla, icing sugar and cocoa into the bowl of a food mixer and beat, on low speed, until very smooth and creamy. Use about half to sandwich the sponges, then spread the rest on top. Scatter over the nuts.
Top tip for making Chocolate carrot cake
The cake will taste at its best if kept for a day before cutting. Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.