Carrot and cardamom are a wonderful combination of flavours. The cake itself is moist enough but for that extra special touch you can add the delicious cinnamon cream cheese frosting. If you want to go all out, you can make mini carrots out of marzipan with a little orange food colouring and angelica root for the stalks.
- butter, for greasing
- 275 g (10oz) self-raising flour
- 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp cardamom pods (split and seeds ground)
- 275 g (10oz) caster sugar
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 250 ml (9fl oz) rapeseed oil
- 1 tblsp vanilla extract
- 400 g (14oz) carrots (peeled and finely grated)
- 200 g (7oz) cream cheese
- 50 g (2oz) softened butter
- 450 g (1lb) icing sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Grease two 23cm (9in) springform cake tins with removable bases and line the bases with a circular disc of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and cardamom with a wooden spoon.
- In a standalone mixer (or in a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer), whisk together the sugar and eggs until pale and fluffy. With the mixer still on, pour the oil into the bowl, in a steady stream, and mix until it is completely incorporated, then mix in the vanilla extract.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and fold in with a spatula until just mixed through. Add the finely grated carrot and fold through until completely incorporated. Divide the batter between the two lined cake tins and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack. When the tins are cool enough to touch, gently release the cakes and return them to the wire rack, removing the base and parchment paper. Allow to cool completely. If one of the cakes has risen more than the other, simply cut off the excess with a bread knife so that you have a flat surface to work with.
- Prepare the frosting by beating the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and cinnamon until you have a smooth, spreadable mix.
- Assemble the cake by spreading one of the layers with half the cream cheese frosting. Place the second layer on top and spread with the remaining frosting. Slice into eight slices and serve. The cake will keep in the fridge for 3–5 days.