Last night my parents threw a family party to celebrate our recent engagement.
As befits little loaf household tradition, my Mum made enough savoury food to feed an army (and send them off with doggy bags), my Dad organised some incredible wine and I made dessert. Four different desserts to be precise: salted peanut caramel millionaire’s shortbread, almond treacle tart with clotted cream, vanilla cream meringues with raspberries and hazelnuts and these lovely little carrot cakes, taken from Tom Kitchin’s latest book.
Food was consumed, stories told and a plenty of prosecco flowed. Enough prosecco, in fact, that while I’m basking in the happiness of an unforgettable party and a lot of family love, my body isn’t up to much more than sitting on the sofa and eating carrot cake.
So it’s a short post today, but a very delicious one. If you’ve never made carrot cake with coconut, please do give it a go. The result is moist and light and textured and sweet and ever-so-slightly exotic. Paired with a cream cheese buttercream lifted with a little lime zest and the contrasting crunch of toasted pistachio it’s carrot cake, but not as you know it. It’s delicious. It’s a keeper. And it’s both familiar and exciting at the same time.
Just like getting married, really.
Coconut Carrot Cake with Lime & Pistachio Cream Cheese Frosting (closely adapted from Kitchin Suppers)
(makes one 23cm square cake or 36 party-sized squares)
For the cake
A little butter, for greasing
190g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
95g dessicated coconut
4 medium free range eggs
135ml vegetable oil
190g soft dark brown sugar
400g peeled carrots (about two large carrots), grated
For the frosting
270g cream cheese
230g icing sugar, sifted
225g unsalted butter, softened
Seeds of one vanilla pod, scraped
Zest of half a lime
A handful of pistachios, toasted & roughly chopped
For the cake
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line a 23cm square cake tin.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt. Stir in the dessicated coconut.
Whisk together the eggs, oil and brown sugar until thick and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold in the flour and coconut mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the grated carrot.
Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and the top is slightly golden.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cut into squares of your desired size.
For the frosting
Beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and butter on low speed until just combined. Add the vanilla seeds then increase the speed to high and whip for around 5 minutes until light, fluffy and white.
Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Pipe little swirls of icing onto each square of cake then sprinkle over a little lime zest and some chopped pistachios while still soft. If you like your buttercream with a little more bite, pop into the fridge for 30 minutes or so to firm up.
Serve and enjoy. Prosecco, three other puddings, seconds and thirds entirely optional. Unless at an engagement party.