Easter Carrot Cake with Cranberries and Pecans

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It’s officially T-5 days until Chocolate Bunny Day! The shops have been filled with chocolate eggs, bunnies and chicks along with mountains of hot cross buns since January but we’ve managed so far to resist temptation….until this weekend. We finally caved in and bought little bags of Mini Eggs and mini Creme Eggs and well, it’s proving to be a slippery slope. Every day we seem to be telling ourselves, “Noooo chocolate, nooooo sugar I mean it this time….oh go on then, it’s nearly Easter.” Anyone else have this dangerous problem?

Anyway, as well as upping your consumption of the above treats, Easter is a perfect excuse for carrot cake. It’s a cake made for springtime – less of the stodge, more of a sweet, light sponge full of carrot-y goodness (and er, sugar). It also makes total sense. Easter is all about bunnies. Bunnies eat carrots. Therefore, so should we…in cake form. (See?) We’ve also added tangy cranberries and chopped pecans to keep it interesting! And literally the icing on the cake – a soft, whipped cream cheese frosting (what’s worse than hard frosting?)

Make this today…go on, it’s Easter.

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Makes around 18 squares

Cake:
2 cups plain flour
1 and 3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup dark brown soft sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 medium eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Icing:
200g cream cheese (like Philadelphia)
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
Mini Eggs for decorating (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C (fan assisted).
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl – flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger.
  3. Add the eggs one by one, the oil, buttermilk and vanilla and mix thoroughly until incorporated.
  4. Add the grated carrot, coconut, cranberries and pecans and mix until incorporated.
  5. Pour the mixture into a lined rectangular baking tin (we used one that doubles up as a roasting tin).
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. It’s important to keep an eye on the cake for the last 5 minutes, you don’t want to overbake it!
  7. In the meantime, beat the cream cheese and butter together to get a smooth mixture, without lumps. (Easier said than done – we use our trusty KitchenAid to do the job!)
  8. Carefully add the icing sugar to the mixture and mix slowly. You will soon have a smooth frosting. If you’d like the frosting to be thicker, feel free to add icing sugar little by little to achieve the desired thickness.
  9. Take out the cake from the oven and leave to cool in its tin for about 30 minutes. Then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Frost the cake generously and cut into squares. Decorate with Mini Eggs if you wish!
  11. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight tin for up to 3 days.

So what do you think? Feel free to share your questions and comments below! We’d love to hear what you have to say.

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