For last year’s Christmas, Nithya and I wanted to try out something different, something other than the good old plum cake. We wanted something more rich and warm for the winter and we also wanted it to taste very Christmas-y. We finally decided on the very famous Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting 😀 I was very skeptical at how this would turn out, but it was well worth all the effort 🙂
Today’s recipe is one that is very close to my heart (this has to be the best I’ve made so far) 🙂 I have had such a hard time making my carrot cake. Something would go wrong every single time- either the cake wouldn’t rise and would end up pretty dense, or it wouldn’t have enough flavour, or it would just become crumbly, etc. This time, it was close to perfection. It was spongy, moist, flavourful and most of all, the cream cheese frosting that accompanied it was mm, yumm! It was light and fluffy, zesty, slightly salty and had just the right amount of sweetness and tartness to it. Now, on to the recipe.
For the cake:
- All purpose flour/Maida- 1 cup (you could also use whole wheat flour of same qty)
- Salt- 1 tsp
- Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
- Baking powder- 1/2 tsp
- Sugar- 1/2 cup (I used brown sugar in this recipe)
- Vegetable oil- 1/3 cup
- Vanilla extract- 1 tsp (Use lesser if you are using Vanilla essence)
- Milk- 1/4 cup
- Carrots- 1 or 2 big, grated
- Mixed nuts- Almonds, pistachios and cashew nuts, or just walnuts- roughly chopped, a few
- Powdered Nutmeg- 1/8 tsp
- Powdered Cinnamon- 1/8 tsp
For the frosting:
- Cream cheese, softened– 100g
- Butter, unsalted, softened– 100g
- Salt- about 1/2 tsp
- Orange zest, grated– 1 tsp
- Juice of half a lime (optional)
- Icing sugar- 1 cup
- Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and the mixed nuts in a bowl.
- Meanwhile, in another bowl combine sugar, oil, vanilla extract, milk and mix well to dissolve all the sugar.
- Add in your grated carrots at this stage.
- Fold in the wet mixture to your carrot mixture, and mix until well combined.
- This will be your cake batter, and the consistency will somewhat resemble an idli batter.
- Line your baking pan with some parchment paper. Alternatively, you could also grease your pan with oil. Pour in the cake batter and set aside.
- Place your pressure cooker with its lid on, over a high flame for five minutes.
- Now, add a good amount of salt to cover the inner base of the cooker and place a cake stand over it. If you do not have a cake stand, place a small vessel upside down such that, it can support your cake pan steadily.
- Bake on high for 5-7 minutes. Later, simmer and continue baking for 35-40 min, or until a fork inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake down completely before removing it from the pan.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Whip the softened cream cheese and butter on high, using a hand mixer for about two minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add in some salt, orange zest, lime juice and vanilla and beat together until combined.
- Next, add your icing sugar in batches and beat your frosting until stiff peaks are appear.
- If your frosting is too thick, add a teaspoon of milk and beat again to bring it to a more spreadable consistency.
- Check for sweetness and add more icing sugar, if required. Place this in your fridge for a couple of hours for it to firm up a little.
The climax: Frosting your cake
- Let your frosting thaw for about 10 minutes before you start frosting, so it becomes more spreadable. Then, apply a generous amount of frosting over the cake (I used a cake spatula for this).
- Set your finished cake in the fridge for 10 minutes before serving.
- Make sure your cream cheese and butter are softened at room temperature, otherwise it’s going to be very difficult to work with.
- Using a hand mixer is optional. Cream cheese unlike heavy cream is a lot easier to whip by hand.
- When using a hand mixer, you can easily over beat your frosting so start on a low speed and gradually increase as you go.
- Go easy on the milk for your frosting. Add milk one teaspoon at a time, or even lesser otherwise you will end up with runny frosting.
- You can add a teaspoon of lemon juice and skip the orange zest for a more tart flavor.