CARROT CAKE WITH WALNUT PRALINE
This cake can be made a few days in advance and kept wrapped in greaseproof paper in an airtight tin. Alternatively freeze the plain cake layers for up to 3 months.
Only make the cream on the day you intend to serve the cake. Any leftover cake should be stored in the fridge, but will taste better when brought to room temperature for eating. For best results add the praline to the cake just before serving. Any extra praline can be stored in a small box in the freezer for later use.
30 minutes prep + overnight soaking of sultanas
Bake - 30 minutes
For the cake:
- 260g plain flour
- 80g ground almonds
- 1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- Pinch of sea salt
- 180g soft brown sugar
- Zest of 1 orange
- 50g walnuts, finely chopped
- 200g coconut oil, melted and cooled to a liquid
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 250g / approximately 3 large carrots, peeled and grated 100g sultanas soaked overnight in 40ml rum
For the frosting:
- 350g mascarpone
- 400ml double cream
- 50g walnuts
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
For the praline:
- 50g walnuts
- 50g caster sugar
- 25ml water
1 - Place the sultanas in a small bowl and cover with 40ml of rum, leave overnight or for 4-6 hours until all liquid has been absorbed.
2- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 20 cm loose bottomed cake tins. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.
3 - If the coconut oil is solid, melt it gently in a bowl placed over a pan of hot water or in the microwave for 10 seconds. Allow to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl stir the cooled melted coconut oil with the beaten egg. Add this ‘wet’ bowl to the ‘dry’ bowl and stir together. Add the rum soaked sultanas and grated carrot and mix well to combine all the ingredients.
4 - Divide the cake mixture equally between the two cake tins, smoothing the cake batter into the tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a cake skewer comes out clean.
5 -Once baked let the cakes sit in the tins for 5-10 minutes then carefully remove and place on a cooling rack.
6 - While the cakes are cooling, make the praline. In a saucepan over a medium heat, melt the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved, avoid using a spoon but shake the pan gently to mix the sugar in the water. Watch carefully as the sugar syrup starts to turn a golden colour, be careful not to let it burn. When the syrup is a deep golden amber colour turn off the heat and add the walnuts, using a wooden spoon to mix them into the caramel syrup until they are all completely covered. Tip the caramel walnuts onto a baking tray or large plate lined with greaseproof paper, spreading them out in an even thin layer. Put to one side to cool completely.
Whip the mascarpone, cream, icing sugar and vanilla paste together in a bowl until thickened and forming soft peaks, but try not to over whip. Using a piping bag or palette knife, smooth the whipped cream in between the cake layers and smooth over the top and sides, scraping surplus away if wanting to create a ‘semi naked’ cake style.
Sprinkle the praline on the top.