For the last 10 years my brother-in-law has badgered me to put a chocolate orange carrot cake into one of my books. I have, for those same 10 years, joked that I think it sounds awful. The truth is it was more fun to wind him up than admit it would work, so it’s time to end the joke and give him a recipe for it. My interpretation has vaguely Scandi spicing and the best brown butter cream cheese frosting you’ve ever had, tasting like a toasty rich caramel.
This recipe is extracted from One Tin Bakes: Sweet and simple traybakes, pies, bars and buns by Edd Kimber (£17.99, Kyle Books). Photography © Edd Kimber
Ingredients for chocolate and cardamom carrot cake Serves: 12
- 300g (10.oz/2⅓ cups + 1 tablespoon) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- zest of 2 oranges, juice of 1
- 300g (10 ½ oz) carrots, grated
- 75g (2 ¾ oz/ ½ cup) dark chocolate chips
- 150g (5 ½ oz/1 cup) raisins or sultanas
- 4 large eggs
- 400g (14oz/2 cups) light brown sugar
- 240ml (8 ½ fl oz/1 cup) light olive oil, plus extra for greasing
Ingredients for brown butter cream cheese frosting
- 75g (2 ¾ oz/⅔ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 125g (4 ½ oz/ ½ cup + 1 tablespoon) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 400g (14oz/3⅓ cups) icing sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ingredients for topping
- 1 batch cream cheese frosting (see below)
- milk chocolate shavings
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
Method for chocolate and cardamom carrot cake
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease the baking tin, then line with a piece of parchment paper that overhangs the two long sides.
- Place the flour, baking powder, salt, ground spices and orange zest into a large bowl and whisk together to combine. Add the carrots, chocolate chips and raisins.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, olive oil and juice from 1 orange, mixing until combined.
- Pour the wet mixture in the bowl with the flour and stir together until everything is combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and spread into an even layer.
- Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until the cake springs back to a light touch or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then use the lining paper to carefully lift and transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the cream cheese frosting according to the instructions below, but first brown the butter.
- Place the butter into a small saucepan over a medium heat, stirring frequently. As the butter cooks it will first melt and then sizzle, splatter and then start to foam with little brown flecks.
- Pour into a bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until the butter is firm.
- Remove from the refrigerator and beat with an electric mixer, on its own, until soft and creamy.
- Proceed with the cream cheese frosting method as written below. Spread over the top of the cake and finish with a grating of milk chocolate and the zest of another orange, if you like.
- Kept covered, this cake will keep for 3–4 days.
Method for cream cheese frosting
- For the frosting, it’s very important that the butter and cream cheese are both at room temperature, otherwise it can be tricky to get the right texture.
- Place the butter and cream cheese into a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat on medium-high speed for 2–3 minutes, or until smooth, creamy and fully combined.
- Add the icing sugar, salt and vanilla and mix on slow speed until the sugar has combined with the butter mixture, then mix on medium-high speed for 4–5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Spread the frosting all over the cooled cake.