Recipe: Carrot Cake by Paul Hollywood

Whether you love to bake or have just watched too much Bake Off, Paul Hollywood is likely a household name for you. And of course, that means that you’ll need to try all of his recipes (like his croissants). Not only are they usually simple staples, but they’re delicious. Now, I have a soft spot for carrot cake, so this is going to be a fun one.

Okay, this one is an easy recipe, don’t get me wrong. But my inner professional says that there has to be more to this. So if you want something that’s a bit more than your usual, everyday carrot cake, stick around to the end. I’ve got a nice little twist coming your way that I think you’ll enjoy.

Now, onto the recipe!

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Carrot Cake by Paul Hollywood – Recipe and Ingredients

As always, the first thing you’ll want to do is prepare. This will make your life drastically easier, both with difficult and easy recipes like this one. To make Paul Hollywood’s carrot cake, you’ll need:

For the cake:

  1. 155 mL sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  2. 230 grams self raising flour
  3. 1 tsp baking powder
  4. 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. .5 tsp each of ginger and allspice
  6. 230 grams light brown muscovado sugar
  7. 1 satsuma or mandarin orange zest, finely grated
  8. 100 grams halved pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts (dealer’s choice).
    1. Paul says pecans, I like walnuts and hazelnuts better. You can even do a mix of the above if you want.
  9. 260 grams coarsly grated carrots
  10. 3 medium eggs, beaten
  11. Baking paper

For the icing:

  1. 50 grams softened butter
  2. 200 grams full-fat cream cheese
  3. 100 grams icing sugar, extra for dusting
  4. 1 orange’s zest, finely grated

For the orange garnish:

  1. 2 oranges
  2. 200 mL water
  3. 200 grams caster sugar

Now, onto the baking!

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Carrot Cake by Paul Hollywood: Recipe

  1. Preheat your oven to 180° C if it’s a fan (convection) oven, 160° C if it’s a gas oven.
  2. Grease an 18 cm loose-bottomed round cake tin and line it with baking paper.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl.
  4. Add the sugar, zest, pecans, and grated carrots, stirring until well combined.
  5. Stir in the beaten eggs and oil, mixing thoroughly.
  6. Pour your batter into the cake tin and bake for one hour, or until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Transfer to a cooling rack, leave for 5 minutes, then turn out and leave to completely cool.
    1. If you ice while it’s hot, the icing won’t stick.

Icing Recipe

  1. Beat your butter in a large stand mixer until soft.
  2. Add cream cheese and beat again until properly mixed.
  3. Sift in the icing sugar, add orange zest, beat until smooth.
  4. Refrigerate.

Garnish Recipe:

  1. Combine your water and sugar in a saucepan, heating on medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the zest, removing the pan from heat.
  3. Allow the sugar syrup to cool with the orange peel in it.

All that’s left is to ice and garnish your cake with your poor man’s candied orange! But what if that feels too… basic? I’ve got good news for you – there’s a twist that’ll drastically elevate this recipe with a few simple steps.

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The Twist

For this twist, we’re leaving the cake alone – Paul is a king amongst men when it comes to cakes. I just feel like his icing and garnish leave a bit to be desired. This icing is going to be slightly different than you’re used to on a carrot cake, but trust me here – it’s deliciously thick, yet fluffy at the same time.

To make the special icing, you’ll need the following:

  1. 1 tub ricotta cheese (400-480 grams)
  2. 70 grams icing sugar
  3. ~130 grams heavy cream (this adds texture to it, so the amount is up to how you like your frosting)
  4. 10 grams fresh coffee grounds
  5. 2 tbsp each of:
    1. Cardamom
    2. Nutmeg
    3. Cinnamon
  6. 1 orange’s zest, finely grated

For the garnish, you’ll need:

  1. 2 orange’s peels, chopped and candied (we’ll get to it)
    1. 380 grams of white sugar for candying
  2. 50-100 grams walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecans, candied (to taste)
    1. 380 grams of brown sugar for candying
    2. 1 tbsp butter (unsalted)
    3. 15 grams brown sugar
  3. 10 grams fresh coffee grounds
  4. 2 tsp cardamom

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The Recipe: Icing

Making the icing is simple. Do the following:

  1. Chill two mixing bowls.
  2. Beat together the ricotta and sugar, at least 5 minutes or until fluffy in one bowl.
  3. Refrigerate the icing in the bowl. Mix in your spices, zest, and coffee
  4. Beat whipping cream in a separate chilled bowl until fluffy.
  5. Combine by folding the two together.

To make the garnish, we’re going to candy a few things. First, the oranges.

The Recipe: Garnish

  1. Cut the peel of your orange into thin strips. Cook in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse, drain, and repeat.
  2. Boil your 2/3 of your candying (regular refined) sugar in equal parts water, stirring over medium heat to dissolve sugar.
  3. Add peel, return to boil.
  4. Reduce heat, simmering until peel is incredibly soft. Roughly 45 minutes. Drain.
  5. Toss the peel in the remaining sugar, transfer to parchment lined baking sheet, freeze.

Now, the walnuts:

As a note, you can adjust this recipe with more or fewer nuts to taste by simply making less syrup. Remember – 1:1 sugar to water ratio.

  1. Bake your nuts on low heat until they are soft – careful not to burn them. This can also be done on the stovetop.
  2. Repeat the syrup process from above – add equal parts sugar and water, stir, bring to boil, simmer until thick.
  3. Toss toasted nuts in syrup, and then again in brown sugar. Freeze.

Now, the fun part! Remove your candied orange and nuts from the freezer.

Combine 2/3 of each with your cardamom and coffee grounds in a blender. Blitz until it’s formed fine dust. Sprinkle the dust and remaining candied peel and nuts on top of the frosting.

Now eat that bad boy!

Final Thoughts

This is a simple recipe that turns complicated if you want a truly delicious garnish and icing. While the traditional cream cheese frosting is delicious, ricotta provides more flavour and a lighter, airier frosting. Add in the (actually candied) peel and nuts, and you’re going to be in heaven.

The addition of a little bit of coffee and spices knocks this recipe up into the highest tier of quality imaginable. While the coffee, orange, and nuts may seem like an odd combination, they’re absolutely delicious when paired with the spiced, light carrot cake that Paul saw fit to gift us. Now dig in!