carrot & pecan cake
 

Serves 10 people

300g soft unsalted butter
350g soft light-brown sugar
3 large free-range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
225g peeled carrots, half coarsely grated, half finely grated
100g desiccated coconut
Zest of 1 orange
100g tinned pineapple in juice, drained, chopped and crushed
200g chopped pecans (half for topping)
100g sultanas

topping
50g soft unsalted butter
300g sieved icing sugar
Zest of 1 orange
100g full-fat cream cheese

Grease and line a loose-bottomed deep-sided 23cm cake tin with parchment paper. Heat the oven to 140C (160C non-fan).

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until
combined. If it starts to curdle, add a little flour.

Fold in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and mix until combined. Mix in the grated carrots, coconut, orange zest and pineapple with a little juice. Fold in half the pecans and the sultanas.

Pour the batter into the greased and lined tin and level the top with a spatula. Place in the oven for 60-90 minutes — if the top starts to brown too much, cover with foil. It's cooked when you can insert a skewer in the middle and it comes out clean. Cool in the tin.

for the topping
Place the soft butter in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add the icing sugar a little at a time, followed by the zest. Finally, mix in the cream cheese a little at a time until the mix is smooth, light and not too runny — you may not need all of it. Be careful not to overmix.

Spread the cream-cheese frosting over the whole cake - top and sides - with a palette knife. Put the remaining pecans in a frying pan and toast lightly until golden brown. Once cooled, chop into small pieces and, using your hands, press the nuts around the sides of the cake only.