Chefs' Recipes

Sixpenny's carrot cake with candied walnuts

The cake that saved Sixpenny during lockdown.

By Daniel Puskas
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 55 mins cooking (plus cooling)
  • Serves 10 - 12
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During the 2020 lockdown, Sydney fine-dining restaurant Sixpenny turned into a bakery and general store, with lines snaking down the streets of Stanmore as customers queued for chilli sauce, sourdough and this carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and candied walnuts. "I adapted this cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible," says chef-owner Daniel Puskas. "It's been my favourite cake for a really long time."

Ingredients

  • 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 300 gm caster sugar
  • 100 gm brown sugar
  • 270 ml rice bran oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 450 gm coarsely grated carrot (about 4 carrots)
Cream cheese icing
  • 110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 50 gm walnuts
  • Sea salt flakes, to sprinkle

Method

  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two round 22cm cake pans and line base and sides with baking paper.
  • 2
    Whisk flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, cocoa and cinnamon in a bowl until combined. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until thick and smooth (2 minutes). Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in carrot. Divide mixture evenly between prepared pans, smooth tops and bake, swapping tins half way through cooking time, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean (45-55 minutes). Cool in tins for 10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack.
  • 3
    For candied walnuts, roast walnuts on an oven tray lined with baking paper until golden (4-5 minutes). Meanwhile, bring sugar and 50ml water to the simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir until sugar dissolves and brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar particles. Increase heat to high and cook until caramel (5-10 minutes). Pour caramel evenly over nuts and sprinkle with salt flakes. Set aside to cool (10-15 minutes).
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for cream cheese icing beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy (3 minutes). Add cream cheese and beat until well combined (1 minute). Refrigerate, if needed, to firm to a spreading consistency.
  • 5
    Spread half the icing on top of each cake then stack one cake on top of the other. Scatter with candied walnuts and slice cake to serve.