Thursday, 19 February 2009

Carrot and Pecan Square Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Its half-term this week in the UK, which means kids are at home and no doubt doing their parents heads in. Thankfully my son is 16 and likes to spend his time at the top of the house in his loft room playing Xbox live, PS3 or out with his friends, so it’s not too hard on me these days! Tomorrow we are driving down to Dorset to visit with my sister and her kids and spend the day. I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like because we live over 100 miles from each other, therefore I’m really looking forward to it. Especially seeing my baby niece Leyla whose 7 months and just adorable!! I’ve baked a Carrot and Pecan Square Cake to bring, that’s the thing when you’re a baker, you can’t ever visit family without bringing the bakes! The recipe is yet another great one from Rachel Allen’s Bake and one I couldn’t wait to try. I’m a big fan of Carrot Cake, so this cake was a must try. It’s very similar to a carrot cake with the difference being that it's denser, and richer and uses wholemeal flour. The end result is a gorgeous moist sweet sponge with flecks of carrot and studed with raisins throughout, with the added crunch of pecans. Finished off with the classic luscious cream cheese icing and a sprinkling of pecans!

Carrot and Pecan Square Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Makes 12 to 16 squares

175g wholemeal self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
50g raisins (optional)
150ml sunflower oil
150g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225g finely grated carrots
50g chopped pecans, plus 25g for sprinkling

Cream Cheese Icing
25g butter, softened
75g cream cheese, from the fridge
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
75g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4. Butter the sides of an 8in/20cm square tin, and line the base with parchment paper.Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and spices into a large bowl. Add the raisins (if using) and mix well. Whisk the oil, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla, grated carrot and chopped pecans in a separate bowl, then mix in the flour and spice mixture. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until springy to the touch and a skewer, when inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool, then remove from the tin and place on a serving plate. Make the cream cheese icing: Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together, then gradually add the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Then using a palette knife; spread the icing onto the cooled cake. Sprinkle with additional chopped pecans and cut into squares to serve.


Finla said...

Here to half term holiday starts for my daughter from tomorow, so she will be home for next 10 days. Like you said she is also 16 so no worries.
Cake looks so yumm and love the frosting.

Beth (jamandcream) said...

I have to get around to trying this one Maria. The frosting sounds delicious!

Maria said...

The icing looks excellent! I love carrot cake, I haven't had it in forever!! Oh how I wish I could have a taste!

The Blonde Duck said...

I totally need some of that right now.

Maggie said...

This carrot cake looks wonderful. I have found that using wholemeal self-raising flour really does make a difference to carrot cake.

Reeni said...

What a lovely and decadent cake! It looks so scrumptious. Enjoy your visit!

The Girl said...

That cream cheese icing looks lovely. Would it be wrong of me to just make that and eat it without the cake?!

Knittings Nice! said...

Oh that looks scrumptious.

Nic said...

Delicious, especially the topping!
Mine are 15 and 18 and keep to themselves in half term - thank goodness for the games stations eh?!!
Have a great time with your sister.

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

Maria it looks scrumptious! I love carrot cake too.

Gigi said...

ooo, this sounds like a great cake to have with a cup of coffee. YUM!

Katie said...

I love carrot cake and this one sounds delicious.

Sally said...

Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum. Lookin'good kiddo!
There's an award over on my blog for you.

Kelly-Jane said...

I've just eaten breakfast, and I tell you I *need* a square of this, it looks gorgeous!

Anne said...

Ooh that sounds and looks delicious, I love carrot cake and pecans so is perfect treat! :)

Maria♥ said...

Thanks everyone as always for all your kind words!