Sunday, February 5, 2012

Carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting

I like good carrot cakes!

But it's not very often you get really good ones outside. I once discovered a shop that made carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting that really hit the right spot with EVERYONE in the family, including baby pig. I think they used butter in their cake.

It's unfortunate that we do not patronise this shop any more. It's really sad when the owners can't decide on the price, short-changing the ingredients, or whether to make a cake or a flat (?) cupcake/muffin. The price keeps increasing every time I visit, but the ingredients and cake got smaller??!!! And all this happened within 3 weeks! I gave up..

Anyways, why is it that most carrot cake recipes uses sunflower or some neutral oil? Maybe to keep up with the healthy theme.. carrots.. get it?

After comparing the many recipes online, it looks like making carrot cake using sunflower oil is just like making hummingbird cake.. just mix everything together. Sounds easy.. I like it already. But I love my BUTTER. And I have a really nice recipe using butter.. but I think I'll save it for another day. Today, I'm going to make my first carrot cake using sunflower oil... ok, so I added some butter (^^||)

Carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting (adapted from many recipes found online ie. delicious asian, fatboy bakes)

250g self raising flour
200g soft brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder (I would use less or omit this next time)
a pinch of salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup / 250ml sunflower oil (I used 125ml sunflower oil and 125ml melted butter ^^ )
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium carrots, grated
60g raisins
60g dried cranberries
a handful of walnuts, chopped (optional)

Lemon cream cheese frosting

250g cream cheese
50g butter
200g icing sugar, SIFTED and mix in 2 batches (I did, and it worked out really well)
1 lemon, grated rind and a bit of juice

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2. In a bowl, mix grated carrots, mixed fruit and chopped walnuts together.

3. Combine flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon powder. Add vanilla extract, eggs and oil to the dry ingredients.

4. Then stir in the carrots, fruit and nuts mixture. DO NOT BEAT mixture.

5. Pour into cupcake pans, or 2 - 8 inch pans and bake for 30 minutes. I made 12 cupcakes and the rest of the batter, I poured into 2 - 6 inch pans and made a cake (^^)

Leave to cool before frosting. 

For the cream cheese frosting, just beat the cream cheese and butter together till light and fluffy. Add icing sugar and beat till smooth. And finally add lemon rind and a dash of lemon juice.

Look at my perfectly domed cupcake! I'm so pleased with the result! Cupcakes and me have a thing going on for the longest time. My cakes may turn out perfect on a tin, but it hardly turns out right when I make them into cupcakes! It's either lopsided, or the cupcake paper cup doesn't work or fit the pan, especially the nicest looking ones (?!).

Haha! Look again! Perfect! I've finally found the right paper cup, size and all.. and it worked! Yay! And I must say a big thank you to all those out there who shared the tip of using an ice-cream scoop for pouring the batter into the cupcake paper. It works! No mess and makes work so much easier! Oh, the joy of getting an ice-cream scoop (^^)!

The cake texture is really nice and moist. But I can't really taste the carrot flavor just yet. The spices seems to have 'over-powered' the rest. Maybe it'll turn out different, and taste even better tomorrow (^^). They almost always do.

I like the cranberries and raisins in the cake, but I'm not too sure if my little piggies, baby and chubby, will like it. But I'm counting on my 'killer-weapon', the lemon cream cheese frosting. Little piggies are really suckers for frosting. And the frosting is just SUBLIME! I really really love this frosting. I'm going to use this recipe FOREVER. And for the first time, I actually piped out the frosting instead of slapping it on. Look how pretty and tidy it turned out. I'm quite proud of myself today (^^)

I've topped the frosting with some chopped walnuts, which I didn't add to the cake batter. I remember mama pig saying that nuts topped frosting takes the cake to another level. I agree.

The lemon cream cheese frosting is AMAZING!!! Who cares about the cake???