Carrot & Apple Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    12–20

Appears in

Bake

Bake

By Lorraine Pascale

Published 2017

  • About

I wasn’t sure what incarnation of carrot cake to choose. Should it be a regular cake, layered with cream cheese, or perhaps some little muffins to be devoured at breakfast and lunch? I settled on a twist on traditional cream cheese frosting. You can use many different techniques to put a special ‘stamp’ on your frosting. Smooth frosting works well but this swirling technique is a great skill to master.

Ingredients

  • 350 ml vegetable oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 350 g soft light brown sugar
  • 250 g carrot, grated
  • 60 g Granny Smith apple, grated (about ½ apple)
  • 350 g wholemeal or regular self-raising flour
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges, plus extra to decorate (optional)
  • 1 tsp each baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • seeds of ½ vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 quantity maple syrup cream cheese buttercream

Equipment

  • 2 × 23cm round loose-bottomed cake tins
  • hand-held electric whisk or stand mixer
  • rotating cake stand (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C/400°F/gas 6) and line the cake tins with baking parchment.

Place all the cake ingredients into a bowl and whisk it all together well in a stand mixer or with a hand-held electric whisk. Divide the mixture between the lined tins and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the cakes are springy to the touch, smell cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Once the cakes are cooked, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool in the tins.

When the cakes have completely cooled, make the maple cream cheese buttercream. Using a palette knife, sandwich the cakes together with a good amount of the buttercream, then spread a very thin layer over the top and sides so that the whole cake is completely covered. Place the crumb-coated cake in the fridge to set for 10–15 minutes.

When the crumb-coating has set, spread the remaining buttercream all over the cake, getting it as smooth as you can with a palette knife.

To create the swirl coating, put the cake on a rotating cake stand and hold a palette knife vertically at the base of the cake, applying a little pressure. Turn the cake stand quickly and keep holding the palette knife at this angle. Gradually move the palette knife up the cake as you turn it on the rotating stand, until you reach the top edge of the cake.

To decorate the top of the cake, start at the outside edge. Holding the knife at a 45° angle, rotate the cake as you gradually move the knife into the centre of the cake. Sprinkle over the orange zest to decorate, if using, and serve.