Carrot cake with orange blossom icing

 
All images © Heather Wilkinson 2012
Grrr, I’ve had so much trouble getting this post up. Sometimes Blogger totally misbehaves when I’m trying to add text and it drives me crazy! Anyway, enough of my moaning and back to the serious business of cake. 
 
This is a pretty reliable carrot cake recipe that produces a handsome round cake. It can also be scaled down to make a generous batch of muffins or mini loaf cakes.
 
The great thing about this cake is it’s packed full of sweet seasonal carrots and juicy sultanas, which make it surprising moist. I use the smallest amount of orange blossom essence in the icing, but you could use a little grated orange zest instead.
 
I hope you like the piccies I’ve done to go with this recipe – I’ve been watching way too much Downton Abbey 😉
 
You will need:
 
For the cake
300g soft light brown sugar
3 free range eggs
300ml sunflower oil or vegetable oil
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
300g carrots, grated
1 small handful of dried sultanas
100g shelled walnuts, chopped, (plus extra to decorate)

For the icing:
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold
½ tsp orange blossom essence

 
1.) Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3. Line and grease a round 8 inch loose-bottomed cake tin.
 
2.) Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a mixer. Using a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk), beat until all the ingredients are well mixed. Next, sieve in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until all the ingredients are combined.
 
3.) Add the grated carrots and walnuts, stir together and then pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for around 1hr 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. When the tin is cool enough to touch, remove the cake and place it on a wire rack to cool completely.
 
Once the cake has cooled you can make your icing. This process is best done in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment, but you can use a handheld electric mixer too. Just lightly hold a tea towel over the bowl when mixing to prevent covering yourself with icing sugar.
 
4.) Sieve the icing sugar and add into a mixing bowl along with the butter. Beat together until the mixture is well combined.
 
5.) Add the cream cheese and ½ tsp of orange blossom essence (this must be exact or your icing will be too runny) and beat on a medium/high speed for about 4/5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
 
6.) Ice your cake using a palette knife and decorate with a mixture of whole and crushed walnuts.