This carrot cake is always a winner when I have friends over or when I take it to house parties. It’s moist and so easy to make. This time I added some elderflower cordial to the frosting to add a floral tone. I love elderflower cordial and we always have a bottle in the house, even though we mostly use it for gin & tonics. If you like elderflower, you may also like this Strawberry Elderflower Lattice Pie.
This recipe is for a small 19cm round cake mold. But you can easily double the recipe to make a larger cake.
For the sugared cranberries:
2 cups of sugar
2 cups water
2 cups of fresh cranberries, washed and picked through
¾ cups of sugar
For the carrot cake:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups of shredded carrot
3/4 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped
Zest of 1 mandarin
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
For the cream cheese and elderflower frosting:
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons of butter, softened
3 tablespoons of elderflower cordial
2 cups of icing sugar
Fresh mint leaves for decoration (optional)
Start by making the sugared cranberries the night before. Place 2 cups of water plus 2 cups of sugar in a medium saucepan and let it simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir from time to time. Once the simple syrup is done, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool for 20 minutes. You want to let it cool before you add the cranberries otherwise they may pop.
Once the syrup has cooled down, add the cranberries and stir to coat them. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, drain the cranberries. You can save the simple syrup for another recipe or for a cocktail. Place the ¾ cup of sugar on a shallow plate and start rolling the cranberries in it until they are evenly coated. Then place them on a baking sheet and let them dry for at least 1 hour.
To make the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of a 19cm round cake mold with parchment paper. Grease and flour the edges of the mold.
Beat the sugar with the eggs. Then add the vegetable oil, shredded carrot, the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Finally add the mandarin zest and the nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared cake mold.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Allow the cake to cool down completely before you start making the frosting.
To make the frosting, whisk the softened butter with the cream cheese until well combined. Then add the elderflower cordial and whisk. Then gradually add the icing sugar. Whisk until you have a smooth frosting.
Carefully remove the cake from the mold and plate it. Then frost it with the help of a spatula. I only added it to the top and swirled it around a bit with a spoon. Place some of the sugared cranberries in the middle of the cake. If you want you can add a few mint leaves for extra color. Keep the cake in the fridge. Enjoy!