Last Sunday, we had Audrey’s fourth birthday at the Hounslow Urban Farm. This is the first time we had a children focussed birthday celebration for her, and were certainly excited to be welcoming many of her little friends. We had to organise this remotely as we were recently away in North America for nearly three weeks, and then only returning the day before from a wedding in Oxford. Thanks to online catering ordering, we were able to get food organised well in advance, but as with her previous three birthdays, I wanted to make her a birthday cake – perhaps a “tradition” that I could do this for her as I long as I could.
So in the middle of being slightly car sick from our coach travels and exhausted from travelling and dancing at the wedding the night before, I decided to go for something straightforward and without nut allergens. I used a carrot and cream cheese frosting muffin base to make three batches – two for the cake sandwich, one for extra cupcakes. It also uses vegetable oil instead of butter which makes it lighter and easier to mix. We only had a one cake box which we kept for reusing, as our party is offsite, logistically it was impossible to have more than one cake.
As with other things, Audrey wanted to take part in making her own cake. She did some mixing and folding of the batter – she also tried the batter (just a little!) to give her approval. Jeff helped with the frosting, which was meticulously applied. Here’s a recipe for anyone who’s interested!
Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting
For the cake
170g brown sugar
200g self-raising flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp grated orange peel – I used Chinese preserved orange peel （陳皮）
1tsp cinnamon spice
150ml vegetable oil
100g grated carrots
For the frosting
100g butter, softened
300g cream cheese (1 average tub)
100g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 180C. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and oil. Stir in dry ingredients, add grated carrots. Add this to a cake tin or a lined muffin tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes until skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool on wire rack before icing.
For the icing, beat butter and cream cheese, add icing sugar. Use a palette knife or spatula to apply the icing evenly between the cake sandwiches and around the cake / top the muffins. Add decorations as desired.
Make: one layer / 12 muffins
Serve: we divided the cake into very small child-friendly portions to go round nearly 30 children and most of their parents!