This recipe was created as a mix of inspiration from watching the Great British Baking Show and My Favorite carrot cake recipe. I was inspired by the addition of fresh orange segments and fresh-squeezed orange juice to the cake mixture. The mixture of the spice and the brightness of the orange, it's the balance this Carrot Cake has been looking for its whole life, and it is beautifully delicious.
I love watching the Great British Baking Show over and over again, it always brings new inspiration. Recently I was re-watching Collection 3 on Netflix and baker Ian was making a giant carrot cake during the finale. His addition of orange to his cake intrigued me so much I thought I'd give it a try.
Preparing the Carrot Cake ingredients...
So I had to pull out my carrot cake recipe and toss one together. Now I do have to say I am not one to like raisins much, but the golden raisins and the pineapple in this cake are some of my favorite parts about it. With those fruits already existing in the cake, the orange was a welcome addition.
I like a really spicy carrot cake. The recipe I usually use is my own mash-up of a classic carrot only cake and a decadent spice cake. If you stripped everything out of this cake recipe and only made the base cake, adding only the spices in, you still have one of my very favorite cakes!
One key note on this cake is to be sure to soak the raisins in the juice from the fruit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients for the cake. This helps to plump the raisins and to ensure that they don't draw too much moisture from the cake making it dry.
That said, if you soak the raisins and add the orange pieces and juice, it results in a beautifully well-balanced cake. It really is just right, I didn't know what I was missing all my life. You will be in love at first bite, I guarantee that you won't regret it!
I really love that this helps make the raisins so soft and tender that they almost disappear in the cake when you are eating it.
How to make Carrot Cake
When approaching this cake it is good to look at it like a simple butter cake at its core. If you stripped all the fruits, nuts, and spices out of it, it would be a yellow cake. But for me all the additions make it delicious, my dad even says it reminds him of a hummingbird cake with all the things I cram into this carrot cake.
The first thing you want to do is cream the butter and sugar together. Do this until it gets as pale as you can get it. It should take about 4 minutes. Then add the eggs one at a time.
When all the eggs have been worked in, beat the mixture for an additional 60 seconds to get a little more air in the batter. This is important because all the fruits and nuts will weigh it down, so now is the time to get the batter airy.
Next add the flour and sour cream. The flour will bring everything together and the sour cream will ensure the cake is very tender.
Now it is time for the fun part. Add in all the fruits, the nuts, the spices, and the carrots. Give it a good, but quick whip in the mixer, just until everything is mixed in. You don't want to overwork it so the cake does not get tough.
Place the batter in your prepared cake pan and bake until set.
After the cake has baked and fully cooled out of the baking tins, trim off the tops. I sometimes make the cake a day ahead of time and trim the tops off, then wrap and plastic wrap and store in the fridge until I am ready to use it or freeze for later. Trimming the tops is known as "torting" a cake in the culinary world.
Assembling the cake
Whip ya up a quick batch of cream cheese frosting and layer the cakes together with a generous helping on the middle of each layer.