We didn't get to see my mother in law for her birthday, she's been travelling - in Europe, we've been travelling, in Asia. And then, she was in hospital. First time for us to visit her at her home after her back operation, I decided to make a classic cake, that she likes and of course, hubby.
The recipe I used today, was adapted from one of my favourite young Aussie Chef, George Calombaris, his carrot cake with cream cheese frosting was one of the taste test in Master Chef, and the recipe was published in the Masterchef Magazine.
I didn't use so many kinds of nuts, as I just had walnuts on hand, and I decided to use fresh thickened cream instead of cream cheese, also, unlike most carrot cakes, I used butter instead of vegetable oil.
It's a big cake, but very moist.
250g butter, room temperature, cut in cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract
330g firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 carrots, peeled and grated.
1.5 tbsp cream sherry
100g mixed fruit (or just use sultanas)
150g finely chopped walnuts
300g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp all spice powder
Coconut Cream Frosting
400ml thickened cream
150g desicated coconut
100g icing sugar
150g white sugar
2 tbsp water
1. preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a deep 23cm round cake tin.
2. Soak the mixed fruits in sherry and vanilla extract.
3. Using the bench top mixer, cream butter and sugar, until it's light (you won't need to cream the butter and sugar if you use vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil like what George did).
4. Add in eggs, one by one, after finish the 4 eggs, whisk on high for 5 minutes until it's light and fluffy.
5. Sift in the flour, bi-carb soda and spices, and fold in the fruit mixture as well as the carrots.
6. Spoon the batter in the cake tin and bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 40 minutes.
7. Coverred with foil and bake for a further 30-40 minutes or until a skewer come out clean in the middle.
8. Cool the cake on wrack.
(I made the frosting the next morning, as we are going over to MIL's for lunch, however, I'd say wait till the cake is fully cooled down).
9. Whisk the cream and icing sugar until it's firm and fold in the desicated coconut. I applied it to the cake with a spatular for the rustic look.
10. In a non stick pan, with low heat, lightly toast the walnuts for the praline and crush them roughly acatter on the prepared lined cookie sheet.
11. Make caramel using the sugar and water, it's a lot easier to make wet caramel. When the liquid is turning blonde, watch it closely and move the pan to a prepared basin with cold water (icy water if possible) once it's light brown - or darker if you prefer a darker caramel.
12. Pour caramel over the crushed toasted walnuts and crush the praline roughly and scatter around on the cake.
The bit of crunchy praline and creamy frosting gives the cake a bit more layers of flavour.