The New Carrot Cake
In my book, carrot cake should be wonderfully moist, which is why I like mine with chunks of sweet pineapple. I didn't think you could improve on the tried and tested combo with walnuts, but, inspired by a dinner of roasted Dutch carrots with a sweet orange and honey dressing, I subbed the pineapple for generous pieces of orange, with a little extra orange juice thrown in for good measure, and added flakes of toasted crunchy almonds. Topped with requisite cream cheese icing and deliciously runny local honey, it just about knocked my socks off (and everyone I served it too, too!). I've called it the New Carrot Cake, and it could be my new favourite.
Carrot, Orange & Almond Cake with Runny Honey Icing
2 large oranges
440g (2 cups) caster sugar
375ml (1½ cups) canola oil
300g (2 cups) plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup flaked almonds
2 large carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Runny Honey Icing
250g cream cheese, softened
50g unsalted butter, chopped, softened
160g (1 cup) icing sugar, sifted
Toasted flaked almonds, to scatter
Runny honey, to drizzle
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 22cm round cake pan and line base with baking paper. If it’s a springform pan, wrap base with foil to prevent batter dripping out.
Using a sharp knife, cut the peel and white pith off the oranges, then roughly chop, discarding any seeds and pith. Place the orange and any juice in a small bowl.
Place the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Sift over the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon and stir until just combined. Add the orange and juice, almonds, carrots, vanilla and 2 tbs water, and stir until combined. Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 1 hr 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (cover pan with foil if browning too quickly). Remove cake from oven and cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the icing, beat the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer for 1 minute or until smooth. Add the icing sugar and beat for 4 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Turn the cake out of the pan. Spread the icing over the top, creating whirls. Scatter over the toasted flaked almonds and drizzle generously with honey to serve.