This is not my recipe but it’s a damn fine carrot cake – And I’m no carrot cake fan. I’ll make an exception for this one. I’ve taken the recipe from GoodFood.com.au who ran a rather elaborate taste test to find the best. The winning recipe came from Angelique Lazarus, from Vaucluse, Sydney. ”I am a Melbourne girl now living in Sydney but I actually got this recipe when I was living in South Africa. It is from my middle son’s godfather, a Cape Town restaurateur called Mano Coulentianos. I don’t know where he got it from, perhaps his ex-wife! I submitted the recipe to the Monday Morning Cooking Club, a group of women in Sydney who made a recipe book for charity and it was published in that. It is a foolproof recipe but the cooking times may change as you take the cake out of the oven to pour over the glaze and then put it back in the oven.
375g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp bicarb soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
2 tsp salt
345g castor sugar
375ml vegetable oil
3 medium carrots, grated
220g tin crushed pineapple, drained
200g pecans, chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
110g brown sugar
2 tbsp milk
40g pecans, chopped
250g cream cheese, room temperature, cut into cubes
125g unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
500g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan). Grease a 23cm round cake tin and line with baking paper.
2. Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and oil, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix well then add the carrots, crushed pineapple and pecans. Mix to form a smooth batter and pour into the cake tin.
3. Bake for 30 minutes then quickly prepare the glaze by placing all the ingredients for it in a small saucepan and heating over medium heat, stirring, until all the ingredients are combined.
4. Pull the cake out on the oven rack and carefully pour the glaze over the cake.
5. Bake for the rest of the baking time, roughly 40 minutes or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin on a wire rack. The glaze will have melted onto the tin, so take a butter knife or metal spatula and run it carefully around the inside of the tin. Upend and allow to cool on the wire rack.
6. Prepare the frosting by whipping the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and vanilla essence together in a bowl. Put the cake, bottom side down, on a serving plate and cover the top of the cake with frosting. Allow to set for several hours before serving.
Grease the cake tins and line with baking paper. Carrot cakes are quite sticky.
Finely grate the carrots.
Use only fresh walnuts (supermarket ones are always stale)
Use a freestanding mixer if you have one.
Mix a cake in this order: sift the dry ingredients, add the dried fruit, add the wet ingredients such as egg and oil, then add the carrot.
If using a recipe that stipulates using baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), bake straight away after the batter is mixed.
Do not overmix the batter. Once all the ingredients are properly combined, stop. Otherwise, gluten forms longer strands and makes a tough cake.
Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature when making the icing. The butter should be quite soft.
For a smooth finish on iced cakes, use a metal spatula dipped in hot water.