Carrot cake blondies

Chewy blondies flavoured with warming spices, grated carrot and chopped walnuts, finished with a cream cheese swirl.

A delicious modern take on a classic bake, this recipe is perfect for Easter, spring and autumn.

Ingredients (makes 12 blondies)

For the blondies:

170g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
170g unsalted butter
225g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
100g chopped walnuts
1 large carrot (approximately 150g), grated

For the cream cheese swirl:

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 medium egg yolk
50g caster sugar
120g cream cheese, at room temperature

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 23cm square baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Start by making your blondie mixture.

First combine the flour and spices together in a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl melt the butter until it turns to liquid. Add the light brown sugar and mix until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix. Add the flour and fold everything together. Now add the grated carrots and chopped walnuts and fold together until combined.

Now make your cheesecake mixture.

Place the vanilla, egg yolk, sugar and cream cheese in a bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. If you have an electric whisk i’d recommend using it.

Transfer half of the carrot cake mixture into the baking tin. Drop spoonfuls of 1/2 of the cheesecake mixture over the top. Don’t swirl just yet! Drop spoonfuls of the rest of the carrot cake mixture on top of this and then follow with the remaining cheesecake batter. Using the tip of a knife swirl the two mixtures together.

Bake for 25 minutes. The edges will be brown and the centre should be set. Cool completely in the baking tin before removing and slicing.

Lemon and elderflower cake

Two layers of zingy lemon sponge, sandwiched together with lemon curd and elderflower buttercream. Finished with a scatter of edible flowers, and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Tastes just as good as it looks!

The thin coating of buttercream on the sides is called a ‘semi-naked cake’. There’s a minimal amount of buttercream swiped around the sides, to show off the cakes’ natural texture and filling. It looks really effective and is great if you aren’t a perfectionist as it’s not meant to be neat. There’s no need to crumb-coat, chill, frost, repeat, which also helps save time.

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Ingredients

For the cake:

200g unsalted butter or Stork tub
200g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
Zest of 2 lemons
1-2 tablespoons milk

For the filling:

2 tablespoons homemade or shop-bought lemon curd
250g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
500g icing sugar
2 tablespoons elderflower cordial

To decorate:

Edible flower blossoms (I bought mine from Sainsbury’s)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 8inch round baking tin with greaseproof paper.

Beat the sugar and butter together until light and creamy. Add one egg at a time, along with a little flour, and mix together. Add the remaining flour and lemon zest and fold together until fully mixed.

Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins, and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the cakes have turned a golden colour and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Once the cake is cooled, make your elderflower buttercream by first beating the butter with an electric whisk until soft. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together until smooth. Sift in the remaining icing sugar, add the elderflower cordial and beat again until you have a smooth buttercream.

To decorate

Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place one cake layer on your cake stand, cake turntable or serving plate. Using an icing spatular, spread a layer of buttercream evenly on top. Drizzle over the lemon curd.

Top with the second cake layer and spread the remaining buttercream on top and all around the sides. Using a flat knife or an icing scraper, smooth out the buttercream on the sides of the cake. This should be rough and the sides of the cake should show through. Finish by decorating with flower blossoms.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Two layers of moist carrot cake, sandwiched together with cream cheese frosting, dusted and cinnamon and sprinkled with chopped walnuts. A classic bake, perfect for your Easter Sunday celebrations.

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Ingredients (makes  a two layer 8inch cake)

300g soft light brown sugar
4 medium eggs, at room temperature
300ml sunflower oil
150g self-raising flour
150g wholemeal self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
300g carrots, grated
Zest of a large orange
100g walnuts, chopped
100g sultanas

For the cream cheese frosting:
150g icing sugar
70g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
100g full-fat cream cheese, cold from the fridge
Cinnamon, for dusting
20g extra walnuts, to decorate

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 8inch round baking tin with greaseproof paper.

Start by making the cakes. Put the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed (don’t worry if it looks slightly split). In a separate bowl combine the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and orange zest.

Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry and continue to beat until everything is just combined (be careful not to over mix). Finally, fold in the grated carrot, sultanas and chopped walnuts.

Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins, tapping them lightly on the side to remove any air bubbles, and bake in the oven for 35-40 mins until the cakes have turned a golden colour and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to completely cool before removing the cakes from the tins.

Now make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter, icing sugar and milk with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the cream cheese and fold together until just combined. Be careful not to over do it, as it can quickly become runny.

Spread half of the frosting on top of one of the cakes, place the other on top and repeat. Finish by dusting the cake with cinnamon and dotting the walnuts on top of the cake.