If you asked me what my favourite cake was, I probably couldn’t answer you. But, way up there among the ranks of best cake ever ever, is carrot cake. So, K and I have a weird system for carrot cakes, and thankfully we have identical tastes when it comes to V.G.C.C (Very Good Carrot Cake). Yes, V.G.C.C is a real thing, and we’ve been using that term for three years now…
We like carrot, and when we say that, it means we like to see bits of orange carrot in the cake. It’s totally quasi-placebo but we think it tastes better when we can actually see carrot. Secondly, because of K’s deep-seated fear of bananas (bananas are awesome), he rejects any carrot cake that tastes faintly of banana. I’m cool with bananas, but I kinda get where he’s coming from with the no-bananas-in-my-VGCC-thing. We also don’t quite get coconut or pineapple in carrot cake because it’s kinda distracting (though no offence if it floats your boat). So, where does that leave us????
It leaves us with this. This, is the version of V.G.C.C that we’ve turned to, over and over again, because it’s simple and perfect. it’s the perfect amount of carrot, raisin and walnut in a crumbly and moist spiced cake, topped with just a slick of tangy cream cheese frosting. It’s also not-too-sweet, which makes the carrot’s natural sweetness shine through. I’ll even go so far to say that this is the recipe I’ll be following for a long, long, long time. The ingredients list is long, but don’t let it deter you because the most challenging thing is probably shredding those carrots. Go forth and bake cake.
Classic Carrot Cake
makes one 8″ round cake, or 12 cupcakes
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 Tbs buttermilk (see note below if you don’t have buttermilk)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon+1/4 tsp ground ginger+1/4 tsp ground nutmeg OR 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 2 cups (tightly packed) shredded carrot
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Cream cheese frosting:
- 1/2 cup full fat cream cheese
- 1/8 cup icing sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon or orange
1. Soak raisins in a little hot water for 10 minutes. Drain completely.
1. Beat the eggs, dark brown sugar and caster sugar until light and thick.
2. Add the vegetable oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices to combine.
4. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
5. Fold in shredded carrot, soaked raisins, and chopped walnuts until evenly distributed.
6. Pour into an 8″ round tin and bake at 180°C for 55-60 min.
For the frosting:
1. Beat cream cheese to slacken it up.
2. Gradually add the icing sugar, whisking until there are no lumps.
3. Whisk in the lemon/orange zest and refrigerate until you’re ready to frost.
4. Cool the cake completely once it’s out of the oven before frosting. Pipe it! Spread it! Make a wonky swirl like I did here!
(*note: if you don’t have buttermilk, and don’t want to buy an entire carton of buttermilk, a simple substitution would be to use 3Tbs of milk+a few drops of white vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and you should be good to go.)
Decorate with extra walnuts if you’re feeling extra fancyschmancy!
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