Wednesday December 6th 2017.
I love a good carrot cake. This version from The Great British Bake Off Christmas book has a special twist to it in that it’s decorated with a reindeer red nose and antlers on the top of it. Although my children are too old for the leaving goodies out for Santa tradition, I can imagine that Santa and Rudolph will love a slice of carrot cake as a change from all those mince pies and raw carrots! It does take me back to when we used to leave Santa a glass of whiskey, a mince pie and a carrot for the Rudolph. As the recipe introduction says: “Father Christmas and Rudolph will be over the moon when they receive a little slice of this moist carrot cake before heading back to the North Pole. It is best eaten on the day it is baked as the icing needs to be kept in the fridge which can make the sponge a little bit heavy”
As it’s still over 2 weeks until Christmas, there’s no way that this cake will be left out for Santa to eat at our house. Instead it was to be baked and taken as a treat along to one of my regular schools I teach in as a supply teacher. As I have to be extremely careful with allergies, etc. I made sure that the cake did not contain nuts. Instead of pine nuts which this recipe called for, I substituted the same amount of nuts for raisins.
The most tedious part of baking a carrot cake, to me is the carrot grating. Of course I could cut corners and put the carrots through the grating attachment on my food processor. But, by the time I’d got the machine out, I could have grated the carrots by hand. When I’d grated all the carrots I needed I put them to one side in a bowl so that I could get on with weighing out the other ingredients.
In one bowl I whisked together sunflower oil. maple syrup, eggs and some light brown muscovado sugar. Then in another bowl I weighed out and sifted together the dry ingredients: self raising flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. The raisins then got added in, instead of the pine nuts along with the grated carrots.
I then greased and lined two 20cm or 8 inch diameter loose bottomed sandwich tins. The mixture was divided between the two tins and baked in the oven for about 35 minutes. By this time I was feeling really hungry. I’d come home from work, grabbed a sandwich and a cup of tea and now the smell of baking carrot cake wafting around the kitchen was too much for me. I made myself another cup of tea and sat in the lounge away from temptation to nibble at something sweet.
When the cake was out of the oven and cooling down on the rack I made up the cream cheese icing. It was a miracle that Mr SmartCookieSam hadn’t nicked any of the cream cheese to put on his toast at breakfast time. This recipe needed 400g of full fat cream cheese. I always use full fat Philadelphia as it gives great results and is really creamy. To this I added some icing sugar and about 50ml of double cream. This version doesn’t use butter so wasn’t as sickly as some cream cheese frostings I’ve had in the past.
Half an hour later the cake was cooled and ready to be iced and filled. I decided to decorate the cake differently to how it was illustrated in the book. Instead of melted chocolate and red sprinkles to make a reindeer face and antlers, I found some reindeer themed sprinkles in my baking stash. They contrasted well with the carrot cake.
On Thursday morning I was in such a rush to get off to work that I left the cake at home in a box in the fridge. I’d kept it in the fridge what with the frosting containing cream cheese and double cream. Of course out of sight, out of mind! So what did I do when I got in from work? Yes, you guessed right, I had a piece!
Definitely a cake to start new traditions with children on Christmas Eve. Or even a great cake to eat with a cup of tea or coffee instead of a mince pie to relax with at any time over the festive period.
Love Sam xx