Playing favourites


(Sticky Carrot, pineapple, ginger and macadamia cake)

This is my favourite carrot cake. There are many others like it, but this one is mine.

To think, I didn’t even give it a second glance when I first saw the recipe in one of my favourite cookbooks. It was a chance conversation with a friend that led me to give it a go. You know you have to when people whose opinion you trust, exclaim, “You must make it! It’s soooo good!”, while their eyeballs are rolling to the back of their head and they’re dribbling a little at the thought.

So after I’d cleaned up the mess she had made to the carpet, I resolved to buy some carrots and try the cake. This was almost a year ago. Since then, I’ve made it a few more times and it’s still as luscious and lip-smackingly moist as ever.

Don’t be daunted by the seemingly long list of ingredients. It takes less time to measure out than you think. Don’t stint on the frosting either. If you’re on a New Year’s health kick (like many people I know), you could substitute some of the sour cream for thick yogurt. Whatever you do, don’t omit the frosting entirely! It truly completes the entire cake-eating experience.

The recipe? Why here it is, but should you attempt it, please don’t blame me if any random drooling occurs.

Sticky pineapple, carrot, ginger and macadamia cake :
(serves 12 – 16; from Mix & Bake by Belinda Jeffery)

for the cake :
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
440g caster sugar
35g shredded coconut
120g roasted macadamias, roughly chopped
6 pieces crystallised ginger, finely chopped
3 eggs
60ml buttermilk
60ml macadamia oil or light olive oil
2 cups grated carrot (approximately 4 medium-sized peeled carrots)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 x 440g can crushed pineapple (in natural juice), drained
toasted coconut chips, to serve

for the sticky glaze :
110g caster sugar
60ml buttermilk
60g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the vanilla cream :
250ml thickened cream
190ml sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180’C. Butter two shallow 23 or 24cm round cake tins. Line the bases with buttered baking paper then dust the tins with flour. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix everything together with a balloon whisk for 1 minute. Add the shredded coconut, macadamias and ginger and toss them about so they’re well coated in the flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, then whisk in the buttermilk and oil until just combined. Use a spatula to stir in the carrots, vanilla extract and drained pineapple. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir them together until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake tins. Sit them on the middle shelves of the oven and bake them for about 40 minutes or until the centre of each springs back when lightly pressed.

Meanwhile, to make the sticky glaze, put all the glaze ingredients except the vanilla extract into a small saucepan over medium-heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then bring it to the boil. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat to low-medium so the syrup bubbles steadily and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract, then set aside in a warm spot.

When the cakes are ready, transfer the tins to a wire rack. Leave them in their tins and immediately pour half of the sticky glaze over each cake, tilting them so the tops are evenly coated. Leave them to cool for 30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the tins, discard the baking paper and let them cool completely on wire racks.

For the vanilla cream, put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk carefully just until soft peaks form. Gently loosen under one of the cake layers and sit it on a serving plate. Spread about half of the cream evenly over the top, leaving a slight border all around (this is so the cream doesn’t squish out the sides when the next layer goes on). Sit the second layer on this. Spread the remaining cream evenly over the top. To finish it off, dot the toasted coconut flakes over the top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tags: , , , ,


  1. Christy said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

    Oh, I’m first (I think)! And I thought that never happens anymore.

    Mmmmmmm….(picture me saying that while exhaling and closing my eyes). I LOVE carrot cake. I can’t believe how long it took you to share this find with us. How selfish of you. I bet you I can eat the whole cake in one day if I have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. Why, it practically carries my daily serving of vegetables, fruits and nuts!

  2. Asha@FSK said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

    Oh! I already like it, because it doesn’t have a cream cheese frosting!!! :)))

    Love the addition of ginger and pineapples! Whoever, would have thought of that??!!

  3. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

    Hmm natural yogurt instead of sour cream? I like the sound of that! Hehe I made a carrot cake the other day. Great minds think alike huh? πŸ˜‰

  4. sugar plum fairy said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

    If i bake this cake am sure it’ll be my all time fav too-looks so good …would love to sink my teeth right away…..You are fantastic Y.Lee.
    HAve a cheer filled frolicking day…

  5. Reemski said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

    Oooh, really? Have you tried the Bourke St Bakery one yet? I shall have to give this one a go…

  6. Trissa said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

    OMG Y – that does look so amazing. The cake just pops out of the screen – I don’t mind if I drool and make a fool of myself for this cake.

  7. Hannah said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    Oh wow πŸ˜€ That looks SO good! Especially the frosting πŸ˜€ Would never have thought to use ginger/pineapple in a carrot cake but thinking about it I bet it works really well! *inspired*

  8. the caked crusader said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

    I have that book and think I must have passed it by like you! It looks amazing. I’m never that keen on the cream cheese frosting so this would be perfect. Love the idea of the zing that the ginger and pineapple would provide.

  9. Ali said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

    YUM! Cake, oh how I miss a good old cake!! πŸ˜‰

  10. faithy said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

    I have to try this soon!! Looks so good!

  11. penny aka jeroxie said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

    I am definitely bookmarking this for future use. I always love a good and moist carrot cake.

  12. Moya said,

    January 25, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

    Took one look at the name and started printing out the recipe. This one’s for Australia Day afternoon tea!

  13. grace said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 12:06 am

    fact: i’ve never eaten a piece of carrot cake that i didn’t like. there are so many variations, and i can see why this one is your favorite. it could definitely immediately become a winner for me as well. πŸ™‚

  14. shaz said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 12:33 am

    Hi Y, so glad to see you like Mix & Bake. I was given a book voucher last birthday and spent AGES trying to decide what book to get. Eventually I kept returning to “Mix and bake” (the cover clinched it for me). I love the chatty instructions and all those photos. Haven’t tried this cake yet, but upon your reccomendation, will get onto it pronto!

  15. Laura said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 1:15 am

    I don’t like carrot cakes usually, there is something ordinary and I can’t stand the taste of oil. I recently found one recipe that is gluten free and has no oil or butter, delicious. I will try yours since I trust your taste despite having never met you.

    I will report when I do try it.

    Have a great week!

  16. cathy x. said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 2:04 am

    i was just walking around your neighbourhood doing.. stuff.. soooo.. is there any cake left? :P*

  17. Manggy said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 2:05 am

    Ewww random drooling! :P~~~
    I totally understand, though. Carrot is one of my favorite cakes– love at first bite, I swear. By the way, how many grams would the carrots be, you reckon?

    Thanks also for reviewing this book for us πŸ™‚

  18. Rosa said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 3:54 am

    That is an awesome combo! Really fantastic!



  19. Hannah said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 4:20 am

    While I can definitely get behind a good carrot cake, I have yet to find one that is simply amazing. This definitely sounds like it’s got a good chance at changing that… It’s be easy enough to sub out the eggs and buttermilk, too. πŸ˜‰

  20. Dana McCauley said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 6:08 am

    Nice combo of tropical flavours. I really like that your cake isn’t sodden with tons of oil. So many carrot cake recipes are over oiled in my opinion.

  21. Sarka said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 9:03 am

    Ok, first I thought, just another cake, BUT as I kept reading… carrot, pineapple, ginger and macadamia???!! Oh, yummy! This grabbed my attention instantly! I have to give this one a try, soon! Thank you for sharing! πŸ˜‰

  22. shirley@kokken69 said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 11:34 am

    I agree with you, this looks like the best carrot cake I have seen. Thanks for sharing the recipe – I will probably try this Chinese New Year!

  23. Arwen from Hoglet K said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

    Oo, I can even see the macadamias! There’s something lovely about the sound of a “sticky glaze” too.

  24. Big Boys Oven said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

    At last after such a patient wait, I get to see such a beauty creation yet again from you, so worth every wait! lovely and mouth salivating! I must forking into the slice with my naked eye! πŸ™‚

  25. anna said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

    Pretty much anything can be made better by adding pineapple and macadamias. Apparently carrot cake is no exception. When I get a hankering for it in the spring I’ll try this recipe next!

  26. lisa @ dandysugar said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

    It’s nice to see a carrot cake with a non-cream cheese frosting. Oh, I do love cream cheese but the vanilla cream sounds like a delicious change. I can tell this is one moist cake too. Can’t wait to try this one!

  27. erin said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

    Wow! I’m adding it to my to-do list right now!

  28. Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

    Ah. Good thing i’m not on a New Year’s health cake. Bring on the cake! I love the combination of flavors – macadamia nuts have been my new favorite thing for a while – I love that there’s big pieces in there!

  29. Jamie said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

    Have to say that 1) I only attempted a carrot cake once and it did not come out as gorgeous and perfect as yours, so I must try this recipe!
    2) That is a perfect amount of frosting! Many put way too much super sweet frosting on carrot cakes and it completely wipes out the cake. You have it just right!

    Stunning! Perfect, beautiful cake. And you are too funny!

  30. Sophie said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

    Hello Y!!

    What a georgous, tasty & lovely filled cake this is!!

    It is huge!!! MMMMM,…I would like a thinner slice to enjoy now with my morning coffee,…Thanks!

  31. Inner Pickle said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

    I am SO GLAD you posted this!! I must get the Belinda Jeffery book but meanwhile am making this. Immediately. It looks awesome. Glad to see your oven must be working again too, was worrying! xxx

  32. Lauren said,

    January 27, 2010 @ 1:32 am

    It looks so fascinating! I love the flavour combination =D.

  33. Su-yin said,

    January 27, 2010 @ 9:41 am

    Macadamias in a carrot cake – yum. I’ve always used walnuts as they are more readily available, now I really want to try it out with macadamias. πŸ™‚

  34. Caitlin said,

    January 27, 2010 @ 11:47 pm

    Gah! How have I not made this?! Definitely need to crack open this book again.

  35. Sophie said,

    January 28, 2010 @ 4:32 am

    Carrot cake is one of my favorites… and I love macadamias, what a tasty addition. Let me just say, this cake is for ME.

    Using yogurt in the frosting as a substitute? That is such a cool idea, I’m gonna have to remember that tip :).

  36. Julia @ MΓ©langer said,

    January 28, 2010 @ 7:51 am

    Y, I think EVERYONE needs to own a copy of Belinda’s book. I just adore it. Every recipe is foolproof, and delicious. I’ve not made this one, shame on me, but well, do you think I will be able to go by it now? I think not.

  37. Sweets at Vicky's said,

    January 28, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

    OHmyohmy, just when carrot cake COULD NOT get any better… does Belinda’s book comes highly recommended? I’ve been so disappointed with so many books that I’m a little worried to buy a new one…yet.

  38. Y said,

    February 1, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

    Sweets at Vicky’s : It’s one of my all time favourite baking books, but it’s hard to recommend books unless I know which ones are your personal favourites. Everyone looks for something different in a baking book. I like simple, creative, and tasty. It’s also not a selling point of the book, but I think Mix & Bake is actually quite a healthy baking book – Belinda always uses good quality ingredients and plenty of wholemeal flour and overall seems very restrained in her use of butter and sugar (without compromising on results).

  39. betty said,

    February 5, 2010 @ 10:40 am

    cake looks amazing yummy :O)

  40. Jacque said,

    February 5, 2010 @ 11:56 am

    Oh my goodness. I have to make this, it looks fantastic! I love the idea of adding macadamia nuts… a perfect addition to a perfect cake.

  41. Rosie of BooksAndBakes said,

    February 9, 2010 @ 10:35 am

    My, this is amazing! The deluxe carrot cake!
    I looove your photos – you must put a lot of time into them – keep it up!
    Rosie of BooksAndBakes

  42. Michelle said,

    February 13, 2010 @ 10:52 am

    I’ve been making that cake for ten years,haven’t meet anyone that doesn’t love it
    Belinda first published it in better homes and gardens

  43. PastryPrincess said,

    March 6, 2010 @ 11:45 pm

    this sounds scrumptious! like an even better version of hummingbird cake – love it! the great buttery flavour of macadamias is lovely and im a massive fan of ginger, too! double-yum and 2 thumbs up!

  44. Michelle said,

    November 5, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    Love this cake!,I’ve been making it for over ten years when I found it in family circle mag.I’ve doubled it baked it in a brownie pan it even great to freeze just ice when defrosted.Yum!

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment