Tuesday, 14 May 2013

I heart my Mum : Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing and Pink Buttercream Biscuits


I heart my Mum more than I can say, but she drives me nuts.

As you can probably tell by now, I love celebrating the special days of the year and think nothing of making a big effort for them. Spend days in the kitchen for Christmas, Easter, New Years? No problem!

But there's really no point if the guest of honour isn't bothered. And guess who that would be, most of the time?

This year however, we coaxed my Mum into admitting that she would like a special dinner for Mother's Day. Of Irish Stew and Carrot Cake. I told you here, we come from a family of very exotic eaters!

But that didn't mean I couldn't fancy it all up a bit and decided to do a small dessert table. After all, my Mum really deserves as big a deal as she will let us put on for her.

I decided to use what my Mum already had around the house, including her drinks trolley and her good china. The Carrot Cake that she wanted, as well as some Pink Buttercream Cookies and a few sweets, were enough for a special after-dinner treat for our Party of 11.

Having so many bits and pieces on the trolley, I decided to keep the decoration of the cake and cookies pretty simple. But (I think anyway!) it was pretty effective. If you want to have a go, the lines are cut into the icing free-hand with a knife or skewer, and the crosses dotted with coloured cachous.

Having done this a few times now, I've discovered that the trick is to wipe the knife or skewer of any icing after each line. Also the more free-hand the better, so leave the rulers and measurements for another day. Finally, you will need to make the icing as thick as possible (I mean it, throw at least an extra cup of icing sugar in there!) and if you can bear to leave the icing a bit rough as well, it will make whole thing look a bit more cushiony looking.

So, judging by the amount of people in the baking aisle of my Woolies on Sunday, I wasn't the only one baking for Mother's Day. Let me know below if you indulged your lovely Mum with any baked treats? Or maybe you paid her the ultimate compliment (ahem!) and got her to bake you something instead. If so, you are a person after my own heart!

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

(This will make enough for a large two-tier cake baked in sandwich tins.)


1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil
6 eggs
3 cups (450g) self raising flour, sifted
2 cups (440g) brown sugar, firmly packed
4 teaspoons mixed spice
4 cups grated carrots (about 8 medium carrots)
1 cup chopped pecans
60g butter
150g cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 cups (360g) icing sugar

Oh carrot cake, lucky you are so tasty because you are definitely not the prettiest cake mix!


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line two 18cm sandwich tins with grease-proof paper. Make sure the paper extends above the tin by 5cm.
  2. Place oil, eggs, flour, brown sugar and mixed spice in a large bowl and stir until combined.
  3. Stir carrot and pecans into mixture.
  4. Divide cake mixture between tins and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Make the icing in the meantime, by beating butter and cream cheese until combined. Add icing sugar slowly until also combined. Place into the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
  6. Once cakes are cooled, spread with icing and decorate as you like!
If you read this post, you'll know this is the magic ingredient. Luckily I remembered it this time!

Pink Buttercream Biscuits

(This will make about 24 large square biscuits. I call them Pink Buttercream Biscuits (well, because they are), but you can make them whatever colour your heart desires! Thanks to everyone for putting these all over the internet. Especially Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, from which I adapted this recipe.)


100g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 Tbsp sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Pink Icing
75g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 cups icing sugar
Few drops of food colouring
Splash of milk (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy about 3-4 minutes. Stir in egg and egg white. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until blended.
  4. Slowly add dry mixture and stir until well combined.
  5. With buttered hands, gently press (so gently almost patting) mixture into buttered baking dish.
  6. Bake 16 – 19 minutes until toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and edges are lightly golden.
  7. In the meantime, beat the butter, and 1 large spoonful of the icing sugar with an electric mixer until pale and combined. Add extract and colouring and beat well. Slowly add the rest of the icing sugar until it reaches the consistency you like. If it gets too thick, add the milk.
  8. Cool the biscuits completely, then frost with the icing and cut into the size you need.

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