I used what I had left after the first big harvest and still had some leftovers.
You can probably skip the “Grow Your Own Carrots” step if you’d like.
Our kitchen is small and doesn’t make for attractive photo backgrounds.
Yo, Dear Reader, this has been on my bucket list for even longer than I have been growing carrots. I’ll tell you the bald truth, Dear Reader, I can’t look at sweets like these the same way I used to, some of that is the weight-loss journey, but some of it is the trauma I’m still dealing with. A lot of what happened with the weight isn’t really open to me, I don’t have an reference to map my experience so it comes in dribs and drabs if at all, I’m okay with not making much like his these days, but I’d still like to try my hand without the feeling that this isn’t some kind of enjoyable. I’m proud of what I can do in the kitchen, I’m no one’s idea of an amazing cook or baker, but the sheer volume of what I’ve learned and the variety of what I know and can do makes me aware that I have a talent and I should be proud. I’ve honestly never eaten carrot cake, I know, but I will be absolutely critical of this, if it isn’t worthwhile I will go as far as thrashing this post. Which is being typed piecemeal as I get the elements ready, no rushing to eat it as soon as possible for me anymore, Dear Reader. I know my cakes because I’ve had to start from scratch twice and I never start and assume I know everything or anything, you know me, Dear Reader, I might be a Jack of all trades, but I know what I’m doing and why. So, in this post I’ll share the recipe, the whys and hows and hopefully insert a few general tips I’ve picked up about cake making as I won’t be doing this again for a long while.
I like to see batter in the tin before baking, it shows what rise to expect.
Not very much rise, but that’s preferable to keep the cake stable.
So, this is a pretty basic recipe, but then again most cake recipes are usually fairly straightforward. Every cake’s quality is often extremely reliant on the baker more so than the recipe because sometimes we need to be able to elevate a simple recipe beyond what can be mad with he ingredients, this can be done with eternal additions, the frosting, extra flavour via toppings or fillings. Obviously you need to make it well, there’s no question that many bakers can take lazy, often foolishly self-assured, steps that damage the overall quality of the cake, but when you know what you’re doing to a goodish degree and are making a recipe from scratch you can create something greater than the elements that go into it. The synergy between ingredients is key here. What do I mean? Okay, let’s go, Dear Reader. Hotchpotch Cake lesson time.
My tins are getting worm so there was a moment where it seemed stuck. A skewer around the topmost edges freed it.
I left this overnight. Lovely even texture.
This is just pulled partly from a few recipes, all from commercial sites, I’m not going to steal from users, have no fear there, Dear Reader, and from my own experience in cake making. The fact that it makes such a large cake with so little flour is really interesting to me, I wanted to keep as closely as I could to the average carrot cake recipe, but as I couldn’t use sultanas, or orange which seems a pity, I went with a darker sugar and added a fair pinch of spices. Already the denser, dark sugar is working twofold, the moistness of the carrots, that will release as the cake bakes, and the moisture in the sugar help make the cake less dry, I’m using buckwheat flour which can be extremely dry, naturally the oil helps here and replaces the need for water all these ingredients play a part in making the cake moist, changing any one will change the cake and that’s a vital part of understanding cake making, learning requires you to tweak recipes and watch what occurs or what doesn’t. The darker sugar compliments the spices used perfectly too, the spices in the cake and buttercream are matched as well so the two elements blend better together. I couldn’t get suitable cream cheese or use orange so I went a completely different way. It’s important to know what can be done with different ingredients so you can use them effectively like this. Naturally that comes with practice and understood failures. I went with two eggs for stability and texture. I used very little baking soda as I went by the flour’s measure, the eggs help with the rise so it all works. The carrot is coated in the flour to stop it sinking to the bottom as it bakes, same as with fruit cakes. Simple when explained, isn’t it, Dear Reader?
I almost frosted the middle twice.
There it is, simple, but well made.
So, a simple batter is formed, poured into the tin, a very deep tin, about 3×6 inches if I’m thinking right, it goes into the oven for half and hour, gets flipped, depending on your ovens quirks you may not need this step, then it gets covered for the final fifteen to prevent burning and ensue the centre is well cooked. The top softened quickly, but I’ll rest it overnight regardless, cake always tastes its best when rested overnight, I don’t know if it’s the sugar dissolving or softening, it happens with gluten and gluten free baked goods so it must be something other than the flour. Patience is a huge asset when baking, Dear Reader. One thing i wonder about, though I haven’ much experience, or any really, with carrot cake I do think that either fresher or failing that smaller carrots might be the best. The larger the carrot the more of the centre, the core, can toughen and though baked for a long time I still think you’d be best not trying overly large carrots. The ones I used, from tiny to decent, went through the grater with surprising ease, skins and all, what skin there is. I’m glad I finally gave this a chance, as I said it’s been in my mind for a while. I think I’ve covered the batter and baking side, next up is the texture and frosting, then the taste. A longer post than usual, Dear Reader, but while I’m here I might as well be thorough, I won’t be baking cake again for a while after all.
Funnily, it does resemble my vegetable bread and I’ve never thought of it that way.
So cutting the cake, thankfully it cut smooth with no crumbs at all. It has a firm, spongy texture, light and moist and you can taste the carrots, but mostly the sweetness thanks to all the sugar, the spices provide a gentle backing of warmth. Not a complex recipe, but these are often the ones that showcase mistakes easier. Now, the buttercream is a very simple recipe, I make mine in a jug if I’m doing a small batch, it keeps everything together and stops it spreading itself too thin around the bowl and not mixing. Test it as you go, you don’t want a gritty buttercream, nor do you want it runny, it will set up later, but runny will stay soggy even after setting. I frost the inside with a little left off the edges, so when the top compresses it doesn’t squirt buttercream everywhere and I frost the top and bottom separately, leave them for twenty minutes or so and then join them, gives the buttercream that slight firmness that stops it spreading too much from the top half’s weight. I just scooped the buttercream on as you can see, this is just me testing his out and I’m not messing with nozzles for that. As for the taste with the buttercream, well, it delicious, the slight tang of the cardamom, with a pinch of turmeric for colour, and the dark, warm flavour of the cake go together perfectly, not always a given or easy, Dear Reader, to match like that, I Google pairings often to see what flavours match well. The texture of the slightly dry cake, the carrots add moisture as you bite in, and the soft, airy frosting are a match made in heaven, sure cream cheese would have been great, but this isn’t too shabby either. Not much else to add, Dear Reader, hopefully you enjoyed this, as I say I don’t do this often, there is a lot of work involved in making and typing it up and I just don’t eat like this as much as I used too. Nice for a change of pace. Until later, Dear Reader.
112g Raw Buckwheat Flour
2 Large Eggs (Roughly 55g to 65g)
100g Grated Carrot
85ml Olive Oil
75g Dark Muscovado Sugar
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp Ginger
1/6 Tbsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC (No Fan). Grease a Loaf Tin with and line the bottom with grease-proof paper.
2. Add the grated Carrot to a bowl and then add the Sugar, Buckwheat Flour, Baking Sode and Spices. Stir everything together until the Carrot is completely coated in the Flour Mixture.
3. Whisk the Eggs, then add to the bowl, add the Vanilla Extract and finally add the Olive Oil. Stir everything together with a fork until completely combined. Batter will be runny and pourable.
5. Pour into the prepared tin, Bake for 45 minutes, turning after half an hour and covering for the last 15 minutes with grease-proof paper. Make sure top is firm to the touch and a knife comes out clean. Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then let cool completely on a wire-rack. Rest overnight before cutting.
200g Icing Sugar
50g Butter/Marg, Softened (Ratio of 4 Sugar to 1 Butter)
2 Tsp Milk, More as Needed
1 Tsp Ground Cardamom
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
Pinch Ground Turmeric
1. Place Butter, Icing Sugar, Spices, Milk and Vanilla in a bowl and beat until completely smooth and aerated.
2. Slice cake down the centre and use half the buttercream to frost the centre, leave a gap near the edges to stop overfilling, add the top and use remaining buttercream to frost the top. Let Buttercream set completely before serving.