Ginger & White carrot cake

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We’re not going to lie: it took us months to nail this recipe. The perfect carrot cake is busy, but not so packed with nuts, currants and carrot that you can’t taste the delicious sponge holding it all together. And as for the luscious icing – that’s why we always eat from the top down.

Ingredients

  • 300 ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 300 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 450 g golden caster sugar
  • 300 g carrots, grated
  • 100 g sultanas
  • 100 g walnuts, chopped, plus 12 walnut halves for decoration

For the icing

  • 260 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 600 g full-fat soft cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. Grease the sides of 2 × 23 cm springform cake tins and line the bases with discs of nonstick baking paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir together.

Separate 2 of the eggs. Break the 2 whole eggs into the bowl containing the separated egg yolks, add the sugar and oil and beat until combined. Stir in the carrots, then fold in the sultanas and walnuts. Lightly fold in the dry ingredients using a large metal spoon or spatula.

Whisk the egg whites until softly peaking. Fold half of them into the flour mixture, then fold in the remainder, keeping as much air as possible in the mixture.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared tins and bake for 45 minutes in the centre of the oven. When ready, a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes should come out clean. Allow to cool in the tin, then turn out on a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

To make the icing, put the butter into a bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. Sift in the icing sugar and beat again until smooth. Finally, beat in the cream cheese, but don’t overbeat it or it might become grainy.

Using a palette knife, spread icing on one half of the cake. Sit the other half on top, then ice the sides and top. Place the walnut halves in a circle on the icing to mark out the portions.