I really miss Christchurch in Autumn - I love seeing the leaves turn, and seeing Hagley Park in shades of gold at Easter was fantastic but also made me a bit sad, so I'm hoping this cake will help recreate the Autumn buzz. Though I really enjoy my Wellington waterfront commute, there really aren't any deciduous trees around so if it wasn't getting colder I'd barely know the season.
This cakes rather extensive ingredient list creates a very hearty, nutty, warming kind of cake - and though the recipe looks daunting it is purely the long list at the beginning making it seem complicated - it's actually very straightforward.
The oats are an unusual addition (in this form) but bulk out the cake and give it substance. And (I like to think) make it healthier. Compared to normal cake it is pretty healthy (everything's relative!); the recipe makes an absolutely enormous cake and it's less butter, more oats/carrot/apple/walnut. Of course, coconut isn't exactly low fat but it goes perfectly so let's overlook that, shall we? ;-)
The recipe does make a very large cake - perfect for sharing with a crowd, but if you don't have a crowd to feed feel free to halve the recipe and bake it in 22cm tins instead. It will take less time to cook - perhaps 40 minutes (but just keep checking on it and you'll be fine).
The topping is a crunchy, baked-on coconut concoction - again very simple, and I think a variant of this needs to be incorporated into more of the cakes I bake! The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of milk in this, but I found that just meant I had watery stuff leftover, so I've left that out.
The cakes are pretty fragile so don't unmold them straight away - let them cool a bit first. You can see below how close one of mine cake to falling apart!
The icing is a nice little bit of richness, though I think this would also be nice with just a bit of natural yoghurt - if you want to use yoghurt and still have a two-layer cake you probably want to opt with a very thick Greek-style yoghurt.
I am very impressed with this cake - it's yummier than I'd expect for something packed with healthy things (oh, I am so judgemental!). Mr Cake rates it 9/10, which is high praise, and I have to agree, even though it's not slathered with huge quantities of gooey icing.
Finally, this is a photo is for my Mum, who wants to know what the rest of my kitchen looks like while the camera lens is zoomed in on the mixing bowl. A bit messy - what do you think? Am I a mess or not too bad? Mum, is it what you expected? (I think she's remembering the baking whirlwinds I used to create in her kitchen - hopefully I've improved a bit over the years)
Are you a messy baker or do you clean up as you go?
Autumnal Apple Carrot Cake (adapted from The Kitchn)
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
2 cups boiling water
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
3 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened coconut
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 cups grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup coconut
Cream Cheese Icing
50g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
125g cream cheese
1 tsp rum (or vanilla essence or lemon juice)
Heat the oven to 180 C. Grease two 25cm round cake tins.
Mix together the oats and boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes. Beat the butter and sugar until well combined, then add eggs one by one, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla, rum, and oats and mix to combine.
Add the dry ingredients and combine. Mix in the apples, carrots, and walnuts. Divide mix between the cake tins and bake for 50-60 minutes.
While the cakes are baking, beat together the coconut topping ingredients. About 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time take one of the cakes out and carefully spread or crumble the topping over the top, then place back in oven. Cakes are done when a knife comes out clean or when the top springs back when pressed gently.
Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tins.
Beat together the butter and icing sugar for the icing, then add the cream cheese and rum and beat until smooth.
When the cakes are cool, spread the icing on the one without the coconut, then top with the coconut-topped cake.