Sunday 1 November 2015

Chocolate orange carrot cake

I’ve never baked (or indeed seen, or eaten) a chocolate carrot cake before.  It seemed the perfect cake given the increasingly autumnal feel in the air – soft sponge with chocolate and spice; it would be a good Bonfire Night cake too.  Funny how we associate flavours with seasons/events.

Being a carrot cake this is a very light sponge.  The brown sugar adds a caramel sweetness which always works well with spice.  The cocoa adds a chocolately depth.  The sultanas are entirely optional but, in my world, always make everything better so I added some!  I ‘ummed and aaaaahed’ over whether to make this as a single sponge or to make as a sandwich style cake.  In truth, I think it would work as either, but I was in the mood for a little cream cheese frosting so whipped up an orange one to compliment the zest in the cake.

I like it when bakes evolve like this, with a series of little decisions being made along the way to create the finished item.  This was a very popular cake and something a little bit different which, 8 years into my blog, feels increasingly difficult to achieve!

The flavours of this cake work well together but all remain identifiable because they hit your palate at different times.  The initial hit is the chocolate sweetness; this is cleaned away by the sharp cream cheese frosting and you are left with a fruit orange spice flavour.  It comes in three distinct waves.  Once I spotted this I took my time over each mouthful (unlike me) and ticked the stages of flavour off each time...this is how I entertain myself!

Mr CC was very sceptical about this cake initially.  When I said to him I was making a chocolate orange carrot cake he gave me a look which I can only describe as a ‘what you talking bout Willis?’ look (a reference that you will need to be a certain age to get!) but, when he tasted it, he really liked it!


For the sponge:
280g soft light brown sugar
200g self raising flour
80g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Optional: 50g sultanas
zest of 1 orange (save the rest of the orange for the buttercream)
4 eggs
200ml sunflower oil – or any flavourless oil, I used light olive oil suitable for baking
100ml milk
200g carrots, grated – this equates to approx 3 medium carrots

For the buttercream:
350g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
160g icing sugar
1 -2 tablespoons orange juice

To decorate: chocolate sprinkles


Preheat the oven to 180C/fan oven 160C/350F/gas mark 4.

Line two 20cm loose bottomed round sandwich tins with baking paper.

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together e.g. light brown sugar, self raising flour, cocoa, bicarb, mixed spice, cinnamon and – if using - sultanas.

Place all the wet ingredients in a large jug e.g. orange zest, eggs, oil, milk and carrots and beat together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together.

Divide equally between the cake pans.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes (start checking after 30 minutes) or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tins, on a wire rack, for about 30 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely.

Now make the filling: Beat the cream cheese and butter until soft, light and whippy.

Add the icing sugar and beat well.

Add the orange juice – start with just one tablespoon – and beat until you have a light, spreadable buttercream.  Add more orange juice if required.

Place one sponge on the serving plate and spread about 1/3 of the buttercream over the top.

Place the remaining sponge on top.

Cover the top and sides with the frosting.

Cover the top with chocolate sprinkles.

Refrigerate until about 20 minutes before serving.

Serve in generous slices with a cup of tea.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Angie's Recipes said...

I love the smooth and light crumb of your chocolate cake and I always have a weakness for cream cheese frosting. A perfect combo for a chocolate treat.

Baking Addict said...

I've not had a chocolate carrot cake either and it sounds delicious.Definitely bookmarking to try!

MuchRatherBake said...

Wow this is impressive. And I love your description of the different flavours hitting the palette at different times. Sounds lovely.

Choclette said...

Gosh that's terrible, how come I've never made a chocolate carrot cake before? I just had to go and check and I was right. I've made mini carrot cakes with chocolate chips, but that is not at all the same thing. You beat me to it CC ;)

Cakelaw said...

Yum, Jaffa carrot cake sounds devine to me.

Maggie said...

I too have never come across a chocolate carrot cake before but that's the great thing about blogging we learn new things everyday!

Snowy said...

How unusual; it looks and sounds delicious.

United Cakedom said...

I would never have thought of a chocolate carrot cake it doesn't sound like something that would mix. But saying that I tried a chocolate cinnamon cake once and found it to be amazing after I thought it could be iffy. Carrot cakes generally have cinnamon so I can see where this cake is going!

It is funny how we associate smells and flavors with different seasons and holidays!

Anonymous said...

The cake looks amazing, I would dig in right now! And chocolate flavour in a carrot moist sponge… plus cream cheese frosting! I don't think it can get better. It goes straight to my to-do list!

Gluten Free Alchemist said...

Great combo! New one on me, but sounds like it is delicious! Would happily devour a few slices if it came my way x
Carrot cake, spices and cream cheese frosting all seem to be big at this time of year.... I wonder how many of us would make the same cake in June?

Janine said...

Looks and sounds amazing!

Cakeyboi said...

I would never have thought of combining those flavours CC - but they do sound rather good together!

Penelope Sanchez said...

That's a great cake and I love a cake with good texture too. This cake has a great combination of really yummy ingredients.

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