As with a heap of the recipes on here, this is a more-is-more kind of recipe. I just couldn’t find a recipe with enough stuff in it, and for me, a carrot cake should have pineapple, sultanas, nuts and some great spices, minimum. This recipe is loosely based on a breakfast muffin (hence the oats), which also keeps it good and moist.
For the muffin
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup oats (not instant of quick cooking)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil (you can swap this out for plain natural yogurt, works well)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 x 225 gram can crushed pineapple (if you can’t get that – as I’m finding in the UK - just get normal pineapple in a can and resign yourself to cutting it up best you can)
1 1/2 cups grated carrot (about 2 medium carrots)
1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
For the icing
½ cup light cream cheese
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups icing sugar (approx.)
Orange or lemon rind (optional)
Method for muffin
Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.
Whisk flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl stir brown sugar, egg, oil, vanilla essence and milk until well combined. Stir in pineapple, carrots and raisins.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until moist.
Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and muffins are golden and spring back when pressed. Makes 12
Cool on wire rack. Once completely cooled, spread on icing.
Method for icing
Mix cream cheese, salt and vanilla essence with a fork, then keep adding icing sugar until it’s thick enough to hold its own shape. You’ll end up adding over a cup and a half of icing sugar. A small amount of orange or lemon rind makes the icing extra special.
Healthy? You’ve got a couple of options, without the walnuts and icing, they come in at 190 (and 155 if you swap oil for natural yogurt). Otherwise they’re about 290 as written above, with a good generous serve of the icing, which is how I usually make them. They’re super filling!
Gluten free? I’ve made these with GF flour and GF oats and you never would have known the difference. They adapt really well.
Storage: They freeze well, icing and all. Otherwise keep in airtight container and are best eaten in two days.
Do: Eat the leftover icing and feel sick for doing it. It’s still worth it. Or, the icing freezes well if you make too much – as I often do. Then you have some stored for next time.