Great British Bake Off Challenge: Carrot, Apple and Courgette Cake

It's that time of year again, and I've been particularly looking forward to it. Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past week, you'll know The Great British Bake Off is back. And just as brilliant as ever! I applied this year and got through to the phone interview round but I think I was probably too nervous over the phone and didn't get through. Good job though really as the filming would have been during my morning sickness/baking aversion period.
 
This year there is a whole group of brilliant bloggers taking part in the challenge over at Bakers Anonymous, a fantastic site set up by Hannah at The Littlest Bakehouse and Stephanie at Riverside Baking. I'm really pleased that there are lots of us taking part this year as last year I was just doing it on my own. You can find all of the posts by the other bloggers here, there are some gorgeous looking angel cakes already posted. I decided to go for one of the other categories, the sandwich cake. I don't have an angel cake tin and my last few bundt cakes have been reluctant to turn out of the tin the way I want them to so I figured it was safest to go with a sandwich cake.
 
I have actually had carrot cake on my to do list for about a month so I'm pleased to have an excuse to get round to baking one. The smell this cake makes during the boiling stage is absolutely amazing, I could have happily sat with my head over the pan all afternoon but there was a cake to be baked. This recipe was adapted from the Summer Carrot Cake in Lily Vanilli's Sweet Tooth (the book never lets me down). It's much fruitier than a typical carrot cake and that makes it more suited to the Summer season. When Winter rolls around I'm looking forward to adapting the Winter recipe to see what I can come up with. This was the first time I've ever eaten passionfruit raw and I loved it, it adds such a wonderful taste to the cake. This has definitely been added to my favourites list.
 
Carrot, Apple and Courgette Cake
(adapted from Sweet Tooth by Lily Vanilli)
 
175ml runny honey
75ml water
120ml fruit juice (I used apple and mango but any fruity juice would work)
125g unsalted butter
300g carrot, apple and courgette, grated (I used 100g of each, make sure they are peeled/cored/trimmed)
200g dates, stoned and chopped
flesh of 2 passionfruit (1 for the cake mix and 1 for the top)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
pinch of cinnamon
225g plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
100g flaked almonds, plus extra for sprinkling on top
 
for the cream cheese frosting:
65g unsalted butter
100g cream cheese
125g icing sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease and line two 18cm cake tins and set aside.
  2. Put the honey, water, juice, butter, grated carrot/apple/courgette, dates, flesh of 1 passionfruit, lemon juice and zest and cinnamon in a pan. Bring to the boil and then let boil for 6 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and let the mix come to room temperature.
  4. Whilst the mix is cooling, sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and mix in the flaked almonds.
  5. Once the fruity mix is cool, fold it into the dry ingredients. Divide between the two cake tins and level out. Bake for 20 minutes, until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  6. Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until combined. Then beat in the icing sugar until fluffy.
  7. To assemble, place one layer of the cake on a plate and top with half the icing. Spread out and place the other layer of cake on top. Add the rest of the frosting, smoothing out on top with a palette knife.
  8. Sprinkle with some flaked almonds and drizzle over the flesh from the other passionfruit. Note: Only add the passionfruit on top just before serving, don't leave it on overnight.