Garden Cake

This cake is a combination of lots of wonderful things… Carrot cake, earthy nuts, cream-cheese frosting, fiery chunks of ginger and rustically achievable but charming decoration.

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It’s a pretty simple way of decorating a rather simple cake, but the final result is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. AND IT’S PURDY.

This recipe will make a modestly sized cake that will happily cut into 10-12 sensible slices. Double-up if you’d prefer a celebration whopper. (I heartily encourage this. Just use two tins.)

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 125g dark brown sugar
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 125g plain flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 100g dark chocolate chips (or chunks!)
  • 150g mixed nuts (whole)
  • 3 lumps of preserved stem ginger (roughly chopped)
  • a handful of raisins

For the cream cheese icing

  • 80g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 80g sifted icing sugar
  • 130g full-fat cream cheese (room temperature) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the flower decoration

  • 1 small pineapple (very thinly sliced into rounds)
  • Poppyseeds or Nigella seeds
  • Honey

Method

For the flower decorations

  1. You will need to make these the night before or a fair few hours before you want to decorate your cake. They will keep in an airtight container so you could double up and ensure that you have pretty cake decorations whenever you need them 🙂
  2. Preheat your oven to 100°C fan. 
  3. Arrange your thinly sliced pineapple rounds onto baking trays lined with either greaseproof paper or foil. 
  4. Bake for 1 1/2 hour until the pineapple starts to dry out. You may want to turn the slices every half-hour. 
  5. Once the pineapple is dry but still pliable, you can opt to sculpt the slices into a more rounded shape. If you would like to do this, simply mould the slices into a non-stick metal cupcake tray and place back in the oven for a further 30-60 mins. 
  6. If you don’t fancy this, simply leave the slices on the flat baking tray for a further 30-60 mins in the oven.
  7. Leave to cool.

For the cake

  1. Heat the oven to 160°C fan and line a cake tin with greaseproof paper. 
  2. Mix together the eggs and sugar in a mixer until roughly combined.
  3. Set the mixer to a medium-high speed and slowly pour in the oil. Do this gradually so that the mixture doesn’t split.
  4. Fold in the flour, spices, baking powder & bicarb.
  5. Add the grated carrots and mix together until it’s just incorporated.
  6. Gently fold in your mixed nuts, dried fruit and chocolate.
  7. Pour the batter into the tin and scatter with the chopped stem ginger. I like to do this once the batter is in the tin so that I can ensure everybody gets an even amount of the fiery chunks.
  8. Bake in the centre of your oven for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. The extra additions of nuts, chocolate, fruit and ginger will mean that the cake will be denser than most carrot cakes, and thus, take longer to cook.
  9. Set aside to cool in the tin.
  10. To make the icing, beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, vanilla and mix until it’s lovely and smooth.
  11. Pop the icing in the fridge to firm up.

Decoration

  1. Dollop of the icing atop the golden cake. Spread to the edges of the cake so that the pineapple slices really standout.
  2. Use your finger to smoosh a teeny-tiny bit of honey into the centre of each pineapple flower. Scatter the sticky honey with the dark seeds. It’s rather tricky to do this accurately but no bother… It’ll look lovely regardless 🙂
  3. Adorn your cake with pineapple fanciness!

Gobble greedily.

Carrot cake recipe adapted from Signe Johansen’s Scandilicious Carrot Cake.

 

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