I work in a very large corporate firm and about a year ago it was decided to split my huge department into what they call ‘PODs’ which are in effect, social teams. The idea is that each team competes against each other in various different social settings.
A couple of months ago we were told that there would be an inter-pod bake off, and my POD leader emailed round to see if anyone was interested in baking the entry for my team. I was on holiday at the time, and after seeing the email on my BlackBerry decided that I couldn’t be bothered to do it. Many emails in response to my POD leader flew around for the rest of the day between the team which I ignored. However, later on that day one caught my eye from said POD leader simply stating that “carrot cake always wins a bake off”.
This caught my attention because one of my cousins had recently sent me a carrot cake recipe. I had always wondered why anyone would eat a cake with vegetables in it and it may surprise you, given that this is a baking blog, to learn that I had in fact never had a slice of carrot cake in my life! I was also baffled as to why “carrot cake always wins a bake off” (surely chocolate cake or something else would?!) and so I decided to find out for myself.
I made the cake, loved it so much that I actually did end up entering it for my team in the bake-off and won the competition (which I was NOT expecting)!
Chief judge actually told me all the judges (the partners) thought I’d bought it and asked me to tell them the recipe to prove I’d made it. Flattering, but I was a bit taken aback! People who don’t normally like carrot cake at work told me they really enjoyed the cake and my little brother, a harsh critic, loved it too so I hope you will also all enjoy this very easy but delicious recipe.
I made my cousins recipe, changing it very slightly, and used a cream cheese frosting which I adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. I decorated the cake with little carrot decorations I found from Sainsburys, but intend to make my own decorations in the future.
I made the cake again today to freeze for the Xmas holidays when I have lots of friends coming round for tea.
1 1\4 cups oil
2 cups demerara sugar
2 cups plain flour
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
walnuts, raisins, sultanas…2.handfuls – if you wish or you can leave this out
For the frosting:
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter – at room temperature
125g cream cheese
Mix the oil and sugar, beating well.
Next add the eggs to the oil and sugar mixture and beat well.
All the flour, baking powder and cinnamon to the mixture followed by the carrots and nuts/raisins/walnuts.
Pour mixture into greased baking tin (I use calorie free cooking spray to grease the tin) and bake for an hour (in a medium oven) – adjust as appropriate or simply leave until risen, golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
To make the frosting:
Mix the icing sugar and butter together until well mixed. The recipe advises using a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment, but I did it by hand and it turned out absolutely fine. Once icing sugar and butter is well mixed, add all of the cream cheese and beat together until completely incorporated and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. It took me about five minutes.
Top with the carrot decorations or whatever you’d like to use to make the cake look pretty!