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Moist carrot almond cake with a fruity and delicious orange juice and whipped cream filling, the perfect Easter cake.
Easter is approaching fast, not that the weather really let us think of Easter, we have the kind of weather one would wish to have for Christmas: it is snowing, it is bitter cold and everything is blurry. The thing I feel like doing the most right now is eating some hot creamy soup and then laying on the sofa reading some good book or watching something on Netflix…
But the thought of the approaching Easter is still there and I have been thinking for a while now about what I should cook or bake for Easter this spring. There will definitely be some lamb, something like this Basic Roast Leg of Lamb with White Wine and Potatoes , this Romanian Lamb Stew – Tocanita de miel or this Slow-Cooked Shoulder of Lamb with Mint Pomegranate Yogurt.
And I will make this Romanian Boeuf Salad with Potatoes, Gherkins and Mayonnaise, I cannot even imagine Easter without it, my grandmother always made it for Easter and since having my own family I have kept that tradition myself. And the Romanian Pork Meatball Soup with Smoked Spare Ribs is another one of those Easter or Christmas recipes that my grandmother used to make all the time.
When it comes to sweets and baking, the Romanian Sweet Bread with Walnuts – Cozonac Recipe would be the obvious choice, but as I have been baking so much with yeast lately, experimenting for another project I am doing right now, I think I might leave the yeasty sweet baked goods for a while, make a pause, before we get too tired of them.
So, I would rather bake this wonderfully moist and aromatic Carrot Cake with Almonds and Orange Juice Filling or go back to one of my regular carrot cake recipes like The Best Carrot Coconut Cake with Lemon Frosting or Nigella Lawson’s Best Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
What about you? Have you made any cooking/baking plans for Easter already?
How to make the carrot almond cake:
I found this recipe a long time ago in some German magazine, that I don’t have anymore. I remember scribbling down the recipe in one of my notebooks, shortly before Easter, with the intention of baking the cake as soon as possible. But like with so many other recipes that I intend to make IMMEDIATELY, I didn’t. I love recipes and they keep coming and coming and I only manage to cook or bake a very small number of all those I really love at one moment or another.
However, as the recipe was written in one of the baking notebooks I use a lot, I didn’t forget the recipe, I kept stumbling upon it when searching for more regular recipes that I make more often. And now, thank God, I finally managed to bake the cake, it would have been a shame never to have tasted it, it is amazing.
A moist base with an almond flavor filled with that wonderfully aromatic orange filling made with freshly squeezed orange juice, orange zest and whipped heavy cream. A typical German cake I would say, a cake that nobody could say no to. Only writing about it make me crave it again.
I changed the recipe a bit, replacing some ingredients I don’t like using, like sweetened orange peel from a packet or bottled orange juice with fresh products. But the main change was replacing bottled carrot juice with more fresh orange juice, I don’t know about you, but I find carrot juice unbearable.
To make the base of the Carrot Cake with Almonds and Orange Juice Filling make sure you roast the almonds before using them. I prefer grounding whole almonds in my Thermomix, but using already ground almonds should be OK in baking. However, do take the time to roast them slightly in a dry pan.
Stand by the stove and stir often, if you don’t watch out the almonds can go from roasted to burned in a matter of seconds. And please remove them from the pan the second they are done, if you leave them in the hot pan they will continue cooking and some of them will get black. Been there, done that, not nice, you have to start all over again and almonds or nuts are not quite cheap.
I always recommend using Dr. Oetker Baking Powder (10-pack) for best results when baking my recipes, this is the typical baking powder used in Germany and in Europe and it is single-acting baking powder and not double-acting like the American baking powder. One important thing when baking with single-acting baking powder is to preheat the oven before you start mixing the batter, and give the batter to the oven immediately after mixing it. If you leave it for a while, the baking powder will loose its power and the cake will not rise.
How to make the orange heavy cream filling:
You should start making the filling for the Carrot Cake with Almonds and Orange Juice Filling even before baking the base of the cake. You will have to cook a pudding first, which needs time to cool down completely. That’s why the pudding should be made several hours before you want to fill the cake. Generally, when making such pudding fillings for cakes, I prefer to make the pudding the evening before filling the cake.
Place a piece of cling film directly over the surface of the hot pudding. That will prevent it from forming a skin. Don’t worry about the cling film melting or something like that, it will not happen.
The filling needs to be stabilized with 4 leaves of bloomed gelatin. I wrote detailed instructions about working with gelatin in this post for No Bake Ricotta Sour Cream Cheesecake with Raspberries. Make sure to read it, if you haven’t worked with gelatin before. And don’t stress about it, it is really easy!
The Carrot Cake with Almonds and Orange Juice Filling needs to stay cool and stabilize for about 3-4 hours in the fridge. You can also make the cake one day in advance and let it in the fridge overnight.
If you wish you can decorate the cake with dried orange zest. For this purpose zest one organic orange a few hours before decorating the cake, spread the zest on a piece of kitchen paper and let dry. You could also decorate the cake with small marzipan carrots.
- 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ 1 ¼ cups ground almonds
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz carrots, weighed after peeling
- 4 eggs
- 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ ¾ cup sugar
- 1 packet vanilla sugar
- zest of 1 organic orange
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Dr. Oetker baking powder (See note 1)
- 4 leaves gelatin (Dr. Oetker)
- 1 packet Dr. Oetker vanilla pudding powder, the type that needs cooking
- 40 g/ 1.4 oz/ scant ¼ cup sugar
- 5-6 organic oranges or enough to obtain 375 ml/ 12.7 fl.oz/ 1 2/3 cups + 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (See note 2) and to have one left for filleting
- 400 ml/ 12.5 fl.oz/ 1 ½ cups + 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- zest of ½ organic orange
- To decorate:
- zest of 1 organic orange
- chopped pistachios
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a springform of about 26 cm/ 10.2 inches diameter thoroughly and coat it with flour. Shake well to remove the excess flour.
Peel the carrots. Weigh the required quantity. Finely grate the carrots.
Roast the almonds in a dry pan. Stand by the stove and stir frequently. Immediately remove the roasted almonds from the pan and let cool while you prepare the rest.
Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside. Zest 1 of the oranges for the base.
Beat together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla sugar and orange zest until light in color and creamy, at least 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in the grated carrots and the roasted almonds.
In another bowl mix together the flour and the baking powder Dr. Oetker Baking Powder (10-pack). Sieve the mixture over the egg yolk mixture and fold in. Carefully fold in the egg whites as well. Give the mixture to the prepared springform and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then remove it and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Start with making the pudding as it will need several hours to reach room temperature.
Give the gelatin leaves to a deep plate and cover them with cold water. Leave to bloom as instructed on the packet's instructions, about 10 minutes.
Juice some of the oranges and measure 375 ml/ 12.7 fl.oz/ 1 2/3 cups + 2 tablespoons orange juice. If only a small quantity of liquid is missing you can top that with water. Keep one extra orange whole, as you will need that for the filling.
Stir the pudding powder 2x Dr. Oetker Pudding-Pulver Vanille 3er (German Import) and the sugar with a little of the juice, enough to be able to form a paste. Give the rest of the juice to a saucepan and bring to a boil. When it boils whisk in the pudding paste. Let bubble a couple of times while whisking continuously. Remove from the heat and stir in the bloomed and lightly squeezed gelatin. Place a piece of cling film directly over the surface of the pudding to prevent it from forming a skin. Leave to cool completely.
Zest 1 orange and spread the zest on a piece of kitchen paper. Leave to dry for a while. You will need that for decorating the cake and it works better if the zest is dry. Of course, this step is optional, you can decorate the cake any other way you like.
Beat the heavy cream until stiff. Fold in the zest of ½ orange. Stir the pudding shortly to make it smoother and fold in the whipped heavy cream.
Slice the cake one time horizontally. Place the lower slice on a serving platter. Peel the extra orange and fillet the orange slices, so that all the white skin is removed. Cut the orange fillets into smaller pieces and arrange them all over the lower cake slice. Top with ½ of the orange cream filling.
Place the second cake slice on top and top with the remaining orange cream filling. Decorate with chopped pistachios and dried orange zest.
Note 1: I always recommend using Dr. Oetker baking powder for best results when baking my recipes, this is the typical baking powder used in Germany and it is single-acting baking powder and not double-acting like the American baking powder. One important thing when baking with single-acting baking powder is to preheat the oven before you start mixing the batter, and give the batter to the oven immediately after mixing it. If you leave it for a while, the baking powder will loose its power and the cake will not rise. Note 2: I got that amount of juice out of 4 very large oranges. Buy 1 or 2 more to make sure you have enough + 1 extra orange for filleting. The oranges should be organic, as you will need their zest as well.
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