I was all set for an apple cake, an apple sharlotka from smittenkitchen, until my SO declared vehemently that he didn’t like apples, and so i switched my baking craving toward a carrot cake.
I’m not very good with frosting, in that I don’t particularly like it’s over-richness and over-sweetness, but I have an incredible weakness for cakes I’ve baked myself since they usually are done the way I like. and somehow something always tastes so much better after you’ve worked hard at it yourself.
carrot cake is one of those strange cakes that doesn’t really smell that great while it bakes, even though it has a phenomenal amount of spices in there. I rationalise it to the fact that the cake is largely carrots (which don’t smell of much) and vegetable oil which doesn’t have the same smell-interest that butter has.
but this cake is extremely delicious, in that grab-a-tiny-piece-when-you-walk-past sort of way, and is a lesson that you may mix and match recipes as much as you want, and really just listen to your tastebuds!
so this recipe is my adaptation of the recipe from deb at smittenkitchen, my only changes being that I made three-quarters of her whole recipe and baked the whole thing in a 9-inch pan instead of dividing it into two pans.
although it’s quite a lot of work (and arm-exercise), I prefer to grate my carrots manually instead of using a processor which I think doesn’t create pieces as thin or as soft, and the grated carrot isn’t nearly as soggy when you do it by hand – and moisture staying into the carrot means moisture going into the cake!
I also used currants instead of raisins. I like this recipe because it doesn’t have the fussy coconut and pineapple that may recipes have – I think they sort of detract from that traditional taste of carrot cake that I enjoy.
I suggest dividing it into 2 pans if you are extremely particularly about a perfect cake, the only problem being with baking it all at once that the cake dries out a little on the sides and base, but that rectifies easily with the frosting which helps keep it moist.
I used david lebovitz’s cream cheese frosting, my only change being that I added grated orange zest to add more flavour and just that bit of zest, pardon the pun.