Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake, moist, cinnamon spiced carrot cake, with added walnuts for crunch and sultanas for sweetness. Topped with lemon scented mascarpone cream cheese and walnuts.
When I crave cake, I really, really C R A V E it!
There are two important points to note:
Firstly I rarely crave cake, maybe once or twice a year – but when I do I have to have it.
Secondly, without exception it HAS to be homemade. Too often I have been let down by supermarket copies, or bakery flops. The only way to satisfy my craving is to bake the cake myself!
Yesterday, the craving hit for carrot cake. I’d been struggling with a migraine all day and wanted to snuggle under the duvet until the pain had passed. During a brief respite in the afternoon I whipped up this Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake in less than 10 minutes.
I have dozens of cookbooks and even have a Crazy Caramel Carrot Cake on here, but in all honesty I didn’t have the patience to trawl through them deciding which cake to make. I knew the flavours I wanted to taste in my head and so I created the recipe as I went along. Fortunately having baked a lot of cakes I did have a rough idea of proportions.
From memory I recalled baking a carrot cake with our youngest daughter, following a school recipe book method. All I could remember was that the recipe used oil! However, I love the flavour that butter imparts to a moist cake, so I added both!
The need for walnuts, both flavour and crunchy texture was prevailent, so I made some walnut flour to boost the nutty flavour within the cake. It’s so easy, just toast the walnuts to bring out their flavour and either pulse in a food processor or use a mini chopper to achieve the desired result. Think ground almonds and you’re spot on.
One of the big problems I find with shop bough carrot cakes is that they are simply too sweet. I’m not talking the frosting or icing, the actual cake itself. Carrots are an inherently sweet vegetable, sultanas plump up and provide natural sweetness, why dump loads of extra sugar in the recipe? Don’t get me wrong there is sugar in this cake. It is there to add sweetness in balance with the other ingredients.
Can you tell that I’m really picky about my carrot cake 😉
Recipe: Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake serve 8-10
100g/4oz Unsalted Butter plus a little extra for greasing the tin.
50g/2oz Sunflower Oil
1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen Massey
150g/5oz Light Soft Brown Sugar
1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon
3 Large Free Range Eggs
150g/5oz Plain White Flour
50g/2oz Walnut Flour – walnuts chopped in a food processor or mini chopper until flour like consistency
2tsp Baking Powder
150g/5oz Grated Carrot
50g/2oz Walnut Pieces – plus extra halves for topping the cake (approx 10)
375g Mascarpone Cheese
2tbsp Icing Sugar – sifted
1/2tsp Lemon Extract – Vanilla Extract can be substituted
Method: Preheat the oven at 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4
- Grease and line the base of loaf tin with baking parchment.
- Place all of the walnuts into a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Shake the pan occasionally and remove from the heat when you can smell the walnuts – approx 3-5 minutes. Tip the walnuts on to a tray so they can cool.
- In a large bowl add the butter and microwave on low until just melted.
- Add in the sunflower oil, sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Whisk for 5 minutes, gradually increasing the speed from low to high.
- Next add all 3 eggs. Continue whisking on high for a further 2 minutes. You want the liquid mixture to be very light and frothy.
- Prepare the 50g of walnut flour by chopping in a mini chopper, or pulsing in a food processor.
- Add the walnut flour, plain flour, cinnamon and baking powder to the bowl – you can sift them in – I didn’t!
- Next add the grated carrots, sultanas and 50g of walnut pieces to the bowl.
- Using a metal spoon fold all of the cake ingredients together until they are fully mixed, taking care not to over mix the batter. Enjoy the gorgeous aroma of cinnamon as you start mixing!
- Tip the loose cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the top.
- Place the cake tin in the centre of the oven and bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Once baked remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes.
- Gently go around the outside rim of the cake with a palette knife to ensure no part of the cake has stuck to the tin.
- Tip the cake out, removing the base layer of baking parchment and allow to fully cool on a cooling rack.
Making the Mascapone Topping
- In a bowl add the mascarpone cream cheese, sifted icing sugar and lemon extract (vanilla if you do not have lemon).
- Whisk on a high speed for 3 minutes until the mascarpone is light and fluffy.
- Dollop the mascarpone cheese on top of the cold carrot cake.
- Using a palette knife spread the mascarpone so that it evenly covers the top of the cake. you can leave the topping smooth or create a pattern with the palette knife.
- Adorn the top of the cake with the saved walnut halves and your Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake is complete.
My suggestion for serving, is, to chill the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes – somehow it just seems to pull the cake together as one and set it – if you can’t wait, don’t worry.
Slice and enjoy with a delightful cup of afternoon tea, preferably made in a pot, it gives the leaves time to release their flavour as well as colour.
I love this pretty tea-for-one set that my hubby bought me for our anniversary. It really does turn a simple slice of cake and cup of tea into a sumptuous afternoon feast.
The Mascarpone Topped Cream Cake absolutely satisfied my cravings. The tiny hint of lemon in the mascarpone is very subtle and works with the nutty, fruity, spiced cake. This may very well be one of THE very best recipes I have come up with so far!
No I’m not egotistical, in fact the very opposite. Many recipes do not make it on to Feasting is Fun as they aren’t good enough. Considering I wasn’t at my best, physically, this cake hits all the right spots. Spiced, crunchy, moist, fruity without tasting like a fruit cake. For me it is perfect.
If you have enjoyed the recipe for this Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake you may also enjoy these:
Any of these delicious cakes would make a wonderful gift to new neighbours, friends who have moved home, even bereaved families. Taking cake to those struggling with grief isn’t necessarily for them to eat. No doubt they will have endless visitors wishing to pay their respects. A slice of cake, that someone has thoughtfully made, served with a cup of tea, may just make the visits more bearable.
The walnuts used in this recipe come from a a very dear friend who has a walnut tree in her garden. My dearest friend passed away a few months ago. Yet making this cake, or cooking using either things she bought me, or those her family have kindly given me, has, in some way, made her passing easier.
Everytime I use her cutters, cake stand, dragee balls or a myriad of other everyday kitchen items, I feel close to her. Remembering her laugh, tinkling across the gardens mid afternoon, or how we finished each other’s sentences. She truly was the very best of people who lived her life to the full, despite becoming a widow at too young an age. Pat was the Green Goddess, my chief taste tester.
This post is dedicated to her and the love she had for people. Life is not about what we do. It is not about who we love. It is indeed about those whose hearts we touch. How much we are loved in return. Please see Important Stuff.