Carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting

Was in a baking frenzy recently. Baked a batch of my Very Buttery Cupcakes for giveaways to my hubby's colleagues and friends, mum-in-law and mum. And volunteered to bake birthday cake for my JC friends' birthday celebration. Initially, was thinking of cupcakes but they have tried the buttery cupcakes already. So I thought of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

I adore carrot cake and long wanted to try baking it. Searched the internet, cook books and magazines for a suitable recipe; there must be hundreds of them around! Finally settled on a recipe adapted from Food Craft.
Was pleasantly surprised with the results. The carrot cake turned out dense and moist yet tender enough. Each mouth was savoury with natural sweetness of the carrots and raisins as well as crunch of walnut. So happy that my first attempt was successful :D Now I can bake and eat it whenever I have a craving :D

Recipe (yields 3 trays 15cm x 7cm and 4 cupcakes)

Cake ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional, can also reduce quantity)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (optional, can also reduce quantity)
  • 1 1/2 cup caster sugar (more or less to preference, I'm thinking of reducing further)
  • 1 cup sunflower oil (can try extra virgin olive oil)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup raisins (can use cranberries too)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (can use almond, sunflower seeds too)
  • 1 tbs dark rum
Preparation
  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Butter cake pans/trays
  • Sift flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and ground ginger.
  • Whisk sugar and oil in a mixing bowl until well incorporated.
  • Add in eggs, one at a time and blend well.
  • Add in the flour mixture and blend until batter is smooth.
  • Stir in the carrots, raisins and walnut.
  • Add dark rum.
  • Divide batter in cake pans/trays/muffin cups.
  • Bake in oven at 180C for around 40 min (toothpick inserted into centre of cake comes out clean).
  • Let cake cool on rack completely before frosting.
Icing ingredients
  • 8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese (cube and soften at room temp)
  • 3 tbs butter (soften at room temp)
  • 1 1/2 icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbs lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 tbs lemon zest (optional)
Preparation
  • Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until light and smooth.
  • Add icing sugar slowly and beat at low speed until well blended.
  • Add vanilla essence, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Frosting can be used for spreading immediately but results will be better if chilled. Once chilled, frosting will be firmer and easier to spread.

I totally dig the tangy cream cheese frosting. Besides using it for cakes, I think it would be suitable as a dip for crackers too. For those who like a stronger cheese taste, you can add more cheese or add more lemon juice for more zest.

Tada! My first carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting and decorated with bits of chocolate crunch pearls - humble but wholesome.
At the end of the day, although the entire baking process was exhausting, somehow I found it rather therapeutic. More baking?