Baking, Food, Recipes

Carrot cake with vanilla bean icing

April 11, 2015

When I was contacted by the lovely people at Baking Mad asking whether I fancied partnering with them and Nielsen-Massey to make one of their delicious vanilla recipes, the answer was always going to be yes!

Ever since I started watching the Barefoot Contessa (probably my favourite cooking show) and Ina raved about Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract I knew I had to get some. It’s now the only vanilla extract I will ever use. It may seem expensive but the taste this gives your cakes truly makes it a worthy expense. I was sent this amazing hamper with some products from Nielsen-Massey and Billingtons for the cake.

One important tip is that vanilla extract and vanilla essence are completely different. Vanilla extract is a completely natural product made from soaking vanilla pods, whereas vanilla essence is an artificial flavour so always make sure to look out for good vanilla extract.

The Baking Mad website has a huge selection of different recipes but I chose to make this delicious looking carrot cake recipe. I was really intrigued by the vanilla bean icing made with golden icing sugar.

The carrot cake recipe itself was a little different from other carrot cake recipes I’ve made. Firstly it uses butter, whereas often a carrot cake calls for sunflower oil. I was worried this would make it a little dry. However, while it was certainly a bit denser, the warm syrup brushed on the cake added plenty of moisture.

I had to make one little adjustment to this recipe as I didn’t have any wholemeal self raising flour. I therefore used one of the little tips I found on the Baking Mad website and converted my plain flour by adding 2 teaspoons of baking powder and it worked out perfectly.

You will also notice I made a triple layer cake. I didn’t change the quantities at all as the given recipe divided nicely between the three 7 inch (18cm) tins (I bought these ones from Lakeland which were half off). I did adjust the cooking time and checked them after 25 minutes, at which point these babies were done!

Now let’s talk about this heavenly icing, look how pretty it is speckled with vanilla. I knew it was going to be pretty amazing with the vanilla bean paste (I was so excited to receive this) but what made the icing especially amazing was the golden icing sugar. This stuff was delicious! When you get that puff of icing sugar and it goes everywhere, including your mouth, and it tastes deliciously sweet. Well this tasted really caramelly and so yummy. I had heard of golden caster sugar before but never icing sugar. I will definitely be purchasing this again. One thing to point out is that it does give your frosting a more golden colour than regular icing sugar.

I have listed the ingredients below with one change. I didn’t have mixed spice so I used 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 a teaspoon of ground ginger.

Carrot cake with vanilla bean icing
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  1. 250g butter (unsalted) softened
  2. 250g unrefined golden caster sugar
  3. 4 egg(s) (free range) lightly whisked
  4. 1tsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract
  5. 250g self-raising wholemeal flour
  6. 150g carrot(s) peeled and coarsely grated
  7. 75g pineapple tinned, throughly chopped
  8. 1 lemon (zest only)
  9. 1tsp cinnamon
  10. 1/2tsp ground ginger
  11. 50g sultanas
  12. 100g pistachio nuts roughly chopped
  13. 50g pecan nuts toasted and roughly chopped
  1. 50g unrefined light muscovado sugar
  2. 1 lemon (juice only)
  3. 1tsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract
  1. 75g butter (unsalted) softened
  2. 450g unrefined golden icing sugar
  3. 180g cream cheese
  4. 1tsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste
  1. For full directions check out the Baking Mad website.
a girl & her home

I was contacted on behalf of Baking Mad to cook one of the recipes on their site in exchange for hamper full of Nielsen Massey and Billingtons. All opinions are my own.

Linking up with: Fiesta Friday

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  • Hilda Cowan

    This cake appeals very much to the senses – really beautiful. I have never heard of golden icing sugar before but will look for it. If I don’t find it, might just try adding a smidge of molasses to it the white variety. Thanks for sharing this lovely creation with us at FF.
    I have tried and failed twice to comment on this beautiful cake. I hope this one gets through.

    • Laura @ a girl & her home

      You definitely need to check out the golden icing sugar. I was really surprised at how different it tasted, a lot smoother and less sweeter. Sorry about the comment problems! Let me know if it’s anything you think I can fix!

      • Hilda Cowan

        Thanks. I think I got it figured out now.

  • Charlotte Oates

    Carrot cake is my husband’s favourite cake. He’s always asking me to make one so I’ll have to give this one a go sometime. It looks absolutely delicious.

    Thanks for joining in with #FoodYearLinkup

    • Laura @ a girl & her home

      Thanks Charlotte! It did taste pretty delicious too!

  • Jenny @ modern family baking

    I love neilson massey and billingtons, they have such great products and your cake looks lovely. Popping over from recipe of the week / bake of the week. I’ve actually just launched a new linky called #FamilyBakes on my site Modern Family Baking if you were interested in joining in?

    • Laura @ a girl & her home

      Thanks Jenny! I will definitely be popping over to you site to check out your link up!

  • Pingback: Dulce De Leche Marshmallow Brownies #Bakeoftheweek - Casa Costello()

  • Helen Costello

    Just stunning – I love the simplicity of your decoration yet how effective it is. Thanks so much for joining in with #bakeoftheweek New roundup and linky now open x

    • Laura @ a girl & her home

      Thank Helen! I always prefer simple decoration as it’s amazing how effective they can be!