I can’t believe I’ve never baked a carrot cake in my life! It’s no secret that I love all things cream cheese frosting so I’m surprised it has taken me this long to make a carrot cake!
This is not a normal carrot cake – this recipe care of Sweetapolita (one of the many baking blogs I follow) (recipe found here) is a zingy orange and ginger carrot cake! It combines orange zest and little crystallised ginger bits throughout the cake in addition to of course carrot and ginger.
Frosting this cake took me just as long as it did to make it! I spent absolutely forever trying to come up with something creative to pipe. It’s known that I never make enough of frosting which always leaves me making up a second batch and this time was no different (why don’t I ever learn??). I think its because I try limit my consumption of all that sugary goodness so I figure that if I don’t make enough, I can’t eat all that much. It doesn’t work! Like I said, I end up just having to make a second batch. So making a second batch of cream cheese frosting meant that I had an abundance to use, so much so, that I could afford to be decorative with my piping. I’ve always wanted to make ruffles, and I started to do a ruffle trim at the bottom of the cake, except that it kind of looked weird, so I stopped, scraped it off, and then decided to use my Wilton 2D. This created a different kind of ruffle effect, but again, it looked kind of weird, so I scraped it off. And with little girl way overdue for her nap and pulling at my trousers, I decided to just keep it simple, so I cleaned up the icing mess. In a way, there’s something kind of pretty about having a plain icing cake, no frills, no ruffles, just plain simple icing. It’s like smoothing concrete (not that I’ve ever had to smooth concrete, but I imagine it would be kind of similar)! Anyway, after I finished up smoothing the icing, I was completely shocked at the different kind of mess that little girl had managed to conjure up when I wasn’t paying attention to her… ALL my baking utensils were strewn on the kitchen floor leaving a trail of measuring cups, spatulas, bowls into the living room!
This is such a wonderfully moist and fluffy carrot cake. I’m a little disappointed that the carrot taste wasn’t very strong, I mean, it is a carrot cake after all so I wanted to be sucker punched by it! Admittedly, I went overboard with the orange zest, although it couldn’t be helped, I love orange! When I mixed the grated carrot throughout the batter, the mixture became predominantly carrot with a little bit of batter so I thought the carrot taste would be overpowering, but it was negligible! I was also surprised that I didn’t really taste the ginger, and then it occurred to me, I omitted the ground ginger in the batter…D’oh! So without the ginger (although it does have crystallised ginger pieces throughout), and the subtle carrot taste, it’s more fitting to describe this cake as an orange cake! It doesn’t bother me, as any excuse to have cream cheese frosting!
Despite the flaws, this cake is really yummy! So much so that C suggested that he would try sell it at the cafe, except that it never made it that far as he ended up devouring the whole cake!!
Orange and Ginger Carrot Cake (white chocolate icing)
- Mixing Equipment
- Stove Top
- 5 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger (or stem) finely chopped
- 1 whole orange
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt pink rock salt preferable
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup chopped butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar any
- 4 whole eggs medium to large
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cups whole fat milk
White Chocolate Icing
- 1 cup chopped butter room temperature
- 6 squares premium white chocolate
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 pinch salt pink rock salt preferable
- 3 cups icing sugar sifted
- 1 tbsp crystallized ginger chopped
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C). Spray or lightly oil two 9-inch (1.5-L) round cake pans.
- Grate carrots using a food processor. Measure out 5 cups (1.25 L). Finely chop ginger. Grate peel from orange. Set aside separately. Place flour in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Stir until blended. Sprinkle in orange peel while stirring.
- Place flour in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Stir until blended. Sprinkle in orange peel while stirring.
- Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar, then beat on medium for 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, then vanilla. Don't worry if it seems curdled.
- Beating on low, gradually add about a third of the flour mixture. Beat until just mixed, followed by half the milk.
- Repeat additions, ending with flour. Sprinkle chopped ginger and stir to distribute. Stir in carrots.
- Divide batter between pans. Spread as evenly as possible to sides of pan. To remove air pockets, bang pans on counter 5 to 6 times. Bake until centers seem set when lightly tapped, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Place on a baking rack to cool. After about 15 minutes, turn cakes out of pans and cool completely on racks. TOP TIP: It's best to bake cakes a day ahead of icing and leave at room temperature overnight.
- To make icing, beat butter in a bowl with an electric mixer until very creamy. Place chocolate in a small microwave bowl. Microwave on medium for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir, then microwave on medium for another minute. Stir until smooth. ALTERNATIVE: Or on stove top heat chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir, often. Gradually beat into butter. Add vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Gradually beat in icing sugar.
- To assemble, place 1 cake, flat-side up, on a platter. Generously spread with icing, leaving a narrow border of cake around the edge.
- Top with the second cake, flat-side down, and gently press down. Smoothly spread icing over the sides of the cake, then the top. Garnish top of cake with chopped crystallized ginger. It's best to refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.