Carrot and Coconut Cake

Carrot and Coconut Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting recipe One Perfect Mess blog easy simple baking layer celebration gluten free dairy free wheat free healthy fresh flowers naked cake 6

I have no idea where the past two months have gone. I am always vaguely aware that the older we get, the smaller a proportion of our life a month becomes. When we were five years old, a year felt infinite. But now, I’ve already made plans that lie six months ahead, and that time seems hardly a blip in the scheme of things. The years have become busy and blurred, and I often seem to find myself looking forward to a point several days or weeks or even months ahead. I’m trying vigilantly to stop this pattern, because it becomes too easy to wish life away trying to attain the next goal, experience the next milestone and arrive at the start of the next adventure. Life is now, and now is fantastic.

This Carrot and Coconut Cake is the epitome of scrumptiousness. Carrot cake is one of my all time favourites. When done well, it’s all you could ever ask for in a cake. Nutty, moresish, crumbly and moist, laced with ginger and cinnamon, bursting with pecans, sultanas and coconut, and clinging to thick slatherings of velvety lime cream cheese frosting. It is a cake to enjoy in the now. To savour and drool over and indulge in. And it’s gluten and wheat free! The cake itself is dairy free too, an added bonus for the lactose averted.

Emily Bronte said; ‘I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.’ When I’m feeling scattered and unsettled, I go for long walks through the hills, listening to contemplative music and looking only upwards. The shadowy black trees seem to glide past the clouds, and the biting wind stings my cheeks, and I can’t hear my footsteps or my breath or my thoughts. My whole universe consists of only myself, those reaching branches, and an infinite sky.

Dear mother hen surprised me yesterday by flying my sister home for the weekend, to coincide with my older brother’s weekend home. So for the first time in months, all six of my flock were under one roof. We’ve suddenly grown up, and time is shaping us and challenging us and taking us in different directions. But when we’re all together drinking tea by the fire, time stops, and it’s just glorious, ridiculous fun.

Shout out to my best friend who received this cake on her twenty-first birthday. A snapshot of this spectacular woman; gracious, creative, perceptive, unconditionally loving and admirably courageous. She is always reminding me to live for now, and to fall in love with life every day. Enjoy this cake and this day!

Carrot and Coconut Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting recipe One Perfect Mess blog easy simple baking layer celebration gluten free dairy free wheat free healthy fresh flowers naked cake 14

Carrot and Coconut Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting recipe One Perfect Mess blog easy simple baking layer celebration gluten free dairy free wheat free healthy fresh flowers naked cake 9

Carrot and Coconut Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting recipe One Perfect Mess blog easy simple baking layer celebration gluten free dairy free wheat free healthy fresh flowers naked cake 10

Carrot and Coconut Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting recipe One Perfect Mess blog easy simple baking layer celebration gluten free dairy free wheat free healthy fresh flowers naked cake 5

Carrot and Coconut Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting recipe One Perfect Mess blog easy simple baking layer celebration gluten free dairy free wheat free healthy fresh flowers naked cake 11

Carrot and Coconut Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Preparation Time: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 2.5 hours
Whole recipe is gluten and wheat free
Cake is dairy free
INGREDIENTS

Carrot and Coconut Cake

Adapted from Donna Hay’s recipe

  • 5 eggs
  • 175 g brown sugar
  • 400 g carrots (4 whole)
  • 50 g sultanas
  • 90 g pecans
  • 50 g shredded coconut
  • 420 g almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 125 mL rice bran oil

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200 g cream cheese
  • 550 g icing sugar, sifted
  • zest of 2 limes (about 2 tablespoons)

To Decorate

  • fresh flowers, cut to have a 1-2 cm stalk (I used camelias, rosemary and jasmine)

METHOD

Carrot and Coconut Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F, and grease and line two 18 cm/7 inch cake tins.
  2. Whisk the eggs and sugar on high speed for 10-12 minutes, until pale and thick and tripled in size.
  3. Meanwhile, use a wooden spoon to combine the rest of the cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Pour half of the egg mix into the mixing bowl, and use a large metal spoon to gently but thoroughly fold it through the rest of the ingredients. Add the rest of the egg mix and repeat, folding extra gently the second time until everything is just combined.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, rotating after half an hour to ensure even baking. The cakes are cooked when a metal skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean but moist. Leave on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, and then turn out and leave to cool completely before frosting. Use a serrated knife to slice the domed tops off the cakes. It can help to refrigerate the cakes before doing this, if you have time.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Prepare the frosting while the cakes are baking. Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed for 5-10 minutes until pale, thick and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly.
  2. Turn the beater to low speed, and gradually add the icing sugar spoonful at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the lime zest and then beat on high speed for 5 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Cover and refrigerate until the cakes have completely cooled and are ready to frost. You may have to give the refrigerated frosting another whip to get it back to a spreadable consistency before use.
  3. Dollop a spoonful of frosting on your cake board or serving plate, and secure the first cake layer upside down. Dollop 1 cup of frosting onto the first layer, then spread evenly right up to 1 cm from the edge using a butterknife or small offset spatula. Place the second cake on top, and gently press it down from the centre to the edges. Don’t press too hard, or the frosting will ooze out!
  4. Dollop another cup on top of the second layer, and spread to the edges. Decorate with fresh flowers.

Store the cake in the refrigerator. Decorate with flowers as close to serving as possible. Make sure the cake has been out of the fridge for at least half an hour before serving, to ensure the cake is soft and at room temperature.

Store the cake covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days, but best served within 1-2 days of baking. 

Note: The cakes can be made up to 2 days in advance, and stored in an airtight container. Make the frosting on or before the day of serving, and store covered and refrigerated.

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