I was so tempted to call this “best-ever carrot cake”, but I thought it sounded vain. Having said that, this IS the best ever carrot cake (I guess, if I just call it best-ever in the introduction, it doesn’t sound too vain, no?). Carrot cake has so many variations. Some make it with butter, others with oil. Some use canned pineapple in the batter, others use coconut. I tried many versions and I think this one is the best. Since I live in the mediterranean, I find it more appropriate to use olive oil instead of sunflower oil. I don’t like using coconut as I think the taste is overpowering. Instead of raisins, I grated an apple which gives it extra moisture and taste. This cake is not overly sweet and that’s the way I like it. I prefer to use mascarpone in the frosting instead of the more traditional cream cheese. It’s so much lighter and compliments this cake, which anyway, doesn’t really need that much frosting. You could of course, serve it plain and it would still be delicious. However, I just love this white cloud of sweetness, in every bite.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (300 grams)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar (300 grams)
- ½ cup soft brown sugar, firmly packed (100 grams)
- 1 ¼ cup olive oil (you can use sunflower oil if you prefer)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Zest from 1 orange
- 3 cups coarsely grated carrots, firmly packed (400 grams)
- 1 golden delicious apple, coarsely grated (150 grams)
- 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
For the mascarpone frosting:
- 200grams mascarpone
- ¼ cup and 2 Tbs icing sugar
- 1 tsp orange or lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup whipping cream
Line base of two round 22,5 cm (9”) spring form pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper.
Preheat oven 175 C. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a mixer bowl, fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the sugars, eggs and olive oil. Beat until well combined. Add vanilla and orange zest and mix briefly. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Don’t overbeat. Add carrots, apple and walnuts and mix with a spatula.
Pour mixture equally, into prepared pans. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Take pans out of the oven and leave cake to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a spatula around the sides of the pan to release the cake. Remove the sides of the pan. Flip cakes onto plates and gently remove parchment from the bottom. Invert cakes again so that they are facing the right side up. Leave cakes to cool completely. Then wrap cakes in plastic wrap until you are ready to assemble and frost.
Make the mascarpone frosting. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment beat the whipping cream until soft peeks form. Transfer to another bowl. In the same mixer bowl beat the mascarpone, icing sugar, zest and vanilla until just blended. Don’t overbeat otherwise mixture will curdle. With a spatula, fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.
Sandwich cakes together with a little mascarpone frosting. Top with the remaining. Sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top and serve.
Note: If you like, you could also ice the sides of the cake with the mascarpone frosting. I just like the “naked” look on mine.