Adapted from various sources including Orangette and Rachel Allen
The troops and I made this cake this evening for my friend John's birthday...we hope he likes it, he had better!
You will need:
475g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
2 tsp ground ginger
360g light brown sugar
240 mls sunflower oil
4 large eggs
300g carrots, peeled and finely grated
3 eating apples, stewed to make a puree
240g walnuts, pecans or mixed nuts (I used walnuts)
For the topping:
225g mascarpone cheese(this is approx. one tub, take straight from the fridge)
55g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
3tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees
Grease and line 2 x 9" round cake tins and line their bottoms with greaseproof paper and grease the paper again. Butter is fine for greasing.
In a large, clean bowl add the sieved flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Which this well to ensure all the dry ingredients are mixed together.
Stew the apples slowly in a little water with the lid on to make a thin unsweetened apple puree.
Using the beaters, beat the sugar and oil until it is well mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between. Add the apple puree to the mixture.
Then beat in the flour mix a little at a time.
You will have to stop the process every so often to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that you have an even mix. When all the ingredients have been fully incorporated, stir in gently the walnuts/mixed nuts and the carrots.
Divide the batter equally between the cake tins, leaving a few centimetres at the top to allow it room to rise.
Place the tins in the oven and bake for 30 minutes - you will know it is done if you insert a knife and it comes out clean.
When you feel that they are ready, take them out of the oven and leave them on a heat proof surface for 10-15 minutes until they are just cool enough to handle. Turn each tin upside down onto a wire cooling rack and gently peel off the greaseproof paper.
Now make the topping:
In the mixing bowl, beat the butter and the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat on a low speed until its all mixed through. Then add the vanilla essence and lemon juice, tasting as you go. Keep beating on a high speed until all the lumps are removed. Do not be afraid, nothing will happen to this - you will not end up with butter!
When the sponges are completely cold, place on on a cake stand and spread the icing over the top with a knife.
The above recipe will give you two sponges which you can, if you like, layer on top of one another using a layer of icing in the middle to glue them together. Then spread the topping all over the sponge so that no sponge is visible.
You can decorate as you please, maybe with chopped nuts or halved walnuts.
I have not iced my cake yet and will do it tomorrow so at the minute the sponge can be wrapped tightly in cling film and kept in a cool, dry cupboard for a few days before icing. Once iced, keep refrigerated, if it lasts that long!
Happy Birthday John!