Now the question of whether to choose chocolate cake or carrot cake to choose will forever be answered - the answer is both! This chocolate carrot cake combines the best of two worlds. You have the dense richness of a chocolate cake but you have the other worldly moist texture of the carrot cake. Go that extra step further and ice half the cake with cream cheese icing and half with a chocolate hazelnut frosting. You'll never have to choose again :)
The other morning I woke up from the strangest dream. Mr NQN was in the lounge room and I called him over so that I could tell him all about it. It tumbled out in the strangest way, as dreams often unfurl with suddenly recalled moments snatched back into memory.
"Honey listen! We were growing birds, bees and bunnies, and I know you don't grow them, you breed them but we were growing them. And we were growing them for the royal family of England and after we sent them off I noticed there was this one bee who was about an inch long and it was waving to me and saying hello behind the glass wall. Then in the dream Duchess Kate and Prince William came over and we hung around together in a slightly stiff sort of formal way."
Because I was friends with her, I also became famous by association and in a Pippa-like move, the focus came on my bum and it started to get photographed because all anyone cares about nowadays is a bum. And all I kept saying was "My bum is not media ready!!".
I will admit part of the reason why my bum is not media ready in both dream and reality is because I like making and eating cakes. It must take an iron will and sacrifice to forego these treats, especially around holiday seasons like Easter where everything is about chocolate, buns and delicious baked goods. Well I'm not going to help matters now because I have a treat for you Dear Reader. It's a bunny friendly chocolatey cake that actually combines the best of two worlds: carrot cake and chocolate cake!
I've made many carrot cakes before but a few years ago while visiting New Zealand, we stopped by a bakery. I saw that they had a chocolate carrot cake in the display together. Yes together! Now why didn't I ever think of that? This combination hasn't left my mind since and I decided that this would be perfect for Easter this year. And yes, this is a pushy recipe for those of you that love a heavenly soft textured cake.
This two sided cake has the richness of a chocolate cake but the moist texture and spice of a carrot cake. You see there's baking powder to lift the cake but also soda to add more air. But to keep it moist there is oil and pineapple that all combines to give this such a soft, rich texture. I also decided that I wanted to keep the theme of the best of both worlds with the icing using a hazelnut chocolate spread to ice one half and a cream cheese icing to ice the second half! Never will the vexing question of which cake to choose ever bother you again :)
So tell me Dear Reader, do you think you'd like to be friends with the young royals and if so, which one/s? And would you choose carrot or chocolate cake if you didn't have this cake and had to choose one? And is your bum media ready? ;)
I know that it's not Wednesday but I've made another wallpaper for Wallpaper Wednesdays in case you need some Easter cake inspiration! Just click the image below to get the wallpaper and right or double click to add to your device!
Want some more Easter ideas? Here you go! :)
Chocolate Carrot Cake
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott/Not Quite Nigella
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 250g/8.83ozs. grated carrots (half finely grated, half coarsely grated)
- 1.5 cups chocolate buds (small ones, not the large ones, if they are large, chop them up)
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, well drained (press down with the back of a wooden spoon)
- 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 2 1/4 cups self raising cake flour*
- 1.5 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 1/4 cup fizzy drink (can be soda water, cola or beer)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
For frosting (doing a half half icing style)
- 1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
- 125g/4ozs. cream cheese, softened
- 65g/2.29ozs. butter, softened
- 1 cup icing or powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pepitas to decorate
- 1 tablespoon walnut pieces to decorate
*To make 2 1/4 cups of self raising cake flour, place 4 tablespoons of fine cornstarch in a measuring jug. Add four teaspoons of baking powder and then top up to the 2 1/4 cup mark with plain all purpose flour.
An example of finely grated carrot. I know, thrilling isn't it!
*Step 1 - *Preheat oven to 160C/320F and line a 20cm/8inch baking tin with parchment. Place the grated carrots, chocolate, pineapple and pecans in a bowl and mix until combined. In another bowl place the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt and mix well. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
And then I decided that that simply was not enough chocolate and doubled the quantity. Ahhh that's better!
Step 2 - Place the oil and eggs in a jug and whisk together. Add the fizzy drink and whisk lightly until it emulsifies. Add half of the wet liquid into the well and fold, then add the remainder along with the pineapple and carrot mix. Place into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely and split cake in half horizontally.
Step 3 - Place the chocolate hazelnut spread in one piping bag. Set aside.
Step 4 - Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth. On low speed add the icing sugar and vanilla and once combined, increase speed to medium. Place in a piping bag. If it is too soft, place the bag in the fridge to firm up.
Step 5 - Place one layer on a serving plate and pipe one half with the cream cheese and the other with the chocolate hazelnut spread. Place the other cake half on top and then repeat with the cream cheese and chocolate hazelnut spread lining up the flavours. Sprinkle the cream cheese icing with the pepitas and the chocolate icing with the walnuts.