The Queen’s Carrot Cake

A very happy birthday to Her Majesty this weekend. And many thanks for the extra day off and the excuse to go all out on a cake.

Carrot cakes are so easy to make, they’re rarely considered special occasion cakes, but in my family we’re all rather fond of it.

My favourite carrot cake recipe is a modification of a recipe in King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking book. This recipe creates a cake packed full of goodies that is delicious even without icing. The addition of cream cheese frosting makes it a thoroughly decadent celebration cake.

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped crystallised ginger

 

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Slowly add the vegetable oil while continuing to beat. Add the vanilla, then gradually add the sugar until the mixture is thick and foamy.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until smooth. Stir in the carrot, walnuts, raisins and crystallised ginger.

Spread the batter in two greased and floured 23 cm (9 in) layer pans. Bake at 188°C (350°F) for 35-40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.

 

Frosting:

1 package (250g/8 oz) cream cheese, softened
85 g (6 Tbsp, 3 oz) butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups icing sugar

Beat the cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar. If the icing is too stiff, add milk by the teaspoon until it reaches the right spreading consistency (I generally don’t need to add any milk).