A Tea-Time Carrot Cake
Image courtesy of Conrad London St. James
What do the Brits love more than flowers? Why tea, of course, and during the annual Academy Awards of flowers, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, a number of hotels and restaurants create lovely, flower-themed teas to celebrate this seminal event in the London social calendar. During the Chelsea Flower Show the Conrad London St. James hosts a Glorious Garden tea featuring floral-infused sweets and mini-veggie savories. The Conrad London St. James centers many of its teas around London events, from a fashion week-themed tea to a Wimbleton tea. The Glorious Garden tea features dainty macarons capped by an edible butterfly and other floral-themed dainties served on a clever tray containing a turf lawn. One of the most delicious highlights of the tea, however, are the tiny carrot cakes served in miniature terra-cotta pots.
Conrad London St. James Carrot Cake
Serves 6 to 8 people
For the Cake
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 ground cloves
- 2½ whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1½ egg whites
- 1 ¼ cup sunflower oil
- 1 ¾ cup superfine sugar
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1 medium sized cake tin (round or square)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a medium sized cake tin with grease proof paper. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a bowl. In a separate mixing bowl beat the oil and sugar. Add the whole eggs then the yolks. Stir in the grated carrots. Fold in the flour and mix in the hot water. Whisk the egg whites to soft peak and fold into the cake mixture. Pour the cake mixture into the grease proof paper lined tin and spread evenly.
Bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool for 30 minutes before decorating.
For the Frosting
- 1/2 cup soft butter
- 1 1/3 cup full-fat cream cheese, cold
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
For the frosting, put the butter in a large bowl and beat until creamy and smooth. Add the cream cheese and vanilla, and beat until blended. Sift in the icing sugar and work it in gently with a spatula.
For the Edible Soil
- 1 ¼ cup soft butter
- 3 ¾ cups ground almonds
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2.64 ounces cocoa powder
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon plain flour
For the edible soil, mix all ingredients together with a spatula. Place on a baking tray and bake at 225 degrees for 30 minutes.
For the Candied Carrots
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2 carrots
Boil sugar and water in a pan on medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Peel the carrots into the sugar syrup and leave until cold. Drain the sugar syrup then place sugar syrup carrots on a baking tray and leave on 70 degrees for 4 hours until completely dried and crystallized.
To assemble your cake, use a spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake, sprinkle the edible soil onto the frosting and finish with candied carrots for decoration. If you want to recreate the presentation of the cake served in tiny terra cotta pots for Glorious Garden use unglazed, washed pots and cut out the appropriate-sized cake round for your pot and spread with frosting and soil and top with a candied carrot.
To find out about more themed teas in London, head to the website Afternoon Tea UK.