Beautiful, crunchy, red seasonal carrots tempted me yet again to make a nicely spiced, moist cake, made with generous amount of freshly grated carrots and topped with homemade cream cheese frosting. If you are one of those people who have never baked a carrot cake or never eaten a vegetable (carrot or pumpkin) cake, you must be wondering if it tastes good. Rest assured that carrots totally blend in to the cake once it is baked and tastes wonderful. I still cannot forget the taste of the carrot cake that my mother use to bake when we were kids, it just melted away in our mouth. Carrot Cake brings back nostalgic recollections.

As for many people, winters arrive with Gajjar Ka Halwa and Gajrella, winters are incomplete for my family without the carrot cake. The recipe was passed on from my mother who has been baking it for years. Earlier I used to make it with white sugar. Although there is nothing wrong with using white sugar, I have learned by experiment that using brown sugar instead of white sugar yields a much softer and moist cake. I must admit that I love using brown sugar in my cakes. I also add some yogurt as it adds even more moisture to the cake and cupcakes. You can use any yogurt that is conveniently available to you. Hence for me the secret behind the perfect carrot cake is brown sugar and yogurt.

I ended up icing the carrot cake with a classic cream cheese frosting swirled on top and sprinkled some walnuts to give it a good finish. However, honestly, this is cake can do on its own. Also, the carrot cake tastes best the next day. This is the first time I made it for Ali, and he just fell in love with it.  This is a sweet way to convince everyone that they are eating healthy ingredients in a dessert.  As Ghalib (a poet) beautifully narrated… dil kay behlnay ko Ghalib yeh khayal acha hai…

Ingredients:

  • Butter – 6 oz
  • Brown Sugar – ¾ cup
  • Eggs - 2
  • Flour – 1 ½ cup
  • Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Vanilla Essence – ½ teaspoon
  • Salt – ¼ teaspoon
  • Nutmeg – ¼ teaspoon
  • Cinnamon Powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Yogurt – ¼ cup
  • Carrots – 1 cup, freshly grated
 Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Sugar - 2 cup, finely powdered
  • Butter – ½ cup
  • Cream cheese – 8 oz, room temperature
  • Cream – 4 oz, whipped into firm peaks
  • Vanilla essence - ¼ teaspoon
  • Preparation time : 40 minutes
  • Cooking time : 40 minutes

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven at 180 C.
  • In a large bowl mix cream butter and brown sugar together. Once creamy add yogurt, beat well for another minute.
  • Add eggs and vanilla essence, one at a time, in the butter mixture. Beat until eggs are evenly mixed. Don’t over beat at this stage.
  • In a separate bowl sieve all dry ingredients and add alternatively with carrots in the batter. Fold the flour & carrots in the batter with a spatula or wooden spoon, don’t use egg beater for mixing in flour.
  • Grease and flour the spring form tin and pour the batter in the cake tin and bake at 180 C for 30 – 40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean from the center.
  • Remove from oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until soft and thoroughly mixed.
  • Add finely powdered sugar and beat until thick and firm.
  • Lastly add the whipped cream and vanilla essence and beat on medium speed for another two minutes. Add more sugar if desired thickness is not achieved. Too much sugar, right? The trick is add ¼ salt to cut the sweetness
  • Decorate the cake with cream cheese frosting and walnuts. Store

Fatima Ali

I am trained to be an IT professional. I served National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) for six years after graduating from the same university. As long as I can remember, cooking good food has been my passion and it makes me happy. My cooking lessons were a bit unusual though. Back in the day when digital did not mean much, my father would record cooking shows (knorr ka kitchen, kaukab khuwaja and Zee Khana Khazana – Chef Sanjeev Kapoor) for me to watch endless times later on, before trying the recipes out. I would make brownies and cold cake almost every day while my mother was asleep. This was my way of surprising her every evening. My mother cooks amazing food too and I have tried many of the recipes written in her recipe book. I draw inspiration from a number of chefs from televised cooking shows such as Late Chef Farah, Chef Rahat, Chef Mehboob, BBC Food, Masala TV, Chef Shai, Chef Sharmeen, Master Chef Australia and my ultimate favorite Chef Shireen Anwer. I would not be as good a cook I am now without passive guidance from each one of these.