Can I say? This cake is one of the most delicious cakes that has left the Bakestarters test kitchen.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Western carrot cakes – not because they’re not tasty, but simply because they’re not as common a sight as desserts such as chocolate cake.
Like our other baking kits, this one went through rigorous testing before we found a recipe we enjoy, and that we think you’ll love too!
The initial idea was to bake them as cupcakes. We shared it on our Instagram stories and put it to a vote, and it seemed that you guys prefer layer cakes baking kits instead of cupcakes, so a two-tiered layered cake it is! Check out attempt #1 of our carrot cake recipe below, sans frosting.
For our first test, we used a mixture of both oil and butter, with a higher ratio of oil to butter. However, the cake turned out slightly dense and gummy, instead of the moist and tender crumb we were looking for.
Our suspicion was that there was too much liquid in the cake – the water given out by the carrots along with the higher proportion of liquid oil to butter weighed the cake down, making it heavy and giving it a texture similar to huat kueh.
Even though carrot cakes are traditionally made with oil, we found that using a combination of both fats gave our carrot cake the best flavour and texture.
Here’s how both kinds of fat contribute to your final cake product.
We love how creaming the butter and sugar till light and fluffy helps to lighten and aerate the whole cake!
Tip: When folding in your dry ingredients/the shredded carrots, do it in light and quick motions. Fold, instead of mixing vigorously. This will prevent you from deflating the air bubbles that have been already been created in the batter!
Some prefer to bake the entire batter in one pan, then slicing the baked cake into half, but we find that baking in two separate cake layers yield a moister crumb within, and has less risk of drying out the cake.
Quick Hack: To get even amounts of cake batter in your pans without a scale, you can simply alternate the addition of batter from one pan to another (watch the tutorial video to see how we did it). This trick can be used for portioning other cake/muffin/brownie batters too!
We used two round pans to make this cake, although I can definitely imagine it being made in square tins!
For maximum efficiency, we generally test multiple batches of frosting while our cake layers bake and cool. Since we get many requests for frosting that's less sweet, our main goal for the first test-batch of frosting was to whip up a frosting that's stable enough to frost, without overdoing it on the sugar levels. Eventually, we settled on a frosting that used only 70g of confectioners' sugar, but was still of a consistency suitable for frosting!
Chef's note: Because we use French butter in our frosting for this kit, the higher butterfat to water content helps to make the frosting more stable without requiring as much sugar. In fact, to help with stability, some frostings in Singapore are actually made with shortening.
Assembly & Decoration
We settled on a simple but rustic frosting mainly because it's easy to replicate. Armed with an offset spatula (you can bundle it along with the baking kit if you like), we decorated the top of the cake with some horizontal swirls, and evened out the frosting on the sides. We were pretty happy with the end result!
To me, the best part about baking something from scratch is having the freedom to customise it in any way I like. If you prefer your cake to be semi-naked and more rustic, simply spread less frosting on the sides and scrape the excess out to leave the cake sides peeking out. If you prefer a more well-dressed version, simply pile on the frosting at the sides!
For the finishing touch, we went for the classic design and placed walnuts around the perimeter of the cake so that we'd have a crunch in every slice! I have to say it worked pretty well here.
Six carrot cakes later... The version we settled on as pictured above. Look at the moist crumbs in each layer, and how silky and luscious the tangy cream cheese frosting is! Now that I'm done with detailing our carrot cake test sessions, I'm going to reward myself with some... Yep, you guessed it.