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The secret to Carrot Cake is definitely the mixed spices and the nuts. Omit these products and it is no longer a carrot cake. Yes, carrots do play a role, but it is the spices and nuts that makes this type of cake a delightful treat for any occasion.
This cake is not an easy cake to cover with fondant. You will need to know your way around cream cheese and make sure that you do not make the cream cheese too runny. I prefer to make a batch of normal butter-cream icing, mixed with some cream cheese, but still have a stiff consistency.
Use that as the outside rim of the cake. The normal cream cheese can then be placed in the middle. If I cover the cake, I normally do not use cream cheese on the outside of the cake. I only dirty ice the outside and cover with fondant as normal.
I am no Pastry Chef, but I can tell you out of experience, that the oven and carrot cake behaves differently - well, for me it does. The most important point to remember is to double line your cake pan on the sides as you do not want the sides of the cake to be too crispy.
Also to check your cake regularly. It is so weird that sometimes, the same cake can bake longer that the previous time. I'm still trying to figure that one out.
The recipe I'm sharing today is basic but I have always had success with it. It is not too rich, just perfect.
Bake in oven at 180 degrees. It is ready when stick comes out clean.
The cake can stay fresh up to 2 days at room temperature, but up to a week in the fridge if it is sealed in a container. It is best to rather put left overs in the fridge once its been cut.
If you feel like trying something new...look at this Carrot Cake Roll photo tutorial.