It’s Friday, the best day of the week and I have something very special for you in the first of a 2-part Dessert & Dinner guest post from my blogging buddy Maryam of Maryam Makes.

Let’s get started with dessert and what better dessert there is than cake, chai spiced layered carrot cake and well we all secretly want to eat dessert first, right?!

I’m so excited to share this recipe here on Halal Home Cooking! Jazakillahu khayran Umm Hamza for welcoming me to your lovely blog

One of my favourite cakes to make, in the whole wide world is….Carrot cake! This is a chai spiced carrot cake with a velvety cream cheese frosting, made with three layers!

Now this is more of a special occasion carrot cake, something I would make for Eid. If you don’t want to go through the extra steps to make a triple layer cake (or you don’t need such a tall cake!) feel free to half this recipe to make a delicious one layer cake that will be just as flavourful and delicious insha’Allah.

The fluffy but moist cake, flavoured with chai spices goes so well with the creamy, sweet cream cheese frosting. However! This is one of those carrot cakes that taste delicious without the frosting too! So you could make muffins out of this cake batter and they would be dairy-free and still yummy. Also, feel free to leave out all the different spices if you don’t want a chai flavour. Sometimes I use only ground cinnamon and ginger.

I used the peel of the 4 carrots I used to make candied carrot and also I made some white chocolate leaves for the decoration, both are quite simple to make!

What you need for the cake layers:

– 4 cups finely grated carrot
– 3 cups plain all-purpose flour (you can use half wholemeal if you like)
– 3 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 2 tsp coarse salt or 1 tsp fine salt
– 2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
– 1 tsp ground ginger
– 1/4 tsp ground cloves
– 1/4 tsp ground allspice
– 1 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or vegetable oil of choice (all this oil gives the cake moisture)
– 5 large eggs
– 2 cups packed brown sugar

What to do:
1) Preheat your oven to 180C and prepare your 8 inch round pan by lining with baking paper. Set aside

2) In a large bowl (or you can use a very large measuring jug like I did) place your eggs, sugar, and oil. Whisk together until smooth and well combined, stir in your grated carrots. Set aside

3) In a separate large bowl, sift together (using a whisk or a sieve) the remaining ingredients which is the flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Pour in the carrot mixture and gently stir together until there are no pockets of flour left. Don’t over mix! Divide evenly into three bowls. Pour one of the bowls of batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven until the top is springy and when you insert a skewer or knife into the centre, it comes out clean.

4) When it’s done, let the cake sit in the tin for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to help release it then place a cooling rack or large place over the cake tin, then carefully (using a tea-towl to protect your hands because the tin might still be hot) flip the tin over. The cake should come out nicely, peel off the baking paper. You can reuse it for the rest of the cakes.

Repeat the same baking and removing process with the rest of the cake batter. If you have 3 8 inch round cake tins then use them, I don’t so I cooked them this way.

Let them all cool completely. You can prepare the cream cheese frosting in this time. Then you can use a large serrated knife to slice the tops off to make them flat so they stack nicely. I gave the cake tops to my family as a snack!

As as you can see, there are pieces of baking paper under the cake, this is so I don’t get the plate messy with icing. Once I finish frosting the cake, I pull the pieces away.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Careful not to use the spreadable cream cheese, I accidentally bought the wrong kind and it results in a very soft frosting. So I had to add a extra 2 cups of powdered sugar! Way too sweet for my liking, so I added a little extra salt. You can add a little lemon or orange zest to flavour the frosting if you like, but I wouldn’t use the juice because I find it makes the frosting too loose.

What you need:
– 375g cream cheese
– 150g butter
– 4 cups powdered sugar

– 1 tsp coarse salt (1/2 tsp fine salt)

– lemon zest (optional)

What to do:

1) In a large bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the salt and add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Keep beating until it’s smooth and very creamy. About 5 minutes, sounds like a long time but the result is worth it!

You can frosting the cake with this frosting now, or let it chill in the fridge for 20-25 minutes to firm up.

How to make the White chocolate leaves: Pick some leaves from outside (fresh mint leaves work too), make sure you clean them very well with soap and water and then dry thm very well. Melt some white chocolate, and using a butter knife, smear a thin layer of chocolate over the back of the leaf. Do this on a layer of baking paper for easier clean up. When you smear the chocolate on, avoid the chocolate going over the edges because when it hardens, it makes it difficult to remove the leaf. Put them on a piece of baking paper and let the chocolate harden completely. Then carefully peel the leaves off. Place on the cake in any fashion you please!

Hope that makes sense!

How to make the candied carrot decorations: In a small pot, place your carrot skins (make sure they are big, long strips), 2 cups of sugar and about 1/2 cup water. Let cook until the sugar is dissolved, the carrots are cooked and the syrup is very thick. Let cool completely. Then drain and lay the strips of carrot on some baking paper to set a little bit.

They should still be sticky when you roll them. Roll the carrot strips up, adding a few strips to each roll to form a little rosette shape. Place immediately on the cake or let harden first.

The cake can be served straight away, or covered and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. The cake is even better the next day because the flavour of the spices really come out.

Makes one, 3 layer, 8 inch cake or one, 2 layer, 10 inch cake. This recipe can also be halved and made into a one layer 9 x 12 rectangle cake, which I usually make. This is only my second time making a layered carrot cake, layered cakes are so fun to make!

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