The other day (well, maybe a few weeks ago) I posted pictures of this carrot cake on Instagram and promised that the recipe would follow soon - well, that was a little ambitious on my part but today, only three months later, here it is, the recipe for what I claimed 'is the only carrot cake recipe you'll ever need'. The added pistachio nuts make all the difference to this pretty little carrot cake recipe. As does the presentation - like pretty flowers (the edible kind, please) and pretty cake plates (I suspect we all have a few of them in our cupboards).
And, yes, I have posted many Carrot Cake recipes before, like the (also very pretty) Gâteau aux Carottes inspired by a recipe from Pierre Hermé, the famous French pastry chef and chocolatier (HERE). Or the European-style Springtime Carrot Cake (HERE). Or Nigel Slater's Carrot Cake (HERE). So, basically, I am a carrot cake lover and believe that there is no such thing as having too many carrot cake recipes. Not only do I find them irrestible but also very versatile - one or two layers, with or without frosting, fancy, torn into small pieces, elegant or rustic - love them all.
Pretty little Carrot Cake
For the Cake
- 250ml (8fl oz) sunflower oil (or use other neutral tasting vegetable oil suitable for baking)
- 250g caster (superfine) sugar
- 8g pure vanilla sugar (or use homemade vanilla sugar)
- zest ½ orange, organic or untreated
- a pinch of fine sea salt
- 3 eggs (L), free-range
- 250g (8oz) self-raising flour, sifted
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 250g (8oz) carrots, organic, grated (you will need about 3 large carrots)
- 100g (3½oz) unsalted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
For the Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)
- 300 (10oz) cream cheese
- 75g (2½oz) icing sugar, sifted
- Zest ½ orange
- 1-2tbsp orange juice
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C° (356°F).
- Grease a shallow 20x30cm (8x12in) baking pan and line the base and sides with baking paper, extending the paper 5cm (2in) above the pan.
- Place the oil, sugar, vanilla sugar, orange zest and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer bowl and mix on a medium speed until well beaten. Reduce the speed of the mixer and gradually add the eggs, one by one, mixing after each addition.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon and ginger.
- Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and gently fold in until smooth.
- Fold in the grated carrots and half the chopped pistachio nuts.
- Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth the surface.
- Bake for 35 to 40 mins, or until golden and firm to the touch.
- Cool in the pan for about 10 mins, then, with the help of the overhanging baking paper, turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, use a handheld electric beater to mix together all the ingredients until smooth and light.
- Either: spread over the top of the cake and sprinkle with the remaining nuts OR cut the cake into small (12) squares, dollop a bit of frostimg over each piece and decorate with pretty edible flowers and then sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.
Serve this pretty little carrot cake at your next afternoon tea party. Be it May or June or whatever month. It's always delicious.