I always like to make a cake whenever we have a family gathering. My family isn't very big so I always have loads left over and never know what to do with it - this occasion was no different! For Easter I decided to make a lovely carrot cake with meringue icing and thought I'd share the recipe with you! It looks amazing and is dead easy so definitely worth a shot!
First things first preheat the oven to 180c or 160 in a fan or gas mark 4!
Then in a bowl, beat together 200ml of vegetable oil, 3 medium eggs and 300g of light brown sugar. You could do this with an electric thing but it doesn't take very long so a fork works fine...
Scrub and grate 600g of carrots and fold them into the sugary mixture. This might seem like quite a lot of carrot but it's what keeps the cake moist so it's good to have a lot
In a separate bowl, sift 280g of self raising flour. You then need to add 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda, 1tsp of cinnamon and 1tsp of mixed spices. (You can also add the zest of one orange but I didn't have any...so I didn't bother)
Add 150g of chopped nuts to the flour mixture. This should be a good mixture of nuts, the recipe suggests pecans and walnuts. These can be quite pricey so if you're doing this on a student budget (like me) then you can buy bags of anonymous 'chopped nuts' which work just as well...
Then add 150g of mixed dried fruit (such as cherries, sultanas or raisins...I again just bought a bag of 'mixed fruit' to cut down on price). It's important to make sure that the fruit and the nuts get completely covered in flour otherwise they will just sink to the bottom and make the cake sad!
Stir the flour mixture into the carroty mixture. It's best to do this in three batches to make sure it all gets stirred in properly and you don't end up with any floury lumps in your cake
Split the mixture between two 20cm tins and bake at 180c for 40 minutes (or until a skewer can be poked in and removed cleanly). When the cakes are done, take them out and leave them in the tins for 15mins. Then remove them from the tins and allow them to cool fully on wire racks.
To make the meringue frosting;
Put a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Then, in the bowl over the heat, whisk together 6 egg whites, 300g of sugar and a vanilla pod (or vanilla essence). Whisk this mixture together until it forms 'stiff peaks' in the bowl. Whilst the mixture is still warm spread it all over the cake making little points all over it...that just makes it look nicer...
(If you wanna cheat you can just buy a jar of Marshmallow Fluff as it tastes basically the same but stickier...up to you really)
Now for the fun bit...if you want to make your meringue icing look a bit fancier and taste a bit chewier then give it a blast with a blow torch! This bit is completely optional but it does make the cake look a whole lot more impressive!
Et voila a lovely carrot cake...perfect for spring!