Juliet Sears' carrot patch Easter sponge

It’s carrot cake, but not as you know it! Our resident Star Baker Juliet Sear is back in the kitchen with an Easter showstopper.

Prepare to stun all your weekend guests with this delicious carrot patch cake.

Ingredients

For the sponge cake:

200g light muscovado sugar

200ml sunflower oil

4 medium eggs

150g grated carrot

125g sultanas

Zest of an orange

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp mixed spice

200g self raising flour

For the frosting:

175g soft unsalted butter

350g unrefined icing sugar, sieved

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

150g cream cheese, at room temperature

For the decoration:

2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts

1 tsp cocoa powder

Some real little carrots (as many as you like, we used seven) ideally with their green tops, if you prefer you can make marzipan or sugar carrots.

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line two 8 inch round cake tins.

  • In a large bowl, mix the sugar into the oil until the lumps have disappeared.

  • Add the eggs and whisk through

  • Tip in the carrot, sultanas and orange zest and mix together.

  • In a separate bowl whisk the bicarb and spices through the flour, then add the flour mix to the wet mix and gently combine until just mixed and divide into the tins.

  • Bake for apprize 30-35 mins until the sponges are golden, springy and cooked through.

  • Leave to cool in the cake tins for 5 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Make the frosting by beating the butter, icing sugar and vanilla until pale smooth and creamy, then gently beat the cream cheese into the mixture.

  • Place the cake on your plate, board or stand, spread or pipe over with a layer of frosting. Place the second cake on top and cover generously with the frosting.

  • In a bowl, toss the chopped nuts in the cocoa, then crumble over the cake where you want your ‘earth’ to be. Then trim the carrots down and place around the cake, as if they are growing out from the cake in a pretty pattern.