carrot ginger cake
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Who needs another carrot cake? I do, especially when it’s a carrot, ginger and almond cake studded with preserved stem ginger and topped with a layer of cream cheese frosting, extra ginger and almond flakes.
Is it a sign of my proficient skills and huge baking experience that very rarely these days I stumble upon a cake recipe that makes me run into the kitchen IMMEDIATELY and check my eggs and butter stocks? I look through recipes regularly, obviously, in weekend supplements or cookery newsletters apart from trawling competition. But unlike in the past, when there was always something I pulled out or bookmarked, not so much draws my attention these days.
I’ve baked it all, I say to jaded myself; this looks rubbish; that is an old boring staple. I’d rather go and see if you can bake a cake out of parsnips (you can). There are only so many cakes in the world and I’ve tried my hand at most.
That’s completely not true. There is probably infinite number of cakes in the world provided of course you think of all the individual examples of the species: like raspberry cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, no bake cheesecake for instance, not just ‘cheesecake’. And that was what caught my eye recently: a subspecies of carrot cake: carrot and ginger by Skye McAlpine. Carrot cake and ginger cake – can you marry these two perfections to create an even better thing? Offspring are not always a better product than parents, so I wasn’t too sure.
I know all about the ‘veg belongs on a dinner plate’ objections. Some people don’t like ginger unless in a stir fry. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate sauce for venison and I’ve never tried the Turkish chicken dessert, Tavuk gögsü but one has to be open-minded, right? Ingredients are versatile if you let them. And carrot cakes as well as ginger cakes are totally my favourites: squidgy, wet in a good sense and open to receive frostings, raisins, nuts or chocolate.
Plus, let’s be honest: I just wanted an excuse to make good cream cheese frosting.
carrot ginger cakeServings: 12-14Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- For the cake:
- 200g (1cup) soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 200ml (170g or ¾ cup) groundnut oil
- 135g (1 cup) plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 66g (2/3 cup) ground almonds
- 200g (2 cups) grated carrots
- 66g (2/3 cup) stem ginger, chopped
- For the frosting:
- 100g (7 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
- 100g (1 scant cup) icing sugar
- 200g (1 scant cup) cream cheese
- zest grated from 1 lemon
- flaked almonds, for sprinkling
- extra stem ginger, sliced thinly, for decorating
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. Butter a round 20cm cake tin and line the bottom with parchment.
2. Beat the sugar, oil and eggs with an electric mixer until smooth and glossy.
3. Sift the flour with the soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into a separate bowl and add to the oil mix in three goes, beating continuously. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, add the ground almonds, carrots and stem ginger and fold into the batter with a spatula until well combined.
4. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50-55 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove onto a wire rack and cool in the tin.
5. While the cake is baking, make the frosting. Beat the butter and the icing sugar with and electric mixer or a wooden spoon until fluffy. Add the cream cheese and lemon zest and stir it with a hand whisk until very smooth; the electric mixer might overbeat and curdle the frosting.
6. When the cake is cold, turn it out of the tin. Spoon the frosting over the top and smooth with a palette knife. Sprinkle with almond flakes and decorate with ginger slices. Chill in the fridge before serving.