We’re big bakers at Neptune. It’s such a cathartic pastime to do by yourself but equally can become one full of laughter when children are taking part. An Easter cake is absolutely always something that we’ll make, usually on Good Friday so we can nibble our way through it all weekend long. And we’ll usually make two: one for the grown-ups (perhaps a classic Simnel cake) and one for the little people in your life (miniature lemon Victoria Sandwich cakes are always well-received). But this year, we decided to go with carrot cake: one version packed with chunky nuts and rum-soaked raisins, and one slightly simpler and alcohol-free for children. You can find the recipe below:
What you’ll need
For the sponges
300g butter melted
300g soft light brown sugar
400g self-raising flour we used wholemeal
300g carrots peeled and finely grated
150g pecans or walnuts lightly toasted and chopped
120ml dark rum
6 free-range eggs
2 oranges zested
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
For the icing
300g full-fat cream cheese
100g light brown soft sugar
1 lemon zested
What to do
1 If you can, soak your sultanas in a spiced dark rum the night before you bake so they absorb the flavour and become lovely and plump. If not, a few hours before you bake will do the trick.
2 Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark four and line four 18cm sandwich tins.
3 Add your melted butter, sugar and eggs to a large mixing bowl and beat thoroughly until the mixture is smooth and glossy. It should almost double in size.
4 Next, sift in the flour, bicarb, salt and spices, gently folding them into your mixture, followed by the grated carrot and orange zest. Then, pour half of your cake batter into two of the tins to make your children’s carrot cake and set aside.
5 Drain the sultanas and add them into your remaining cake mixture along with your choice of lightly toasted nuts. Divide the batter into the other two sandwich tins before putting them all into the oven to cook at the same time.
6 Bake for 20–30 minutes, checking that your cakes are cooked through by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean, you’re ready. The adult carrot cake will most likely take a little longer to cook as the mixture is much denser.
7 While your cakes are baking and cooling, make your cream cheese icing by beating all of the ingredients together. Keep the frosting in the fridge until your cakes have completely cooled. Put a thin layer of frosting in the centre of each of your sandwich cakes, and then cover the exterior of the entire cake in another layer. If you prefer yours thick, you may need to make an extra batch.
8 Finally, add your choice of seasonal decorations to the top of your cake, from a heap of mini chocolate eggs to iced marzipan Easter characters.