Carat Cake Recipe With Coconut, Pineapple, & Walnuts

Back in the days when there-was-no-life-before-social-media (oh really?), when human communications were not maintained through social status updates and responses in the form of likes, pluses or retweets and reciprocal engagements, back when internet was a whole new world to me, where I could buy recipes for US$5 sent via mailto (subscribed user@pacific.net), I stumbled upon free hotmail and this incredible free “Carat Cake Recipe” which I quickly downloaded into my floppy!

The author had used the pun “Carat” because accordingly, his (can’t remember if it was a she or he) mother’s carrot cake recipe was worth diamonds! I was intrigued by its name (diamonds are a girl’s best friend, remember?) since there was no images for the cake, just text. And ever since I got hold of this precious recipe, I have baked it many times for my friends. They loved it! One even said it was better than Dome Cafe’s, a very popular all-day eatery then, serving modern Australian cuisine and coffees.

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There are many variations to a good carrot cake but I particularly love chopped pineapples, sweetened coconut flakes, lots of walnuts and the addition of Allspice in them.

My friends wooed me for this carrot cake recipe but I have been zealously safeguarding it as well as ALL of my other recipes which I doled out a fortune on cooking classes, cookbooks and, enduring the literally blister-ing speed of 110bps and 28 seconds sound of dial-up internet each time I go online (click here to hear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsNaR6FRuO0 and if you know it, you’re as old as me! lol…) in search of western recipes. Sorry, couldn’t help it. Anyway, I was saying I held a tight grip on all my recipes through the decades so that I could have a trump card over my children – that if they wanted good food, they have to come home to mommy’s. “Unfortunately”, Valerie has learnt how to cook and Vanessa now has the choice to dine at Sissy’s. It’s funny how life dealt me this hand; instead of them coming over to mine, I find myself going to theirs to cook for them BUT I am not complaining. I could not be happier whenever they request for bak chor nerng, see yeow gai or tau yew bak… Valerie confessed, “Only mom has the right touch of tamarind-sour in fish curry!”

Enough with my ranting, here’s the holy grail to a good moist and spicy carrot cake which I made for Valerie’s post birthday celebration! It has carrots (duh!), coconut, eggs, flour, pineapple, and walnuts. The easy delicious hand-mixed single layered cake can be baked in a rectangular/square/round pan (see method for baking times as the different pans require different duration) and crowned with a light yet creamy cream cheese frosting.

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Carat (Carrot) Cake Recipe With Coconut, Pineapple, & Walnuts.

Carat (Carrot) Cake Recipe With Coconut, Pineapple, & Walnuts
Ingredients:
2 cups (9 oz) Plain Flour (All-purpose Flour).
2 cups Castor/Fine Sugar (I minus 2 tablespoons from the 2 cups as I found 2 cups too sweet from previous experience).
½ teaspoon (heaped) Salt.
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda (Baking Soda).
2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon.
½ teaspoon ground Nutmeg.
½ teaspoon ground Allspice (optional, I used it).
3 Large Eggs (60g each).
1½ cups Vegetable Oil (I used Safflower Oil).
2 cups finely grated Carrots (about 3 to 4 medium carrots).
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract.
1 can (8 oz) crushed (or finely chopped) Pineapple, well-drained.
1 cup sweetened Coconut Flakes (a.k.a Angel Coconut Flakes not desiccated ones).
1 cup chopped oven baked/lightly-toasted Walnuts.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
4 tablespoons Butter, room temperature.
1 package (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened (I used Philadelphia).
3¼ cups Icing Sugar (a.k.a. Confectioners’ or Powdered Sugar), I didn’t sift.
1½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract.
½ tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice, optional (I use it).

Garnish Suggestions:
Whole Walnuts or ½ cup Chopped Walnuts OR
Toasted Desiccated Coconut OR
Lemon Rind OR
Micro-sized Edible Flowers.

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350° F).

Grease and flour (or line with collar – see my photo) an 8x8x3-inch square (round or spring form) or a 9x13x2-inch rectangular baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg; stir to blend thoroughly.

Add the eggs, vegetable oil, shredded carrots, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla; beat/whisk until well blended.

Stir in the well-drained pineapple, the coconut flakes, and the chopped walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Give it a few light bangs on the counter/table to let out trapped bubbles and use toothpick to burst them.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes for rectangular metal pan (I used a lined square glass/pyrex dish and needed 60 to 70 minutes on the bottom rack of a countertop oven), or until a bamboo skewer or cake tester inserted in its center comes out clean or very little moist crumbs left.

Remove from oven and place the pan on a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Note:
If you put your cake batter into 8″ pans instead of 9″ pans, you will notice that it takes a lot longer to finish baking.

Also, if you are using glass/Pyrex dish instead of metal pans, baking times need to be adjusted.

If you intend to buy an offset (a.k.a. angled or bent) icing spatula, 8 to 9-inch is a handy size which ensures adequate clearance for almost all cake surfaces. Flexible, stainless steel blade also provides control while preventing breakage.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla together until smooth and creamy in an electric mixer (standalone or handheld). With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add the lemon juice and beat on high speed until smooth and creamy.

Slather the cooled cake thickly with cream cheese frosting. Use off-set spatula to make swirls. If using garnish: Sprinkle with some chopped nuts (or toasted desiccated coconut or lemon rind) or lightly press the whole nuts (pecan or walnut) into the frosting.

Variation:
Make mini muffins. May add the zest of an lemon/orange and lemon/orange juice. Frost with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle top with toasted coconut or lemon/orange rind or a whole pecan/walnut per muffin.

Pictorial Instructions for Cake:

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In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg; stir to blend thoroughly.

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Add the eggs, vegetable oil, shredded carrots, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla; beat/whisk until well blended.

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Stir in the well-drained pineapple, the coconut flakes, and the chopped walnuts.

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Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Give it a few light bangs on the counter/table to let out trapped bubbles and use toothpick to burst them.
Bake in the preheated oven for *45 to 55 minutes for rectangular metal pan (I used a lined square glass/pyrex dish and needed 60 to 70 minutes on the bottom rack of a countertop oven), or until a bamboo skewer or cake tester inserted in its center comes out clean.

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Remove from oven and place the pan on a rack to cool completely before frosting.
You can make cake ahead; a couple of days in advance, covered and kept in fridge OR freeze it and then slowly defrost in fridge for a few days until thawed. Frost on the day you’re serving.

Pictorial Instructions for Frosting:

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Beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla together until smooth and creamy in an electric mixer (standalone or handheld). With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add the lemon juice and beat on high speed until smooth and creamy.

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Slather the cooled cake thickly with cream cheese frosting.

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Ungarnished/Plain Cream Cheese Frosting – I have used an offset (angled) spatula to make swirls.

If using garnish: Sprinkle with some chopped nuts (or toasted desiccated coconut or lemon rind or edible flowers) or lightly press the whole nuts (pecan or walnut) into the frosting.

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Not the prettiest cake decoration as I did not want to garnish at first but these walnuts were actually markers for me to portion and cut the cake. Aren’t I a genius?

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This was the centre/core of the whole cake as you can see the bottom was stained with cream cheese frosting. I usually put some frosting on the cake board or platter to ensure the cake do not slide off easily during transportation (I dabao-ed my baked goods to Valerie’s).

Note: I kept a piece of cake in the fridge (3°C is my fridge temperature) and the next day, it was still moist and the frosting soft enough to eat straight away without warming in microwave.

Happy baking, eating and bonding! 🙂

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