One of my all-time favourites! The first time I heard of carrot cake was through a Canadian friend of my mum. I was 17 at the time, newly arrived in Switzerland from Niger where I had spent most of my life. For me, it was just inconceivable to have a cake made of carrots. What an idea! It was bad enough to have them in salads or as a side dish, but how could people want to eat a cake made of carrots?
At the time in West Africa, we didn’t have much choice in terms of baking influences. Having said that we were lucky that the French had left a pretty important food heritage and all the bakeries sold most common patisseries such as mille-feuilles, éclairs, and tartes aux fruits. Having said that, birthday and other festive cakes were usually these white cakes drowned in butter cream and decorated with nuts and chocolate shavings. I prefer much simpler desserts and I must admit I never ate any of my birthday cakes.
So, here I am in Switzerland, in front of something completely unheard of, but somehow the simplicity of the cake and the aromas just get to me. A first bite, a first slice and I’m hooked. Next thing you know, I’m eyeing the cake and waiting for a second helping. Thank you Josée for initiating me to this wonderful treasure.
Carrot cake is actually pretty common in Switzerland, but their version is different and the topping isn’t made with cream cheese. I’ll try and post a Swiss version one day.
I’ve made my way through many carrot cakes since, in Brighton, in Cape Town, in Dubai and of course in my own kitchen. I’ve had many opportunities to try out different recipes and this one here is simple, quick, easy and of course very tasty. As per usual, I’ve reduced the amount of sugar so that it remains a cake without being overly sweet. Who needs unnecessary sugar anyway? Right? I can just see my daughters rolling their eyes, me and my war against sugar! Wishing you a very happy Easter!
An all-time favourite, moist and delicious teatime treat.
- 150 grams brown sugar
- 250 ml vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 200 grams flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 500 grams grated carrot
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 125 grams crushed pineapple (a small tin, whizzed in the blender)
- 60 grams chopped pecan nuts (keep a handful for decoration)
Cream cheese icing
- 60 grams butter
- 100 grams Philadelphia or any other smooth cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp pineapple juice, from the tin
Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Beat the sugar, oil and eggs together until fluffy.
Sift the dry ingredients together. Add to the sugar mixture with the carrot, crushed pineapple and nuts.
Pour in a greased and lined cake tin. Bake for approximately 60 minutes or until cooked. Remove from oven and let the cake cool down.
Cream cheese icing
Place all the ingredients in admixing bowl and beat together until the icing is light and fluffy.
Ice the cooled cake and decorate with chopped pecan nuts.
Bon appétit and don’t forget to let me know if you try this out. I would really love to hear from you. Your thoughts count!