Geeking Out for Operation: Cake Quest

The Monday just gone was my friend Diana’s birthday. Knowing carrot cake is her favourite, and knowing she was unfortunate enough for her birthday to land on a Monday, I couldn’t resist surprising her with a tasty treat! I’d never made a carrot cake before, and the prospect was a tad daunting, so Sunday morning I set out to find an easy recipe to build from!


I would just like to side step, and take a moment to geek out about a free food app I’ve recently discovered that goes by the name of Yummly! Anyone who enjoys cooking and wants a world of recipes at their finger tips should download it and use it immediately! Simply search for a recipe (you can search by ingredient, country or even be specific like I have been here, or browse through the thousands they have on the home screen) and select. Want to hold onto it for future reference? Add it to your Yum List! Look through the ingredients and add anything you don’t have in the house to your built-in Shopping List. When you get to the supermarket, you have right in your pocket the exact items and measurements you require so there’s no longer the risk of finding yourself short of something halfway through cooking!


Anyway, now I’ve got that out of my system, back to the carrot cake recipe.

I found a super easy to follow recipe via Yummly, that from the looks of it can also be found on the All Recipes UK website. I made a few tweaks, such as thickening the icing, adding a teaspoon of nutmeg, and making the vanilla a little more special, not to mention a few other tricks! So, with no further ado, here’s my Carrot Cake Recipe!


For the sponge:

  • 250g of self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 400g of caster sugar
  • 350ml of vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 350g of carrots
  • 100g of chopped walnuts, plus a few extra for decorating!
  • The zest of one orange

For the icing:

  • 225g of cream cheese
  • 110g of margarine
  • 550g of icing sugar
  • Half a vanilla pod
  • Decorative walnuts
  • The zest of one orange

I would like a delicious cake, please. How might I achieve this?

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180. Grease two 4cmX18cm cake tins.

2. Grab your carrots, give them a wash and, with the skin still on, grate them into a bowl. Once that’s done, grab a couple of pieces of kitchen towel, wrap them up and squeeze hard (just to stop them from being soggy). Sprinkle with the cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest and mix in with your hands.


3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Make a well in the middle, then pour in about half the vegetable oil and mix. Once combined, add the other half and mix.

4. In a jug, whisk the eggs for about a minute or two, until fluffy. Fold into the mix. Add the spicy zesty carrot mix and stir in and, finally, the nuts.

5. Pour the mix into the two prepare sandwich tins, and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Use a knife or cocktail to poke into the centre and check if the sponge is cooked. If it comes out clean, get it out the oven!

Note: I actually only have one cake tin, so upon completing the cook of sponge the first, I thoroughly cleaned, dried and re-greased the cake tin before pouring in and cooking sponge the second. This is very important!

6. While the sponges are cooking, zest one orange into a bowl and leave to become dry.


7. Once your sponges are completely cool, it’s time to ice! In a large mixing bowl, stir your margarine until smooth, and in a separate bowl stir the cream cheese until smooth. Now add the cream cheese into the large bowl and gently stir until both elements are perfectly combined!

8. Use a sieve to shake in 450g (out of the 550g) of icing sugar. The sieve is important if you want your icing to be lumpless and divine with no fuss but, if you don’t have one, just use patience instead. Stir this in.

9. Take your vanilla pod and cut down the middle. Using the tip of a teaspoon, scrape out those tiny black seeds and add to the bowl. Stir in.

10. Pop a big glob of this on top of one of the carrot sponges. Then sandwich it, placing the other sponge on top.

11. Now add the remaining 100g of icing sugar to the bowl and stir it in. Use the slightly stiffer mix to spread all over the outside of your cake. Mmmmmm! Finally, decorate with nuts and the dried orange zest. Pop in the fridge for a couple of hours to set, then remove and keep at room temperature. Done.



The following day, Operation: Cake Quest came into effect. After the cake survived the working day in my car, the time came to drive it to the home of the birthday girl.

Hang in there, Cakey!

There were a few moments- in particular one emergency stop manuevour- where with a great thud from inside the tin I knew the cake was no longer the pretty picture above. Only in hindsight did I consider the how clever it would be to stick nuts to the side of the cake as well, thus preventing any sticking-to-tins! But ultimately, it survived!


Not looking quite as slick next to that chocolate cake there, but you never really know if a cake is right until you cut into it, and after my recent Feas Pudn faux pas, I’m not sure I could stand another baking failure so soon!

Thankfully, it was a success! Enjoyed by all, be it washed down with tea or beer, and light enough that there was room to wolf down some chocolate cake with it! I will definitely make this again!

I just wish I had managed to get a photo of the look of total surprise when the door was opened to see me standing there with a cake! 



Mission accomplished.


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