So I guess everyone has a recipe they think is the best. I LOVE my carrot cake. This is hands down my favourite recipe (and I've eaten some pretty good carrot cakes in my time) but the reason I love this one is that it's lovely and moist and very light. This recipe works great as muffins or as a big carrot cake but today they are Mini Carrot Cakes. Perfect for the weekend, perfect for sharing with friends.
I always start by grating the carrot. I used to grate the carrot by hand, but these days I cheat and use a handheld blender - it's much quicker! You need around 4 very large carrots to get the amount you need. Then after setting these aside, start by making the batter - place the oil, brown sugar and eggs in a freestanding mixer and beat for around 3 - 5 minutes until thick and creamy. Add the carrots and zest and mix gently to combine. You don't want to overbeat this and the next stage as it will toughen your cakes. Finally sift the flour, bicarb and cinnamon into the mix and then gently combine.
Today I wanted to make mini carrot sandwich cakes but if you prefer, or don't have this tin, they can easily be made in cupcake or muffin wrappers instead. Using the mini sandwich tin, scoop around an ice cream scoop of batter into each cavity until almost full and then bake for around 18 - 20 minutes. The cakes should cool for around 10 minutes in the tin and then be gently removed and placed on a cooling rack. You will get a muffin top dome on each cake that needs to be sliced off to make flat-topped cakes. These muffin tops are excellent perks for any little helpers you might have in the kitchen - or chef's perks if you can keep it quiet!
Whilst the cakes are cooling you, can have fun making your little carrots for the top of each cake. I used around 10g sugarpaste for each carrot and coloured it with orange food dye. Each one should be shaped like a carrot and small scores made along each one to look like the indentations found on a carrot. Then a herb placed in the top of each one. I used coriander but it does tend to wilt rather quickly so place them in just before serving.
The final job is to make the cream cheese frosting. Super simple to make, first beat the butter for a couple of minutes in a freestanding mixer. Then add the cream cheese, vanilla extract and half of the sifted icing sugar and beat for around 3 - 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. The final icing sugar needs to go in now and again mixed for another 3 minutes until lovely and smooth. Place this in a piping bag.
To assemble them, pipe a little buttercream onto half of the cakes. I piped mine in little blobs and then gently placed the other half on top. Pipe the final buttercream on top in a dome shape (try to get this around 2/3 the height of your carrots so you can hide your carrots in the middle). Sprinkle some or the crushed Oreo cookies on top as the soil and then pop a carrot into each one.
I think these look so cute and fun and are perfect for kids and adults alike. The cake itself is light and airy and then paired with rich cream cheese, they are a dream.
Easter came with a multitude of chocolate and although it may be over, our holidays continue and this is a great to get a break from all the chocolate!
And a cake containing carrots must be healthy - or at least that's what the kids are telling me ;-)
Mini Carrot Cakes
makes 9 mini cakes
- 350G GRATED CARROT (around 4 large carrots)
- 170ML VEGETABLE OIL
- 210G LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
- 3 EGGS
- 1 ORANGE, ZEST ONLY
- 1 LEMON, ZEST ONLY
- 275G SELF-RAISING FLOUR
- 1 TSP BICARBONATE OF SODA
- 1.5 TSP CINNAMON
- 65G UNSALTED BUTTER, SOFTENED
- 200G CREAM CHEESE, FULL FAT
- 1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 500G ICING SUGAR, SIFTED
- 90G WHITE FONDANT
- ORANGE FOOD COLOURING
- HERBS FOR CARROT STALKS (I used coriander)
- 4 OREO COOKIES, CRUSHED
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan)
- Grate the carrot and set aside
- Place the vegetable oil, brown sugar and eggs in the bowl of a freestanding mixer
- Mix them for 5 minutes on medium speed until you have a thick, creamy texture
- Add the carrots, zest of lemon and zest of orange and stir through until just combined
- Sift the flour, bicarb and cinnamon on the top of the batter and stir gently until just combined
- Pour batter into a mini sandwich tin and fill each cavity until almost to the top - you should have 18 cavities filled
- Bake for 18 - 20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then gently remove each cake and set it on a cooling rack to cool
- Your mini cakes will have a dome so you want to carefully slice off each one and put aside so you have flat-topped cakes
- To make the mini carrots, colour the fondant using the orange food colouring
- Divide into 9 pieces, around 10g per piece and shape each one into a cylinder shape like a carrot
- Make indentations down each one like a real carrot and make a small hole in the top of each carrot
- Top with a little piece of herb and set aside
- To make the Cream Cheese Frosting, beat the butter in a freestanding mixer for 2 minutes
- Then add the cream cheese, half of the icing sugar and the vanilla extract
- Beat for around 3 - 5 minutes until a smooth and creamy consistency
- Add the remaining icing sugar and beat again for 3 minutes until smooth
- When the carrot cakes have cooled for around 30 minutes you can then frost them
- Pipe buttercream onto 9 of the mini cakes
- Then take the remaining 9 mini cakes and place one gently on top of the buttercream so you have 9 mini sandwich cakes
- Pipe the remaining buttercream on the top of each cake
- Sprinkle some of crushed Oreo Cookies on top of each cake and then place a carrot in the centre
- After all this hard work, make yourself a cup of tea and then enjoy a well-deserved carrot cake for your efforts :)