Carrot cake is made even better with walnut praline and, of course, dollops of deliciously creamy cream cheese.
4 free-range eggs, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 cups grated carrot
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup caster sugar
375 g cream cheese, chopped, room temperature
75 g unsalted butter, chopped, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar mixture
- Grease two 22cm round cake pans. Line the bases and sides with baking paper.
- Beat eggs, sugar and oil in a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment for about 5 minutes, or until thick and pale. Fold in combined sifted flour, bicarb soda and cinnamon. Stir in walnuts, then carrot. Divide between pans. Smooth tops.
- Cook in a moderately slow oven (160C) for about 30 minutes, or until cooked when tested. Remove from oven. Stand in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool.
- To make praline, place walnuts on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Cook in a moderate oven (180C) for about 6 minutes, or until toasted. Remove.
- Place sugar and 1/3 cup of water in a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil. Boil, without stirring, for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Immediately pour over the walnuts on tray. Stand at room temperature until set. Break into large shards. Place in a large snap-lock bag. Seal. Place a tea towel on snap-lock bag. Using a rolling pin, gently pound until coarsely crushed.
- To make frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in same, clean bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until smooth and thick.
- Sandwich cakes together with ½ cup of the frosting. Spread remaining frosting over top and side of cake. Press crushed praline around the side