Monday, February 7, 2011

Carrot Cake

Recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion

I have baked a carrot cake before but this one is definitely more delicious. There is a nice balance of different spices and the right amount of walnuts and carrots within the mix. The cake has a very light texture and the incorporation of the egg whites provides a crisp meringue like top on the cake. 

My mum liked this cake so much she asked me to bake another one, she told me that it was the best cake that I have ever made.

To make an awesome carrot cake...all you need is a good recipe. See below.

70g walnuts
150g self-raising flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teapsoon ground cloves
1/8 ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
55ml eggs whites (around 2)
60g caster sugar for egg whites
1 egg
1 egg yolk
160g caster sugar for egg yolks
170ml extra light olive oil
125g carrots, peeled and grated

Cream cheese frosting
20g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
20g butter, softened
145g cream cheese (preferably Neufchatel) I used Philadelphia.
40ml pouring (whipping) cream (35% fat)

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease an 18cm round cake tin and line the base and side with baking paper.

Place the walnuts on a baking tray and roast for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Cool and cut into thirds. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt into a bowl. Repeat to ensure that they are evenly mixed.

In a bowl (or electric mixer), beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks start to form. Slowly pour in the sugar for the egg whites, being careful not to overmix – the meringue should reach soft peak stage. 

In a bowl (or electric mixer), beat the egg and egg yolk with the sugar for the egg yolks. Mix on high for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture doubles in volume and is quite airy. Continue beating and slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream being careful that it doesn’t split or deflate too much.

Gently fold in the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture until just combined. Fold it the carrots and walnuts. Quickly and lightly fold in the meringue – do not fold it through completely, you should still be able to see streaks of meringue through the mix. 

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. You may need to drop the oven temperature to 180C after the first 30 minutes if the top is browning too quickly. (I baked my cake for approximately 55 minutes).

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting. Cream the icing sugar and butter until pale and smooth. Add the cream cheese in small amounts, allowing it to be completely incorporated before adding the rest. Scrape down the side of the bowl during this process to ensure even mixing. Add the cream and mix until smooth, being careful not to overmix at this stage or the cream may curdle and separate. In the book, it says that if a different type of cream cheese is used, you may need to add a little more cream  - the frosting needs to be of a spreadable consistency but not all runny. I used Philadelphia cream cheese and it worked fine.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, slice horizontally through the centre of the cake to form two even-sized layers and fill with cream cheese frosting. Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar to serve.

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