easy carrot 'n' lime traybake

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

Jack is off to Oz for 6 months!

Jack is one of my colleagues.

Jack likes carrot cake.

See Jack eat carrot cake.

I wasn't a fan of carrot cake as a kid, and it wasn't until I started baking it myself that I realised it was because I'm not a huge fan of walnuts, a typical staple ingredient of this classic cake. The reason I don't seek out walnuts is that they seem to have an incredibly short shelf-life, turning rancid-tasting (to me) in a very short space of time. Even when fresh I don't particularly like them, I find them quite bitter. And even in a fresh pack, there's bound to be one or two that have crossed over to the rancid category. So I tend to steer clear of them. I'm a much bigger fan of pecans, and one day, when their price climbs down from the mountain it's currently perched on, I'll start experimenting with all things pecan-y, but for now, no nuts it is. Which can be handy if you / someone your baking for happens to be allergic to nuts.

I like to substitute nuts for raisins (and use wholemeal flour for a nuttier taste and texture), as the extra moistness can't be a bad thing. And I have a lot of raisin-love to spread. Not like that. I also love cinnamon, and you can't go wrong with a bit of lime zest in my opinion, even if the classic pairing for carrot cake is orange zest. This recipe is adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (recipe here via ocado website, legally reproduced, I hope), should you want to have a look.

So here it is, a SUPER EASY (enjoy it while it lasts!), MEGA-CINNAMON CARROT & LIME TRAYBAKE.

Incidentally, I used this cake as part of a wedding cake before, it formed the largest tier and went down a treat. If you're making this in advance or need it to last longer e.g. for a wedding, I'd pair it with the white chocolate buttercream instead (on the "frost me" page), so you don't have to worry about the shelf-life of the cream-cheese frosting.

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

Lydia's Hummingbird Bakery-based Carrot & Lime Traybake (easy! serves 8-16)
Cake batter
200g (somewhere between 1 and 1¼ cups) soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
200ml (just over ¾ cup) sunflower/vegetable oil
200g (1 cups) wholemeal plain flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
 tsp bicarbonate of soda
 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
200g (7 oz, about 3 small to medium) grated carrots
60g (2.1 oz, just under ½ cup) seedless raisins
¼ tsp vanilla extract
if you want a more traditional style carrot cake, substitute sultanas for walnuts, lime zest for orange zest (or omit the zest completely), use white flour instead of wholemeal and halve the amount of cinnamon used.

110g (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
400g (2¼ cup confectioner's) icing sugar
110g (4oz) cream cheese
½ tsp cinnamon
zest and 1 tsp juice of 1 lime

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Set oven to 170°C (325°F, gas mark 3), grease and line a square / rectangular tin (I used 23cm x 23cm).

Mix the sugar, eggs and oil (using a spoon) until well combined and uniform in appearance, and lumpless. It'll have a glorious stretchy dropping consistency a la the photo here.

Slowly add the dry ingredients while stirring - stir until combined.

Finally add the carrots, raisins and vanilla extract, fold in and deposit the mixture to your tin.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until springy to the touch, and you can hear it fizzing.

Cool for about 5 minutes in the tin before turning out upside down onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

To make the frosting, beat the butter and the sugar until lightly combined (no more loose powder flying everywhere) then add the cheese and beat slowly.
Once the cheese has been incorporated, set the speed on high and beat until light and fluffy (but don't overdo it as it'll begin to go runny again), an finally add the juice, zest and cinnamon and beat in until just combined.

Once the cake is completely cooled, spread the frosting on top and sprinkle a little cinnamon for effect. Cut into 16 squares or 8 rectangles or a mix of both, as required.


© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

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