I recently read The Secret Supper Club by Dana Bate and really enjoyed the main character’s passion for food and cooking. In the story, Hannah Sugarman loves baking and dreams of starting a catering company. The book even has some recipes at the end, one of which I even attempted. But the novel inspired me to go a little further than the recipes it provided. In the story, Hannah’s signature dish is her carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Before reading the book I had never eaten or made a carrot cake. Ever. So after a little kitchen experimentation I produced my own carrot cake recipe.
For the sponge:
· 350g plain flour
· 300g caster sugar
· 4 large eggs
· 100g finely grated carrot
· 375g butter, softened
· 80ml buttermilk
· 2tsp vanilla essence
· 1tsp baking powder
· 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
· ½tsp ground nutmeg
For the frosting:
· 250g cream cheese, softened
· 375g icing sugar
· 90g softened butter
· Ready to roll, coloured fondant icing and/or icing pens to decorate (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F/Gas Mark 4. Grease two cake tins.
2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until creamy.
3. Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, mixing a little after each addition.
4. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients. Then stir in the grated carrots. Divide the mixture equally between the two prepared tins.
5. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until both sponges are golden and cooked through. Then allow them to cool.
6. Beat together frosting ingredients until smooth and creamy. Place one of the cool sponges onto a plate. Spread with about a third of the frosting. Place the second sponge on top and spread the remaining frosting on top of the cake.
I used ready-made orange icing to make little carrots and a green icing pen for the stalks but this is optional.
Also, my cake was not overly carroty, so if you would prefer your cake with a little more veg, then up the grated carrot quantity to about 200g.
My cake turned out quite delicious (if I do say so myself!). If anyone tries this recipe I would love to know how you got on.