Monday 3 November 2008

George's Marvellous Carrot Cake

When I'm not taking the view that anything can be improved by adding chocolate chip cookie dough or layers of cheesecake, I'm always looking for the best possible version of a basic recipe. You know what I mean? The sort you try, and you just know it's the best; you just know that this is Exactly What It Should Taste Like. Chocolate chip cookies, for example. I don't even want to go into the amount of people who've searched for that ultimate recipe (and even when I think we've found it - yes I did make the NY Times cookies, and yes, just, yes - I continue to search for one that doesn't take 36 hours and £10 worth of ingredients).

Personally, I'm always on the lookout for carrot cake. I save recipes, I compare recipes, I try recipes; I am consistently underwhelmed by recipes. I tear up recipes and stamp on the pieces. I shout things about carrot cake that I will not repeat. I know, deep in my heart, that carrot cake is just so much better than anything I've tried so far.

And I'd almost given up. I'd almost resigned myself to mediocre carrot cake - I'd half told myself that maybe this was just the way carrot cake was; maybe the idea I had in my head was but a dim and distant dream. I'd told myself off a few times for using phrases like 'dim and distant dream' in relation to cake, and so on.

I had nothing to lose, but some carrots to use up. So I pooled my remaining recipes, taking bits from each, changing a couple of measurements, regulating things, casting unnecessary nuts and extraneous ingredients aside.

Oh, it could have been a disaster. I could have been writing this with tear tracks down my orange-tinged cheeks (too many carrots). It would have been the end, my friends. I would have turned away from vegetable-based cake for life, forced to join the real world - the practical, vanilla sponge world. No longer would I write like an eighteenth century novelist chronicling my cake escapades! No more over-dramatics over unsatisfactory baked goods! No more exclamation marks!I made this cake a few weeks ago and froze it, without trying it. And then I got it out the other day; left it overnight. Frosted it in the morning, and ate it in the afternoon. It looked so ordinary - no secret ingredient or unusual method...

But this cake? Was The One. Understated and ridiculously damp and moist, this was the carrot cake I had seek...ed. seeken sought wanted. What makes this cake different from any other cake, I've no clue (I do suspect it benefited from being left overnight) and much in the manner of George's Marvellous Medicine, I'm not sure I could reproduce it, but this is The Recipe.

Do with it what you will, my friends.

I've Actually Found The Best Carrot Cake Recipe In The World
Adapted from four separate sources, I can't really credit anyone with this (it uses two blogs, a bit of Dorie Greenspan, and an old recipe from Gourmet), so it looks like I get dibs on it. I've never been prouder to own anything in my life. Except maybe my Nikon.

This only makes a 7" (double layer) cake so you can double it and make a 9" one as most of the original recipes did. Obviously, I'm cooking on a smaller scale now.

140g (1 c.) flour
180g (1c.) caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 tsp each allspice, nutmeg
2 eggs
1 dash salt
200ml oil (EDIT: This should be 1/2c. in my half quantity recipe, but when I copied it out to have to hand in the kitchen, I halved all quantities except the oil X__X. Solves the mystery of why it was so moist, haha. Rather than use a whole cup (240ml) I suggest you try about 200ml and see how it goes).
2 cups carrots, grated by hand (sorry, I don't know this in grams! Should have a volume of 500ml)

1. Beat sugar and oil. Add carrots. Add eggs, one at a time. Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add all together. Bake in 2 7" greased pans at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Frost cake with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
225g cream cheese
60g butter
250-300g (2 c.) confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Frost cake when cooled.


Y said...

A cake with exclamation marks.. now that's my kind of cake! I love how orange it is too!

Finla said...

Beautiful carrot cake, i love them.
Love that frosting too

steph- whisk/spoon said...

shoot--that looks great! i do hope you're able to reproduce it!

Cakelaw said...

take your word for it - it certainly looks tasty! I have a colleague who likes carrot cake with a birthday in December, so I might make this for him then.

Anonymous said...

If you say this is the better carrot cake, I must believe you. And try, of course... It looks sooooooooooo soft and delicious that it is quite hard to resist.

grace said...

i'm always on the lookout for carrot cake recipes, as well. i could eat it every day, even if it meant i turned orange. :)
i've ultimately decided that many great recipes are out there, but the frosting is what makes it. don't worry, though--i'll give your recipe a shot. :)

test it comm said...

Carrot cake is one of my favorites as well and that one looks really good!

Leonor de Sousa Bastos said...

This carrot cakes looks absolutely wonderful!!

I'm sure it's as delicious as good looking...

Great pictures!

Anonymous said...



Sihan said...

That looks reallie moist and good. I'm a big fan of carrot cake and i must say that that makes me drool!

Anonymous said...

That carrot cake looks absolutely perfect. I'm glad you've found the One. :P

Rosie said...

WOW what a beautiful carrot cake! My family adores carrot cake i will have to bookmark this recipe ;)

Rosie x

Anonymous said...

hello from Canada! I too am a poor university student so your blog is awesome to see what someone like me is cooking! :-)

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

hi indigo
thanks for passing by my blog. Hey, you carrot cake looks great..indeed you have the best carrot cake recipe..thanks for sharing it with us all.

Joie de vivre said...

So glad you have finally found "the one" and that there are no tear tracks down your cheeks. Great post.

Marysol said...

Oh great. And here I thought I had a good carrot cake recipe.
Indi, if your endorsement and mouth-watering images are any indication to your cake's superior taste, then I'll have to try it too, to be sure [G].

MrsB said...

Your carrot cake looks delicious! I love carrot cake but I'm yet to attempt making one - I might try out your recipe though as it's looks delish!

Anonymous said...

That carrot cake certainly looks nice keep up with your baking!

Marysol said...

Don't mind me, I just came back for a second look. And I'm glad I did. [G]

Anonymous said...

I usually have carrot in salad. Also a dessert is there like halwa. I think the cake would be yummy with cream cheese icing. Reminding to make this pretty soft and not grainy.

Lisa said...

This is my favourite carrot cake. I use about 150 g of sugar and 180 mL of oil with 250 g of grated carrots. I also add 1/4 tsp ground ginger and cloves. I usually put about 1/3 the sugar in the frosting, too. I guess it's not really your cake anymore, but yours was my inspiration!

katy said...

i just used your recipe as a base, but replaced the oil with unsweetened apple sauce and it was AMAZING! thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

OMG! Someone I can relate to!!!! Strawberry love, carrot cake obsession, writing ability, love for cameras! Let's be friends!!! I REALLY ENJOYED reading this! And I will MOST DEFINITELY be trying out this recipe, and will certainly let you know how it went! 💜