A showstopping carrot cake from Juliet Sear
For the sponges:
200g light muscovado sugar
200ml sunflower oil
150g grated carrot
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp mixed spice
200g self-raising flour
For the frosting:
175g soft unsalted butter
350g unrefined icing sugar, sieved
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
150g cream cheese, room temperature
For the decoration:
2 tbsp hazelnuts, chopped
1 tsp cocoa powder
Approx 7 little, real carrots, ideally with their green tops (or marzipan / sugar carrots)
2 x 8" round cake tins
Preheat the oven to 180C and base and side line 2 x 8" round cake tins.
In a large bowl, mix the sugar into the oil until the lumps have disappeared. Add the eggs and whisk through. Tip in the carrot, sultanas and orange zest and mix together.
In a separate bowl, whisk the bicarb and spices through the flour, then add the flour mix to the wet mix and gently combine until just mixed and divide between the tins.
Bake for approx 30-35 mins, until the sponges are golden, springy and cooked through. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the frosting by beating the butter, icing sugar and vanilla until pale smooth and creamy, then gently beat in the cream cheese until just mixed through.
Trim the cakes if you need to and place one on your cake plate, board or stand. Spread or pipe over with a layer of the frosting. Place the second cake on top and cover generously with the frosting.
In a bowl, toss the chopped hazelnuts in the cocoa, then crumble over the cake where you want your ‘earth’ to be. Trim the carrots down and place around the cake, as if they are growing out from the cake, in a pretty pattern.
Recipe: Juliet Sear