Carrot cake with chocolate soil and marzipan carrots

I’ve never been a carrot cake fan. Seriously, I’ve been wondering why do people eat this boring cake that needs a ton of cream to slide down the throat. So, it’s not surprising that the last one I tried was years ago at Starbucks (and that one was not that bad because it has an impressive amount of lubricant).

Years later, on a dark cold winter morning I was drinking my coffee and looking for some challenging cake recipe with a delicious and comforting result. I’ve found this nice and simple Donna Hay’s recipe, made it and was pretty much satisfied with the result. The cake was chewable enough, but it was…. well, basic.

I kept trying to make something more interesting, something more festive, added a kilometre of ingredients so my creation could still be the carrot cake but with a holiday spirit. It was a big hit every time I made it, people kept asking me to share the recipe, so here it is.

Ingredients:

For cake:

  • 600 gr carrots
  • 200 gr plain all-purpose flour
  • 100 gr almond flour
  • 300 gr brown sugar
  • 100 gr honey
  • 60 gr cashews
  • 60 gr walnuts or pecans
  • 60 gr hazelnuts
  • 150 gr plain yoghurt
  • 3 flax eggs (3 tbsp flax meal + 9 tbsp water)
  • 90 ml vegetable oil of your choice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of cardamom
  • 2 tsp vanilla
For icing:

  • 300 gr cream cheese
  • 60 gr butter
  • 60 gr sour cream
  • 60 gr confectioners sugar

For decoration (optional):

  • 8 Oreo cookies
  • 100 gr marzipan
  • orange and green food colouring

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200℃ (400℉).
  2. Prepare your flax eggs by combining flax meal with water in a separate bowl.
  3. Finely chop your carrots and nuts using whatever you like – I like to do it with my KitchenAid chopper.
  4. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl of your mixer and mix it with a paddle attachment until well combined.
  5. Grease a 20-22 cake tin with butter, pour the dough and bake it for about 60 minutes. Cover the tin with foil to prevent burning on the outside and bake for another 30 minutes. Use the common skewer test to check if it’s cooked. Let it cool completely in the tin.
  6. Combine cream cheese, butter, sour cream and confectioners sugar using blender or mixer with whip attachment.
  7. Carefully cut the cooled cake so you get two layers, spread ⅓ part of the icing on the first layer and cover it with the second layer. Use the remaining icing to cover the cake.
  8. Place the cake in a fridge for a couple of hours.
  9. Optional: Grind Oreo cookies using the same chopper to create chocolate “soil”. Sprinkle “soil” over the cake.
  10. Optional: Divide marzipan into two parts. Warm it and soften with your fingers. Add a few drops of orange food colouring to one part and green to another. Knead both pieces (separately) with your hands until the colour is consistent. Shape carrots and leaves and place it into the soil.

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