Carrot cake recipe from the Finch Bakery sisters, Great Harwood

Finch Bakery carrot cake

Finch Bakery carrot cake - Credit: Jessica Griffiths

A new book by baking sensations the Finch sisters Rachel and Lauren Finch from Great Harwood reveals 75 of their favourite recipes.
The sisters started with a range of cup cakes made in their parents' kitchen at home in Wilpshire but they now have a huge following for their incredible creations.

The Finch Bakery book is out now

The Finch Bakery book is out now - Credit: Dorling Kindersley


Finch Bakery: Sweet Homemade Treats and Showstopper Celebration Cakes by Lauren and Rachel Finch, published by DK and with photography by Jessica Griffiths is out now, priced £20.
Try this recipe for carrot cake, and for more about the twins and more great recipes, see the September issue of Lancashire Life

Rachel and Lauren Finch in their Great Harwood shop

Rachel and Lauren Finch in their Great Harwood shop - Credit: Jessica Griffiths


Carrot Cake
Spices, chopped nuts, cream cheese buttercream and, of course, carrots all play a part in this delicious classic. With just enough fruit and vegetables to suggest it may not actually be a cake, this moist and fruity sponge will encourage you to eat your five a day!

Ingredients
Makes a 20cm (8in), 6-layer cake
480g (3 2⁄3 cups) self-raising flour 
3 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1 1⁄2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
1⁄4 tsp salt
360g (1 3⁄4 cups) light muscovado sugar
7 eggs
400ml (1 2⁄3 cups) vegetable oil
120g (3⁄4 cup) sultanas (optional)
120g (1 cup) chopped walnuts (optional)
320g (3 cups) grated carrot

Cream cheese buttercream
400g (3 sticks plus 3 tbsp) unsalted butter
1kg (7 cups) icing sugar
300g (10oz) full-fat cream cheese Lemon juice, to taste

Decoration
Creamcheese buttercream 
Fresh fruit
Walnuts (optional)
Icing sugar, for dusting

Special equipment
Mixer or hand-held electric whisk 
3 x 20cm (8in) cake tins, lined
28cm (11in) cake drum, turntable and dowels
Piping bag and nozzle of choice

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4).
2 Sift the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and ginger into the mixer bowl and mix well. Add the salt and muscovado sugar.
3 Set the mixer to low (or use a hand-held electric whisk) and add the eggs, one by one, followed by the vegetable oil. Slowly combine.
4 Using a spatula, gently fold in the sultanas and walnuts, if using, and the carrot.
5 Divide the batter equally between the lined tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 30–35 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when pressed. You can also check by inserting a sharp knife into the centre. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
6 Allow to cool in the tins for 5–10 minutes, then carefully turn out onto wire racks and leave to cool completely.

Filling and stacking
7  Make a batch of creamcheese buttercream using the quantities listed above. Add the butter to the bowl of a mixer and whip on a high speed for 5 minutes - this may take a little longer if using a hand-held electric whisk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and whip for another 30 seconds. This will turn the butter more white than yellow.
Sift the icing sugar into the bowl and combine on a medium setting, remembering to stop and scrape around the sides to mix in everything fully. Beat in the cream cheese and lemon juice, if using.

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8 Refer to the information on levelling and torting cakes on page 34 to cut the three cakes in half to create six layers. Stack the cake following the naked cakes technique using the cream cheese buttercream. This cake has no further fillings.
9 Dowel the cake using the method below.
10 Chill the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes until the buttercream has solidified and the cake is sturdy. 

Decoration
11 Pipe some cream cheese buttercream on top of the cake and around the bottom, before decorating with fresh fruit and walnuts, if using. We have used strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and walnuts.
12 Sift a small amount of icing sugar over the cake before serving. This cake is best enjoyed fresh.

TOP TIPS
★ Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the cake batter to give this carrot cake a wintery kick.
★ As the naked cake is not covered with buttercream, we suggest baking and decorating it a maximum of 24 hours before it is due to be cut to prevent the sponge from drying out.

www.finchbakery.com