The other day, I received a random facebook message from Rachel, another food-loving friend of mine. This came across as a bit strange since we haven't spoken for a while. "I love Bourke Street Bakery!" it read, "and their pork and fennel sausage roll is AMAZING!"
I completely understood her need to extol the virtues of Bourke Street Bakery - the first time I tasted their strawberry vanilla brulee tart I was telling anyone who would listen how awesome their stuff was. I was so sad when their store in Broadway closed because I used to visit their frequently for post-uni pastries and other carb-laden goodies.
When I came across this fluffy looking carrot cake on Almost Bourdain and saw that it was a Bourke Street Bakery recipe, I had to make it just to get another taste of that BSB awesomeness. And it didn't disappoint - it was a light and moist cake with bags of flavour and of course it just gets better with lashings of cream cheese frosting and candied walnuts. This may just be the best carrot cake ever.
Carrot Cakefrom Almost Bourdain, adapted from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook
70 g (2 1/2 oz) walnuts
150 g (5 1/2 oz / 1 cup) self-raising flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
55 ml (1 3/4 fl oz / about 2) egg whites
60g (2 1/4 oz / 1/4 cup) sugar for egg whites
1 egg yolk
160g (5 3/4 oz / 3/4 cup) sugar for egg yolks
170 ml (5 1/2 fl oz / 2/3 cup) extra light olive oil
125 g (4 1/2 oz) carrots, peeled and grated
Cream Cheese Frosting:
20 g (3/4 oz / 1 tsp) icing (confectioners') sugar (I used about 40g coz I like it sweet =P)
20 g (3/4 oz / 1 tbsp) butter, softened
145 g (5 1/4 oz) cream cheese (preferably Neufchatel)
40 ml (1 1/4 fl oz / 2 tbsp) pouring (whipping) cream (35% fat)
candied walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF). Grease an 18 cm (7 inch) round cake tin and line the base and side with baking paper - the paper should protrude about 2.5 cm (1 inch) above the tin.
2. Place the walnuts on a baking tray and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly roasted. Cool and cut into thirds. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt into a bowl. Repeat to ensure they are evenly mixed.
3. Put the egg whites in a very clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks start to form. Slowly pour in the sugar for the egg whites, while the motor is still running, being careful not to overmix - the meringue should reach soft peak stage. Quickly transfer the meringue to another bowl and set side until needed.
4. Put the egg and egg yolk in the bowl of the electric mixer and add the sugar for the egg yolks. Mix on high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture doubles in volume and is quite airy. With the motor still running, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream being careful that it doesn't split or deflate too much.
5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture until combined. Fold in the carrots and walnuts. Quickly and lightly fold in the meringue - do not fold it through completely, you should still be able to see streaks of meringue through the mix.
6. Pour into the preapred tin and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into centre of the cake comes out clean. You may need to drop the oven temperature to 180ºC (350ºF) after the first 30 minutes if the top is browning too quickly. (I cooked my cake at 180ºC for the whole duration and it was still burnt, so it depends on your oven.)
7. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting. Cream the icing sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and smooth. Add the cream cheese in small amounts, allowing it to completely incorporated before adding the rest. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl during this process to ensure even mixing. Add the cream and mix until smooth, being careful not to overmix at this stage or the cream may curdle and separate. If using a different type of cream cheese for this recipe you may need to add a little more cream - the frosting needs to be of a spreadable consistency but not at all runny.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Spread the cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of the cake, and top with candied walnuts.