moist carrot cake with butterscotch cream cheese icing

Last month's Australian Gourmet Traveller featured a carrot cake on it's front cover. I made the carrot cake last weekend and although it tasted lovely it was very dense and chewy and not quite what I was after.

It tasted a little too earnest and worthy to me so I decided to revisit my old carrot cake recipe, however making some butterscotch flavoured cream cheese icing to top the cake sounded like a mighty fine idea.

I baked the cake on Saturday; made the glazed pecans on Saturday night and made the butterscotch icing on Sunday. That gave me time to ice and photograph the cake in time for work on Monday to celebrate some more June birthdays.

I've made the maple glazed pecans before but last weekend I tried making the glazed carrot slices for the first time. I really like the way the edges of the carrot ruffle when they're cooked turning into carrot flowers. The carrot slices do tend to stick a bit to the baking paper so you need to be careful when removing them from the tray.

Here's the recipe for you, which makes a 16 cm layer cake. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. To make a 23 cm layer cake, double all the ingredients and follow the instructions. The baking time will stay the same.

I had about ½ cup of icing left over so the quantity of cream cheese icing should just about stretch to a 23 cm cake. If you're worried it might be a bit stingy use all the butterscotch mixture and 50% more butter, cream cheese and icing sugar.

Moist Carrot Cake
170g (1 cup + 2 tbl) self-raising flour
½ tsp each ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
¼ cup canned, unsweetened, crushed pineapple, lightly drained
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
¼ cup (40g) brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g (2 oz) pecan nuts, roughly chopped
2 eggs
cup vegetable oil
1 cup peeled, grated carrot

Butterscotch Cream Cheese Icing (Inspired by this recipe from AGT)
30 g (1 oz) butter
30 g (1 oz) brown sugar
30 mls cream
2 tsp golden syrup
125g (4½ oz) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
60 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Glazed Pecans and Carrot Slices
½ cup pecan halves/half a carrot, very thinly sliced
¼ cup maple syrup or maple flavoured syrup
Pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan forced). Line base and sides of a 16 cm spring form pan with baking paper.

Sift the flour and spices into a bowl. Mix in the pineapple, sugars, vanilla, nuts, eggs, oil into the flour mixture. Mix together until lightly combined then add the carrot and mix well. The mixture should be quite runny.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake on centre shelf of oven for 60 minutes. If not cooked when tested then cover the cake with a sheet of baking paper and cook for a further 10 minutes or until centre of cake is firm. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Allow cake to cool completely before decorating with the butterscotch cream cheese icing, the nuts and carrot slices. You can also top the cake with a handful of coarsely chopped toasted pecans if you don’t feel like making the candied version.

Butterscotch Cream Cheese Icing
First make the butterscotch. Combine the butter, brown sugar, the cream and the golden syrup in a small saucepan. Cook over a low heat until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Cook for a minute or two until the mixture thickens then add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool. You’ll need to use 2 tbl of the butterscotch for the icing.

In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, the butter, icing sugar, the vanilla extract and 2 tbl of butterscotch. Beat the mixture until it’s soft and creamy.

Glazed Pecans and Carrot Slices
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (conventional).
Toss pecans and sliced carrots in maple syrup then spread out in a single layer on a baking paper lined baking tray. Keep the carrots separate from the pecans. Sprinkle the pecans with a few flakes of sea salt. Bake until maple syrup is caramelized and pecans are toasted and carrots have developed a frilled edge, about 10 minutes. Normally I check the carrots after 5 minutes, and then turn them over. Let cool completely on baking sheet before storing the carrot slices and pecans in separate airtight containers.

This recipe makes a lovely old fashioned moist carrot cake and the addition of butterscotch flavoured icing adds a modern touch to an old classic.

See you later in the week.

Bye for now,


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