Easter won’t be quite the elaborate affair this year – as an impending move is literally happening the day after. We’re living our lives currently surrounded by brown cardboard boxes. All our material possessions taped and packed, labelled with things like “misc. and summer clothes”. The flour and sugar jars have well and truly been packed. And the baking soda… stored away for good.
Though what does remain is my cookbook collection – I don’t trust any removalist with that precious cargo… I’d rather leave the (rather heavy) transportation to myself.
Carrot cake makes things slightly better. As I don’t have access to my usual holiday baking methods, and as I always feel the urge to make something for a celebration or event… I made this cake in anticipation to celebrate Easter.
This is a true tried and tested carrot cake, a family favourite. It’s flavoured with sugar and spices, filled with carrot and textured by pecan. Also noteworthy is the incredibly moist crumb. The frosting is the true star though, not too sweet with a slightly nutty and rich earthy-like taste from the addition of tahini. It’s also four layers tall too, which means that there are plenty of thick pieces able to be sliced for everyone.
Naked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini Frosting is a cake destined for celebration. There are definitely countless of carrot cake recipes out there, with all sorts of embellishments… but it’s important to have a classic, like this, in your baking repertoire. It’s simple, incredibly moist, and the flavours are spot on. Perfect for Easter.
- 3 cups / 15.4 oz. / 435 g plain flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 3 tsp. baking soda
- 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 ¼ cups / 16 oz. / 450 g caster sugar
- 2 ¼ cups / 18.3 fl. oz. / 540 ml vegetable oil
- 4 ½ cups / 20. 3 oz. / 575 g shredded carrots
- 1 ½ cups / 6.2 oz. / 175 g finely chopped pecans
- 8 oz. / 225 g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 sticks / 226 g unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup / 2.1 oz. / 60 g tahini sesame paste
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups / 8.5 oz. / 240 g icing sugar, sifted
- To make the cake: Pre-heat an oven to 350 F / 180 C. Grease and line 4 x 7 inch / 18 cm cake pans and set aside. Alternatively you can use 2 x cake pans and slice each cake in half.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt together into a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs set on high speed until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue mixing until thick and lightly coloured, about 3 minutes. Drizzle in the vegetable oil slowly, this should take at least 3 to 5 minutes (the idea is for the mixture to slowly absorb the oil to make an emulsion, if the oil separates from the mixture it is being added too quickly). Reduce the mixer speed to low. In third additions, mix in the flour mixture until smooth and combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the carrots and pecans.
- Divide the batter equally between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes for single layers, 40 to 45 minutes for double layers. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack to let cool completely.
- Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the frosting: Put the cream cheese, butter, tahini and salt into a standing mixer and whip on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and combine well. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add in the icing sugar, stopping to scrape down the bowl occasionally. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed back to medium and whip for 2 minutes, or until very fluffy.
- Trim the cooled cake tops to level. Place one cake layer on a stand or plate. Spread the layer with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the frosting. Repeat this process with the second and third cake layer. Finally, place the fourth cake layer trimmed side down and frost the top and sides of the whole cake to crumb coat. Let chill for 30 minutes before finishing with a final thin coat of frosting and decorative piping. Chill the cake for at least 1 hour before serving.