My fondest memory of carrot cake growing up is standing beside my dad’s workstation and snatching the bits of the cake’s top layer that he’d be cutting off to snack on them. This is the kind of cake that you could easily eat without any icing or cream.
His version of the carrot cake is a substantial one – not limited to the modest root vegetable itself, but a mix of walnut, shredded coconut and pineapple that somehow all work together wonderfully. What you end up with isn’t your typical carrot cake, in fact, it’s much better than this – it’s a a rugged version of the classic, with much more depth to its textures and flavours. Enjoy this on its own, or with cream cheese icing when sharing with guests.
Part 1: Carrot cake sponge
This can be made up to two days in advance – wrap in saran wrap/cling film and store in the fridge.
300g All purpose flour
6g Ground cinnamon
5.6g Baking soda
2g Baking powder
200mL Vegetable oil
1 Egg yolk
69g Walnut pieces, chopped coarsely
34mL Crushed pineapple
175g Carrots, shredded and cooked (just less than 1 medium carrot)
66g Shredded coconut, unsweetened
- Place shredded carrots in a medium sized pan, cover with water and boil on medium heat and bring to a boil. Drain carrots and set aside – don’t worry if you can’t get all the water out.
- Preheat oven to 170℃/325℉.
- Mix the first ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add in vegetable oil, eggs and egg yolk, mix well until incorporated.
- Mix in walnut pieces and crushed pineapples.
- Give the drained carrots a slight squeeze to strain any excess water. Weigh the carrots again as it may have changed slightly after cooking. Mix in with the batter – which will start to loosen up and look more like what cake batter looks like.
- Add coconut to the batter and mix in.
- Pour into a greased and floured 9” tin.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour, or when a knife comes out clean from the centre of the cake.
- Set aside to cool.
Part 2: Cream cheese icing
125g Butter (room temperature)
125g Icing sugar*
250g Philadelphia full-fat cream cheese (room temperature)
a few drops of vanilla extract
*Adjust sugar to taste.
- In a medium sized bowl, cream butter and icing sugar until smooth.
- Mix in the Philadelphia cream cheese until smooth.
Part 3: Assembly
3 tbsp Sugar
¼ cup Hot boiled water
100g Roasted almond slices, crushed
- Dissolve the sugar with boiling water in a small bowl or cup, set aside.
- Take the carrot cake sponge, and horizontally slice off 0.5cm of the top to remove the top coating. Slice remainder of the sponge cake horizontally into 3 equal, level layers. These should be about 1.5cm thick.
- Take the bottom layer and brush a layer of the sugar water to moisten the surface. Spread an even layer of the cream cheese icing, about 1 cm on the surface.
- Place the next layer of carrot cake on top.
- Repeat steps 3-4 until the final layer of carrot cake is on top.
- Evenly coat the top and the side of the cake.
- Cover the sides of the cake halfway up with the crushed, roasted almond slices.