Granny Peggy’s Carrot Cake

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My Granny Peggy was an exceptional baker. She won a Kenwood mixer for her efforts. I found her carrot cake recipe tucked away in amongst my books on my bookshelves, obviously for safe keeping. I believe everything comes to you in the time it’s meant for you. My mom’s favourite quote is “if it’s meant for you it shall not pass you by”.  I don’t always agree with this quote because I don’t like to think any kind of suffering should be meant for anyone. Finding the recipe however was meant to be found in the time I found it. 

In March a few years back a good friend of mine had to have a bone marrow transplant.  I decided to work on a carrot cake recipe for her birthday. It’s on 21st March. I think I did a pretty good job. I made a few mini cakes and delivered a sample to her before her birthday as she would already be in Cape Town on the day of her birthday. On her actual birthday I made a big one , we video called and wished her happy birthday and blew out her candles for her. It was a very special moment and it will remain forever in my heart. Her road to recovery was excruciating and slow. She is a tenacious little person with the strength and character of a giant. She pulled through and her transplant was a great success, albeit with a few serious complications along the way. That was March 2021. 

I loved my version of the carrot cake so much that I asked Jules on Jarvis if I could make the small top tier of Sarah’s and Darryn’s wedding cake and she could ice it. I was mindful of thinking she would think it’s like bringing my own steak to her restaurant for them to cook for me. How cheeky! She was so gracious about it and said no problem with the greatest of pleasure. So as you can tell carrot cakes hold a very special place in my heart with all these personal stories about them. 

Finding my Granny Peggy’s version made me so excited to make it. It’s like I would be transported back in time to my kitchen in 9 Torquay Road, my first home after marrying Brian.  My Granny Peggy in my kitchen making Sarah’s christening cake. She wrote a few of her recipes down for me, but I was such a busy Mom and not yet ready to appreciate all her efforts and recipes in those moments. The timing was not yet ready for me. 

I made my Granny Peggy’s carrot cake in muffin tins. The only change I made on my first attempt was the type of oil I used. I only bake with delicate olive oil when a recipe calls for oil. It’s my preferred health choice. Brian and I were blown away by the flavours, yes this is the one. I tasted them over a few days to see how they would progress in flavour. Carrot cake usually tastes better the day after it’s made. These were good on day one and continued to be delicious days later. I did try a loaf in the air fryer with half the batter. I’ve definitely decided if you are going to bake use an oven. There was too much guessing about the time and I thought it was done but it didn’t cook perfectly in the middle. It takes as long just about anyway in the oven. 

Yesterday I made a big Bundt version. My tweaks this time was to pull back slightly on the sugar and the oil. I’m going out now for a cycle and when we are back we’ll try this version with a nice strong coffee.

Verdict

Nailed it 🤩.

Granny Peggy’s Carrot Cake

Ingredients

  • 175 g flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 350 g brown sugar
  • 350 ml vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 350 g grated carrots
  • 250 g chopped walnuts

To make frosting

  • 100 g creamed cheese
  • 40 g butter
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 3 drops vanilla essence
  • extra walnuts to sprinkle

decorate with whipped cream and chopped pineapple ring

  • 1 canned pineapple ring
  • 125 ml cream whipped

Instructions

  • Grease 20cm cake tin
  • Sift flour, bicarb, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl
    175 g flour, 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, pinch nutmeg
  • Mix sugar and oil in another bowl Add eggs. Make a well in flour mixture and add oil and eggs and sugar,
    350 g brown sugar, 350 ml vegetable oil, 4 large eggs
  • Add carrots and walnuts, mix together well
    350 g grated carrots, 250 g chopped walnuts
  • Spoon mixture into cake tin and bake for 1½ hours gas 4 (180℃)

Frosting

  • Mash together cheese, butter, icing sugar and essence then stir in chopped pineapple ring. Spread over cake
    100 g creamed cheese, 40 g butter, 50 g icing sugar, 3 drops vanilla essence
  • Decorate with zest and whipped cream
    1 canned pineapple ring, 125 ml cream whipped

Notes

My Tweaks to my Granny Peggy’s Carrot Cake
I used a 26cm bundt baking pan – this bakes faster with less chance of having an underbaked cake in the middle.  
I reduced the sugar to 300g 
I reduced to oil to 250ml (214g) delicate olive oil
I added 3 slices of dried pineapple pieces chopped- I made these in the air fryer
 
My tweaks on the method:
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and sift 3 times
Add sugar and eggs to a separate bowl and using the frothing method beat until light and creamy – about 3-4 minutes
add the oil and beat to ensure even mix
Add dry ingredients in 2-3 batches and mix to ensure no lumps 
Fold in the dried pineapple, carrots and nuts. 
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes. Cover with foil and continue to bake 15 minutes.  Check with skewer for doneness
Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto wire rack. Leave to cool.  Ice cake when completely cooled.  This cake gets better with time.  Make the day before and then ice it 
Frosting
60g unsalted butter room temperature
150g cream cheese room temperature
60g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbls lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
Method
In a bowl add the  butter and cream cheese and beat with an electric beater until smooth and creamy.
Add icing sugar and continue to beat
Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to beat until all incorporated and smooth.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes then ice cake and decorate with chopped walnuts sprinkled on top
Serve with whipped cream and chopped pineapple.  A fruit tea infusion is a perfect pairing with this cake.
 
 
 
 
Course: afternoon tea, baking
Keyword: carrot cake, carrots, walnuts

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