As we were planning on moving back to Sydney last year, I made a list of bakeries that I wanted to visit once we returned. One of them was Bourke Street Bakery in Surry Hills (check out their gorgeous cookbook!). I haven’t made it there yet, but have heard only the best things about the bakery.
Coincidentally, one of the delicious. magazines I borrowed from the library recently had a handful of recipes straight from Bourke Street Bakery. I copied them all down before returning the magazine, but wasn’t sure which I’d try first. After seeing a post on FoodGawker from Eat Well Eat Green, I knew my first recipe to try from Bourke Street Bakery would be the carrot cake.
The cake required some extra steps and more time than an average carrot cake would. In fact, I’m not sure, but it might be similar to making a sponge cake? Correct me if I’m wrong when you read the recipe. The reason I think so is that you whisk egg whites separately and later fold them into the batter. The top and outer sides of the cake develop a beautiful crisp layer, which is probably a result of the meringue. I’ve never made a sponge cake before, and I’m not sure, but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one either!
This cake really rises, so you will either a cake tin with high sides, or line the tin with the parchment paper extending about an inch or two above the top of the cake tin. This was a cake I decided that I really needed to watch to make sure it wouldn’t burn, as my oven seems to run hotter, so after 30 minutes I turned my oven down from 180C to 160C. The original recipe says to bake at 200C and turn down to 180C after 30 minutes if necessary, but I have a fan-forced oven so I need to bake at 20 degrees under what the recipe suggests.
I also decided that I needed to keep my kids from running through the kitchen, as it seemed like the kind of cake that would sink if you slammed the oven door or stomped too much in front of the oven! I would also recommend to not open the oven door until the 1 hour and 10 minutes is up, otherwise you could have a sunken cake.
I wasn’t able to take a photo of the full cake because we couldn’t wait long enough to dig in. I took this photo on the morning after baking the cake. It tastes even more brilliant on the second day and tastes amazing straight from the refrigerator. For a go-to carrot cake recipe, this should be the ONLY one you use! Cheers to Bourke Street Bakery for such an amazing cake!
- For the cake:
- 70g walnuts
- 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 55 ml (about 2) egg whites
- 60g sugar for egg whites
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 160g sugar for egg yolks
- 170ml (2/3 cup) extra light olive oil
- 125g carrots, peeled, grated
- For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar, plus extra to dust
- 20g unsalted butter, softened
- 145g cream cheese (preferably Neufchatel)
- 2 tablespoons pure (thin) cream
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease an 18cm round cake pan and line the base and side with baking paper - the paper should protrude about 2.5cm above the pan.
- Place walnuts on a baking tray and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly roasted. Cool and cut into thirds.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt into a bowl. Repeat to ensure they are evenly mixed.
- Put the egg whites in a very clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until soft peaks start to form. Slowly pour in the sugar for the egg whites, while the motor is still running, being careful not to overmix - the meringue should reach soft peak stage. Quickly transfer the meringue to another bowl and set side until needed.
- Put the egg and egg yolk in the bowl of the electric mixer and add the sugar for the egg yolks. Mix on high speed for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture doubles in volume and is quite airy. With the motor still running, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream being careful that it doesn't split or deflate too much.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture until combined. Fold in the carrots and walnuts. Quickly and lightly fold in the meringue - do not fold it through completely, you should still be able to see streaks of meringue through the mix.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into centre of the cake comes out clean. You may need to drop the oven temperature to 180C after the first 30 minutes if the top is browning too quickly.
- Meanwhile, for the cream cheese frosting, cream the icing sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and smooth. Add the cream cheese in small amounts, allowing it to be completely incorporated before adding the rest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl during this process to ensure even mixing. Add the cream and mix until smooth, being careful not to overmix at this stage or the cream may curdle and separate. If using a different type of cream cheese for this recipe you may need to add a little more cream - the frosting needs to be of a spreadable consistency but not at all runny.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Using a serrate knife, slice horizontally through the centre of the cake to form 2 even-sized layers and fill with cream cheese frosting. Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar to serve.