Saturday, June 29, 2019

Classic Carrot Cake with lots of Cream Cheese Frosting, It's a Birthday Celebration

When a friend is cooking dinner, and you discover it's also their birthday the following day, what do you take to dinner besides a bottle of wine, a birthday cake for dessert of course. Look carefully, as yes there is a delicious Carrot Cake hiding under all of the edible flowers, fruit and foliage. A smorgasbord of decoration is what happens when a cake is taken to a birthday dinner party and as I started decorating the cake,  a well meaning friend also started adding strawberries of the large variety, and before I know it, we have a very colorful and well decorated cake. It did look beautiful though through the glow of the 6 birthday candles (not in the photo), one for every decade. During all of this fun and excitement though, photographing the final result needed to be very quick and the strawberries rose up to take centre stage. Deservedly so in a way, because they are the sweetest strawberries that can be found in Mackay, purchased from a local farm truck supplied with fruit and vegetables from  Fresh As Sweet As.  Another friend at the Dinner gave me some home grown Nodding Violets, the beautiful blue flowers in the photo, and with a couple of nasturtium flowers, and some nuts adorning a Cream Cheese Frosting  we have a decorated cake.

Let's Cook Cake:

Preheat your oven to 160 deg.  Fan forced before you start preparing your ingredients

Baking time 60 minutes, however check after 50 minutes by inserting a skewer gently into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. It will also be pulling away from the edge of the tin.

Serves 15-16 people


3 cups plain flour
2 cups castor sugar
1 teaspoon salt (can be omitted)
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1 cup undrained crushed pineapple
2 cups grated carrot (approx. 2 large carrots)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups salad oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I prefer pecans although I threw some chopped walnuts on the icing)


Grease either a 23 cm square tin or  2 x 8" round tins, and line with baking parchment.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

Sift dry ingredients (flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, sugar) together into a large bowl.

Add the wet ingredients (eggs, pineapple, carrot, salad oil, vanilla), then the chopped nuts.

Allow an hour for the cake to cook in the large square tin, less for the round tins, depending on your oven. Keep an eye on it as every oven is different.

Cream Cheese Frosting: (love this)

250 gram block of softened cream cheese
50 gram unsalted softened butter
2 cups sifted icing sugar


In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer and beat the cream cheese and butter together until pale.
Add the icing sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy.
Spread the frosting over the cake, and sprinkle with extra chopped nuts, or edible flowers or whatever decoration you prefer. I made the cake on Thursday, iced it on Friday and then kept it stored in the refrigerator in a covered container as the weather warmed up and I couldn't risk the icing starting to melt, and running down the cake. It is a good idea to decorate with the fresh decorations just before serving.

But what about the Carrot Cake? Jenny baked this cake for me for my birthday back in February, and I have been obsessing with baking it ever since then. It is that good, and is a large cake, deliciously moist, and can feed 16 people very easily. There is real value in that.  And it is a cinch to make. I am generally the person who enjoys cooking cakes for other people for various reasons, and when someone makes me a cake as a surprise it is extremely special. So I was very happy to bake this cake for John, and he was so excited. Last night 11 people ate reasonably sized cake portions and there was still a lot left over, which the birthday boy can enjoy during the week. The main course cooked by John was also delicious, Roast Lamb purchased from the local award winning Freckle Farm  butcher, Roast vegetables, all cooked to perfection and served with a red wine jus and a shredded fresh beetroot salad. A perfect meal, and most of it from local suppliers.

I really recommend this cake to you my friends, everyone needs a delicious carrot cake in their repertoire, and with lots of leftovers.

However  it hasn't been all smooth sailing bringing this cake to fruition. I had committed to baking the cake, and then on Tuesday two days before I planned to make it, I had a kitchen accident. I hit my left little toe against the corner of the kitchen cupboard next to the stove, ouch$^&*(#, not broken I hoped, but certainly badly sprained and bruised. I have done it before in the kitchen, early in the morning when I wasn't wearing shoes, lesson learned. How can something so small be so painful?  I knew it would take.a week to completely heal and hoped that after the first couple of days I would be able to tolerate wearing a sock inside a sandal with adjustable straps. So on Thursday, with a still tender foot in a sock and a sandal, I made this cake. I opted to make the square one, with the cream cheese frosting just because I wasn't feeling like fussing with a layered cake. However, this cake also works beautifully  baked in 2 x 8 " round sandwich tins, and joined together by Lemon icing or Cream Cheese frosting. For afternoon tea I  use lemon icing, however for dessert, Cream Cheese Frosting or cream is a must.

So dear friends, are you like me and have really hurt your foot or suffered another injury, just before you plan to do some serious cooking? I know it's a cliche, but when the going gets tough, the tough get going, particularly in the kitchen don't you think, or do you just cancel if necessary?

Best wishes



  1. hi pauline
    i love carrot cake but it has to have tons of cream cheese icing on it. i like a bit of cake with my frosting:-) hope your foot is better now. cheers sherry

    1. I kept adding Cream cheese frosting to the cake so that there would be lots of it, ha, ha. I know what you are saying about liking a bit of cake with your frosting, I love it too. My toe is stil tender but I can do most things now, thank goodness. Thanks Sherry

  2. What a beautiful and colorful cake. I'd be proud to have that at my birthday. I think taking a cake to a birthday party is a wonderful idea. My next birthday when asked what they can bring, I'll just say bring a birthday cake. That way I can have more than one cake.

    1. You just can't have too much cake at a party Ron, can you ha, ha? I would happily make you one for your birthday too if I could get it to Sweden :) Thanks Ron.

  3. Dear me Pauline...that is no good about your toe. Ouch! Good for you for making such a beautiful birthday cake. I haven't eaten carrot cake for years. I used to make it all the time when the children were growing up. I just love the flowers on top.

  4. My daughter still loves carrot cake Chel so I have to keep in practice for her, Ha, Ha. The decorations were perfect for a birthday celebration. Thanks Chel.

  5. Pauline, I love carrot cake too. In fact I have one ready to go for my blog. Great minds think alike ;) I love that your cake is big and serves so many. I'm always in need of a cake like that!

    1. Yes it's always good to know you don't have to scrimp when serving cake. Thanks, Pauline

  6. Ooh I adore carrot cake for the cream cheese frosting especially but it rarely looks this pretty! What a gorgeous gift :D


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