Did you know this about me? When I worry, I bake. And when I’m happy, I bake. (It’s fun being my co-worker and my friend!) I’m always surprised when people say they can’t bake. To me, it’s the most creative, beautiful experience: the warm oven, the anticipation your family feels when they walk through the kitchen, the shared treat at the end, the gifting to people you love.
All of it, for me, is joy.
I know — sugar. But my rationale is this: a cake — like a dress — makes a day special. Put on a dress and people appreciate it. Bake a cake, and people love it. I don’t bake all the time, but when I do, it makes me happy.
So last week: 1980s Carrot Cake…with cream cheese frosting. On Instagram, you said you wanted the recipe.
Yes, it tastes old-fashioned and yes, it uses a tin of crushed pineapple and an entire block of cream cheese. My friend Tammy shared this recipe with me, and I’ve made it twice since.
(To make enough for a layer cake — two round tins)
2 cups grated carrot
400g tin of crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (bi-carb soda here in Australia)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups white sugar
10 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Place all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add eggs and oil, then stir in carrot, pineapple and walnuts. Mix well. Pour into two cake tins, greased and lined on the bottom with baking paper. Bake at 180 C / 350 F for 35 to 40 mins. Test for doneness in your oven! When a toothpick comes out clean, it’s baked. Cool on a rack.
Cream Cheese icing
There’s a trick: soften the cream cheese and the butter! Make sure the butter and cream cheese are really well combined with no lumpy bits.
250g cream cheese (the large block!)
125 g butter
500 g icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Mix the butter and cream cheese well in a mixer. Then add icing sugar and extract and mix until smooth.
Now, the fun part!
I like to cut each cake in two.
Just place Cake #1 on the plate, then slice off the top with a bread knife. Spread some icing on the ‘bottom’ cake half. You don’t need to be perfect, but spread a layer.
Top with the other half of Cake #1.
Spread some icing on top of Cake #1.
Put Cake #2 on top. Slice off the top half of Cake #2, and add a layer of icing, then put the top on.
Then ice the whole thing.
You can try to be perfect here if you want to, but my goal is this.