This is a deliciously moist carrot cake that is not overly sweet and has just the right amount of spice. The cream cheese frosting is the perfect way to finish this cake off. Roasting the pecan nuts before is a game changer and gives them a lovely crunchy texture. You can roast a few extra to decorate the cake or alternatively walnuts look very attractive as a garnish.
1 cup pecan nuts, roasted and roughly chopped
1 cup densely packed (200gm) dark brown sugar such as demerara or muscovado
½ cup (100gms) white granulated sugar
4 large free-range eggs
1 cup (250ml) sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence (optional)
1 cup (250ml) crushed pineapple drained from tin (432gm tin/net weight 281gm)
2 cups (500ml) grated carrots (half finely grated and half coarsely)
½ cup raisins or sultanas presoaked in boiling water and then drained
2/12 cups cake or all-purpose flour (312gms)
3 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarb (baking soda)
Cream cheese frosting Ingredients:
200gms butter at room temperature
1350gms icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
230gm-250gm cream cheese (a solid kind)
Heat the oven to 150C/300F and spread the pecan nuts on a baking tray. Roast for 7 – 8 minutes until toasted. Allow to cool.
Turn the oven up to 180C/350F and line 2 x 23cm (9inch) springform cake tins with baking paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat the two sugars, until fluffy. Add the oil and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well combined.
Fold through the drained crushed pineapple, grated carrots, presoaked and drained raisins until well mixed.
In a separate bowl, sieve all the dry ingredients twice and then fold this through the wet cake batter until well incorporated.
Divide the batter equally between the two cake pans and bake for 35 – 40 minutes. The cake is done when a sharp knife is inserted into the middle and comes out clean. Loosely cover the cakes with tin foil from about 25 minutes if necessary and to prevent over browning.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pans on a cooling rack. They should be completely cool before icing/frosting them.
It’s very important to prevent the cream cheese from slitting or become too runny that you only add it right at the end and do not over mix it.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla until pale an fluffy, about 4 – 5 minutes. At this point you cannot overmix the frosting and beating it for a longer time makes it softer and more fluffy.
Add the chilled cream cheese and mix very briefly and only until it is incorporated and smooth.