If cakes had feelings, this one would be traumatized. I made this cake at my parents’ house, 170 miles from where it finally met its end. To expand, I constructed this in Shropshire on Sunday for my housemate’s birthday, which was taking place on Tuesday in London. The cake had to be carefully carried onto the rammed Sunday night train where it was to witness two mothers fighting over one seat for their children. Their dialogue went something along the lines of:
Mother A: ‘I need that seat… I’ve got 3 kids!’
Mother B: ‘ Well I’ve got 5 KIDS AND I’VE BEEN UP SINCE FIVE!!!’
At this point a man stood up and bellowed: ‘I’ve got 3 TEENAGE KIDS’ (I felt this was a slightly irrelevant addition seeing as they clearly weren’t with him/he looked about 100 years old).
So my cake and I were hastily dispatched from our seats to make room for the irate parents. Then followed a stressful hour where I hovered in the aisles, scared that a mother was going to machete me with a percy pig.
Was this the end? Hell no. I had to navigate a tube, train, bus and tricycle before I got this home.
Despite the travel debacle, it was worth it. It made my housemate happy and there was enough left over to give to the owner of the restaurant (where we celebrated her birthday) who will now make sure we always get a table….
- 300g soft light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 300ml sunflower oil
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 300g carrots, grated
- 100g shelled walnuts, chopped, plus extra, to decorate
For the icing
- 600g icing sugar
100g butter, at room temperature
250g cream cheese, cold
- Preheat the oven to 170C. Prepare 3 x 20cm cake tins with loose bottoms by greasing then lining the bottoms with greaseproof paper.
- Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed (don’t worry if it looks slightly split). Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed.
- Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts by hand. Pour into the prepared cake tins and smooth over. Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes (mine a lot longer – more 30-35 minutes), or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment again until well mixed. Add the cream cheese, then beat again until well mixed. Turn the speed to high and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
- When the cakes are cold, spread about one-quarter of the cream cheese icing over it with a palette knife. Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the icing over it. Top with the last cake and spread the remaining icing over the top and sides. Decorate with walnuts on top. Dust with cinnamon.
Directions for use: Avoid having to travel on trains and you’re guaranteed to be a happier person.