Easter is just around the corner and often that means Easter bunnies, Easter eggs, chocolate and carrot cake. This year, why not combine some of these things and bake a naked chocolate carrot cake (and decorated it with chocolate Easter eggs and Easter bunnies, of course)?
Bring on the vegies
We are not averse to using root vegetables in our cakes. We shared our recipe for maple parsnip cupcakes with maple buttercream in Autumn. We’ve combined root vegetables with chocolate, too, such as our chocolate beetroot cupcakes with chocolate creme frâiche frosting.
We are partial to a good carrot cake, my favourite being this pineapple and carrot cake, which makes a regular appearance in our house, as I have mentioned before. I even considered making this carrot cake again for Easter this year, to go with our Easter chicken.
Then I found this recipe in the free magazine from one of our supermarkets. Unfortunately, I don’t even remember which supermarket it was, I just wrote up the recipe and got rid of the rest.
The combination of carrot and chocolate makes this naked chocolate carrot cake perfect for Easter. It is so moist. Add some Easter eggs and chocolate Easter bunnies as decoration and it is the perfect cake for afternoon tea or dessert for Easter.
A supermarket recipe tweaked to make it more Easter-like
Of course, I had to tweak the recipe a little. It was not chocolatey enough for me, especially if I was going to make it for Easter. So I added some extra melted dark chocolate.
I also tweaked the frosting. I had recently made a custard-based frosting – which is super easy (I’m posting the recipe in a few weeks). When I was scouring the empty shelves at one of our supermarkets, I found some caramel custard powder and decided that salted caramel would go wonderfully with the chocolate and carrot. Don’t you agree?
Unfortunately, my custard was not thick enough. When I then used it to make the frosting, it had tiny lumps in it as the butter and caramel custard were not the same consistency. It still tasted wonderful, but it could have been smoother and looked better. If you are worried, try a different frosting, such as my white chocolate buttercream.
Finally, I decided to add a layer of Nutella or chocolate spread. We had Nutella in the cupboard, so that is what we used. It was worth it.
Two things annoyed me about this cake:
- It uses a lot of bowls. One for the dry, one for the melted chocolate, one for the mixing, one for the custard, one for frosting… there is a lot to wash up afterwards.
- The cakes (and the pudding) took a LOT longer to cool than I had anticipated. I ended up covering the cakes and assembling the layers the next day as they just did not want to cool.
The cake looked best mounted on a cake stand. If you haven’t got one already, get one as it will make a lot of your baking your more elegant than a plate. I love this cake stand, but you can get whatever style you want. It is also great for afternoon tea.
A NAKED chocolate carrot cake
The chocolate carrot cake is designed to be a naked cake.
What is a naked cake (and why is it naked)? A naked cake is one with barely-there or no frosting on its outer edge. Accordingly, it’s naked because it is not ‘wearing’ frosting and leaves the natural texture and layers of cake and filling exposed. The trend was supposedly popularised by Christina Tosi of Milk Bar in 2014 (though I have no way of verifying this as I don’t know who Christina Tosi is or where Milk Bar is). Naked cakes are great if you are short on frosting or it’s a hot day, or if you want a rustic look.
I will admit, I have never made a naked cake before. That’s not because I was scared of the concept, but because I tend to make more cupcakes than actual cakes. A naked cupcake would just mean no frosting, so essentially just a muffin.
You won’t be surprised to learn that this naked chocolate carrot cake was right up my alley. I also tend not to make large cakes because I have little patience with fiddly details decorating. Like my craft projects, I want my cakes to be simple and effective – or in the case of cakes, delicious. A naked cake is one way to keep things simple.
As it is a naked cake, it also means that the decorations are simple. For Easter, all you need to do is throw a few Easter eggs or small chocolate Easter bunnies on top. My decorations a bit wonky, but I had a mini-baker assisting. Drizzle on some caramel sauce – homemade or store-bought – and you are done. Then just sit back and enjoy!
Make a naked chocolate carrot cake this Easter
This chocolatey twist on a classic Easter cake is easy, delicious and perfect for the season. The simplicity of the naked chocolate carrot cake means you will not be spending too much time decorating the cake and trying to get it perfect – rustic simplicity is the name of the game.
Why not make this naked chocolate carrot cake for your Easter afternoon tea or dessert?
Naked chocolate carrot cake
- springform cake tins
- bread knife or cake cutter
- flat knife
For the batter
- 125 g butter at room temperature
- 150 g plain flour
- 200 g carrots peeled and grated
- 120 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 3 large eggs
- 100 g ground almonds
- 2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 150 g cooking chocolate dark or milk, melted and cooled
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons of strong espresso
For the frosting
- 1/2 pack of caramel custard/pudding powder
- 250 mL milk
- 50 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 125 g butter at room temperature
- Nutella or chocolate spread optional
- 4 tablespoons caramel sauce
- coarse sea salt
- chocolate easter eggs and easter bunnies for decoration
- chocolate for shaving
For the batter
- Preheat the oven to 180°c. Spread fat on two 15 cm springform cake tins and line with baking paper.
- Finely grate the carrots and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the vanilla essence and the eggs one at a time, beating for approximately 30 seconds between each addition of egg.
- Combine the flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir with a whisk.
- Add the flour mix and then carrots to the egg mix, alternating between the two and mixing well between each addition. Add the melted chocolate and mix well.
- Pour equal amounts of the batter into the 2 cake tins and spread to make it flat. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes then remove them from the springform pans and allow to cool completely.
- Cut the top off one cake horizontally to give it a flat top. If your cake height allows, cut each cake into two pieces horizontally so that you have up to 4 layers of equal height.
- Mix the orange juice with the espresso and sprinkle it evenly of the four pieces of cake.
For the frosting
- While the cake is baking: place the custard mix, milk, 40 g sugar and vanilla essence in a saucepan and cook according to the instructions on the custard mix package. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing it down onto the surface of the custard to stop a skin forming. Allow to cool completely.
- Whip the butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until creamy (approximately 10 minutes). Add the custard and the remaining sugar spoon by spoon and whip well to combine.
To assemble the cake
- Spread approximately 1/4 of the frosting on one layer of the cake, spreading until it is even. Place the next layer of cake on top and spread with a layer of Nutella or chocolate spread. Then add more caramel frosting. Place the next layer on top and spread with frosting. Finally, place the last layer of cake on top.
- Spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake, spreading until smooth. Run a flat knife around the side of the cake to spread any frosting that is oozing out the side. Place in the refrigerator and cool for at least 30 minutes.
- To serve, add the salt to the caramel sauce and sprinkle of the cake. Add the Easter eggs and Easter bunnies and chocolate shavings to the top to decorate.