Boozy Ginger Carrot Cake
Early March I floated the idea of making a cake with alcohol in it on the YVM Facebook page. Carrot Cake won. It then took me until the 31st of March to finally getting around to making the damn thing. It's taken me another two weeks to blog about it. Obviously I do not have a handle on this blogging thing yet.
Before I went all out and made a cake from scratch, I tried the theory on a packet carrot cake mix. I had a go at making some cupcakes using Stones Ginger Joe and Buttermilk - it tanked and I don't recommend it. It did however give me the opportunity to photograph some cupcake toppers.
This is loosely based on one of my mums recipes. I messed with it and added booze in the form of Stones Green Ginger Wine and ginger chunks.
Photography Credit: Elise Bauer
Before we get to the actual recipe, you need to know some stuff first. Feel free to disregard it if you want - your call. Don't whinge to me in the comments section later if you fucked something up by not reading this bit first.
Notes, substitutions, pointers, etc
- Chop your walnut by hand. Yep, the old fashioned way - Grab a chopping board and a sharp knife and watch what you are doing. Don't be tempted to chuck them in a food processor. You want nice, big, evenly sized, distinct pieces of walnut - not some half arsed mix of different shaped bits and walnut dust - which is what inevitably happens when you blitz them.
- Try to get Naked Ginger, not crystallised ginger, the cake has more than enough sugar as it is.
- Don't try to blitz the ginger in a processor either. It's as sticky as all fuck and it will end in tears. Do it by hand.
- If you forget to buy the buttermilk, use a mix of Greek or pot-set PLAIN yoghurt and full cream milk (Farmhouse Gold is awesome).
- Use Original Stones rather than the reserve or Ginger Mac - you want the stronger flavour for this.
- Make your cake flour before you start. You'll need two and a half cups, so make two batches.
- If you haven't got Vanilla Extract, you can use Essence
- Use fresh Free Range eggs. Not those shitty caged eggs produced by torturing poor bloody chooks!
- If you can't find raw sugar (often Coles don't carry it), you can use boring old white sugar
- Use sunflower or canola oil or super light olive oil. Not extra virgin olive oil.... unless you have some really posh vanilla infused EVOO, then go for it.
- Butter for greasing pans
- 1/2 cup Australian sultanas
- 4 tablespoons Stones Green Ginger Wine
- 1 cup Australian walnuts, chopped
- 50-100g Bunderburg Naked Ginger, chopped
- 500g carrots, coarsely grated
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2.1/2 cups cake flour
- 2.1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 large Free Range eggs, 70-75g, room temperature
- 1 cup raw sugar
- 3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 160-300ml of Stones Green Ginger Wine
- 250g cream cheese, softened
- 4 teaspoons finely grated lemon or orange rind
- 1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 3 cups pure icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two 21cm diameter cake pans with butter. Line bottoms with greaseproof paper or baking paper and press down to stick to the butter.
- Throw sultanas and Ginger Wine into a small saucepan and heat on low until just warm, about 2 minutes. Don't boil it, you don't want to evaporate the yummy alcohol. Remove from heat and stand until liquid is cool.
- Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking tray until golden brown - 6–10 minutes - tossing occasionally so they don't burn. Remove them from the tray to cool so they don't keep toasting.
- Combine chopped ginger, walnuts, carrots and sultana/wine mixture in a medium bowl. Add buttermilk and combine again.
- Sift dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda) a few times in a large bowl. Or if you are feeling slack, just whisk them together.
- Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until pale and thick - 4-5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually stream in oil.
- Fold dry ingredients and carrot mixture into egg mix in alternate batches (3 lots of dry alternating with 2 lots of carrot mixture -beginning and ending with dry ingredients). Gently mix until smooth. Scrape batter evenly into prepared pans.
- Pop your cakes into the centre of the oven. Grab a glass of Stones on ice (add some lemonade or soda and a slice of lemon if you like) and kick back.
- Bake cakes, rotating pans halfway through, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean - roughly 35–45 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Place a rack on top of your cake and invert the lot. Your cake should just slide out, if not carefully run a knife or thin spatula around sides and try again (be careful of you non-stick surface). Remove paper.
- THIS IS THE GOOD BIT! Evenly pour 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of Stones over each cake while still warm. Add more if you want, but don't go overboard otherwise you'll have to turn the cakes into trifle.
- Allow to cool completely. You may as well have another glass of Stones while you wait.
Fuck it. The bottle is open. You may as well have a drink.
- Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla extract, rind and juice. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in the icing sugar.
- Increase speed to high. Check consistency and add buttermilk (one tablespoon at a time) if you think it's too stiff. Beat frosting until light and fluffy.
- Place one cake, top down, on a plate or platter (I like to put a sheet of baking paper down first if I'm using a bamboo platter or board - fine splinters and what not). Spread some frosting evenly over top. Place second cake, top side down, on top. Spread top and sides with half the remaining frosting.
- Pop in the fridge for half an hour or so to set the frosting. Grab yourself another glass of Stones and listen to some music.
- Spread remaining frosting over top and sides, swirling decoratively if you can manage it (if not, no sweat). Decorate with cake topper and/or walnuts and/or sliced Naked Ginger, if you can be arsed.
- One more glass of booze is not going to wipe you out so you may as well have pour yourself another, before you start on dinner... or order a pizza - Whatever, I don't judge.
Look after your non-stick pans and pop a bit of paper in the bottom.
Everyhing ready to start mixing the Carrot Cake up. I'd already had one glass by this stage.
I'm lucky that I have two ovens. I don't have to worry about rotating the cakes. Very lucky actually - I was on my third glass and may have forgotten to rotate them anyway.
If you have a bash at making this cake, let me know how you went. And if you change the recipe, tell me about it.
Disclaimer - I did not take the photo of the finished cake shown here. Andrew and I got a bit wasted the day I made the cake and I forgot to take a photo before we ate most of it.
Trust me though - it totally looked like this.