Carrot and Walnut Cake, by Hetty Kitt of Hetty’s Tea Party

The carrot cake that fueled my marriage and started my business

I never actually used to like carrot cake…It seems a funny thing to
admit now that this is one of my favorite, most used recipes. I
couldn’t get my head around a vegetable in a cake, I thought it would
taste earthy and strange. Little did I know what I was missing out on!

The first time I tried a carrot cake was at a little Café in Bath with
my husband Craig, whilst we were dating at University. It was a soggy
grey day and we stumbled into the café for a bit of warmth and
something to do. It was Craig who had ordered the carrot cake, and it
was really just the thick lemony cream cheese icing that caught my
interest initially (I had recently been making red velvet cupcakes and
so was having a bit of a moment with cream cheese frosting). Much to
Craig’s annoyance I asked to try a bite, and I loved it! It was
nothing at all like the strange and earthy taste I thought it would
be. It was sweet and spiced, damp and delicious! And the sweetness
worked so well with that tangy lemon icing. I had to learn how to make
this cake!

The recipe below is an adaptation of my cousin Kate’s recipe, who in
turn got this from a friend of hers. You know you have a good recipe
when it’s done the rounds a bit! This recipe is the same one that I
sell on my market stall, it’s been on the menu since I started Hetty’s
Tea Party in 2011. It has been the recipe that I have made for Craig
nearly every birthday since that first time in Bath. It seems rather
fitting then that this cake ended up as our wedding cake. The smell of
it baking always makes me a little nervous and excited at the same
time as it brings back all of those memories of rushing to finish off
the cake before Craig got home from work on his birthday, or from my
midnight baking days when I had to try and top up my market stall for
the next day after a successful days sales.

There are a few additions you can make to the basic recipe for this
cake depending on your taste preferences. I have included the
additions for the version I sell in a loaf cake on my stall as well as
the additions I made for my wedding cake. This can also be made dairy
free if you make a simple icing out of lemon juice&icing sugar instead
of the cream cheese version.

> Carrot and walnut Cake
> Can be made in a large 2lb loaf tin or in 2x deep 8 inch round tins
> Plain flour 2 cups
> Bicarbonate of soda 2 tsp
> Caster sugar 2 cups
> Salt .5 tsp
> Rapeseed oil 1 cup
> Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
> Ground ginger 1 tsp
> Eggs 4
> Grated carrot 2 cups
> Walnut pieces ½ cup
> Raisins (optional) ½ cup
> Optional Additions
> (for my wedding cake version)
> Pistachios/pecans ½ cup
> Orange and lemon zest 1 of each
> Icing
> Icing sugar 150g
> Butter 25g
> Cream cheese (full fat) 65g
> Lemon/orange juice Squeeze
> Cinnamon for dusting sprinkle
> 1. Preheat oven to 160c
> 2. Grease (oil) and line tins, either large 2lb loaf tin or 2x deep 8
> inch rounds
> 3. In the biggest mixing bowl add flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda
> (makes a more moist and darker cake than baking powder) and spices all
> together and whisk through by hand to blend together.
> 4. Add oil and fold through
> 5. Add eggs and fold through
> 6. Add grated carrots (its approximately 1 large carrot per cup), add
> nuts and zest and raisins if using and fold through.
> 7. Bake until the middle bounces back when touched with your finger
> and cocktail stick comes out clean. Round cakes take around 20/25
> minutes, loaf cakes take around 45 minutes
> 8. Leave to cool completely before icing (see next page for method)
> Cream cheese icing
> Icing single double
> Icing sugar 150g 300g
> Butter 25g 50g
> Cream cheese (full fat) 65g 125g
> Lemon/orange juice Squeeze Squeeze
> Cinnamon for dusting sprinkle Sprinkle
> (use single batch for a single loaf cakes and double batch for a
> round layer cake)
> 1. Beat icing sugar with butter on a slow speed for a few minutes
> until sandy, any visible lumps of butter will result in lumpy icing so
> make sure its well mixed.
> 2. Add cream cheese slowly, scrape down the bowl then turn up to a
> high speed for 20 seconds then add 1-2tsp lemon juice to flavour and
> loosen a little. Be careful not to add too much, you don’t want a
> runny cream cheese frosting, desired consistency is thick and
> spreadable
> For round cake: Add half icing in the middle and half on top of cake
> then dust a rim of cinnamon around the edge of the cake and top with
> nuts. I like to leave circular marks in icing with palate knife making
> it look whippy and thick.
> For loaf cake: Ice on top of cake leaving nice wiggle marks with the
> palate knife then dust a strip of cinnamon down the middle and top
> with nuts.