Carrot, Apple and Pecan Traybake
I love this carrot cake! The addition of the apple and pecans make it extra special and just way more yummy! I feel like when it comes to carrot cake, people can be quite opinionated with how it should be but this recipe is here to please the masses! I am super proud of this recipe and I hope you will make it. It is topped with a delicious brown butter cream cheese frosting as well as a swirl of caramel. Just a real treat!
HOW TO MAKE BROWN BUTTER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING?
To compliment the nuttiness and flavour of the carrot cake, I wanted to add another layer of flavour instead of a regular frosting. So why not toast the butter so that it has nutty caramel notes running through it, it adds so much flavour!
When you heat up butter for long enough the milk solids in the butter cook and caramelise resulting in a deep, nutty flavour. Pour that delicious, melted butter into a container and refrigerate and let it set completely. You then have browned butter ready to use just like normal butter. Using this technique for anything that needs butter adds another layer of flavour to your dish…what can get better than that?!
HOW TO MAKE APPLE CRISPS?
For the decorations I've used homemade apple crisps. They may look difficult to make, but in fact they are so easy! You will need a mandolin to slice the apples super thin. (Please be careful when slicing these!) If you don't have a mandolin you can use a very sharp knife to cut the apples. Then you literally just put them in the oven on a low temperature until the apple slices have dried out and are starting to crispen up. They are also a great healthy snack!
You will need 20cm square tin.
For the sponge:
135g Melted Butter
150g Grated Carrots
150g Bramley Apple, peeled and chopped into 2cm chunks
75g Pecans, chopped
270g Light brown sugar
3 medium eggs
300g Plain flour
2 1/4 tsp. Baking powder
3/4 tsp. Bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2tsp Cinnamon
For the frosting:
400g Icing sugar
180g Cream Cheese
For the decorations:
75g Caster sugar
75g Double cream
pinch of salt
Firstly, let's prepare the decorations. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees celsius. Using a mandolin, cut an apple into thin slices. Place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and place into the oven for 20 minutes, then flip the apple slices over and cook for another 20 minutes.
To prepare the butter for the frosting, place the butter into a small pan and cook until the butter has turned golden brown and starts to smell nutty. The temperature will be 150 degrees. Pour into a small container and leave to solidify in the fridge.
Now for the caramel. Place the caster sugar into a small pan and heat on a medium heat until the sugar dissolves and turns into a caramel colour, slowly add the cream to the caramel and mix until well incorporated. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius (fan). Grease and line the 20cm square tin with baking paper.
In the bowl of a free standing mixer or using an electric whisk, add the melted butter, carrots and sugar to the bowl and mix together. Gradually add the eggs and continue mixing until well combined.
Fold in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon and mix until just incorporated. Then add the chopped apple and pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and place in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and cooked all the way through
Now to make the frosting, with the set browned butter, weigh the butter to 200g. (When cooking the butter you would have lost some weight so best to weigh it again! Cream the butter using a whisk or a free standing mixer with the paddle attachment until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the icing sugar to the butter until well incorporated.
Once the icing sugar has been completely incorporated, add the cream cheese until fluffy!
Now for the assembly, using a palette knife to spread the frosting onto the cake, swirling to the shape you like!
Drizzle with caramel and top with the apple crisps and pecans.