Saturday, 10 November 2012

Carrot, courgette and pineapple garden cake

Today is one of my good friend's birthday! I managed to meet up with her last week for a celebration and of course I had to make a cake. Last year I made a raspberry ripple cake which was fraught with disasters but luckily tasted very good. This year I wanted to do something different so I decided to push the boat out and looked through my copy of The Birthday Cake Book by Fiona Cairns. I've never made anything from this book as they all look quite scary and complicated but I was feeling brave! 

When I saw her vegetable plot cake, I decided I wanted to make a garden cake as my friend loves gardening. So this cake is inspired by Fiona Cairns but I've created my own 'garden vegetable' cake recipe. I thought it was only fitting that the cake should be full of fruits and vegetables. I also used spelt flour for the extra "earthiness" and healthiness and the result was a delicious, moist and flavourful cake. It went really well with the cream cheese frosting and I'll definitely be making these again perhaps in a muffin form for breakfast/snacks. 

My friend was really pleased with the cake and said it was the best cake she's ever had!! :) I feel so touched but am also slightly worried that I won't be able to make anything as good as this for future birthdays! 

Happy Birthday Charlotte!! 

As this is a birthday and celebration cake, I'm also entering it to Tea Time Treats who are celebrating their first birthday this month and the theme is cake. Tea Time Treats is hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked

 You need courgette, carrots, pineapple and I threw in a banana as well as I had one going brown - it adds to the moistness of the cake 

 mash the bananas, grate the carrots and courgettes and open the tin of pineapple (you can also use fresh pineapple)

 ready to go in the oven. I love the colour of the batter from the spelt flour 

 sandwich the cakes with cream cheese frosting tinted green. Cover the top and sides 

 Buy 2 boxes of matchmakers to make the fence 

 roll a small piece of green fondant into a sausage like shape with tapered ends 

 press the end of a paintbrush to create an indentation for the pea pod

 neaten the ends like this 

 roll 3 small balls of green fondant and place in the pod - these are a little big but I'm sure you get the idea! 

 Roll some orange fondant to a similar shape and use a knife to score ridges across to make it look like a carrot. I shaped the green fondant by hand and stuck it on top of the carrot 

 roll a piece of green fondant into a small ball. flatten with your palm. use a sharp knife to cut out a star shape pattern like this 

 roll a small ball of red fondant. place the green 'star' that you cut earlier. Use a paintbrush to make a hole in the centre. Please tell me they look like tomatoes!

 To assemble the cake - cover the top and sides with green cream cheese frosting. Place the matchmakers around the cake to create a fence. I made them different heights but you can keep it even. Blitz 5 oreo cookies in a food processor and spread on top of the cake. I made some 'grass' from green dessicated coconut which I sprinkled on the cake board using the same cream cheese frosting to stick it to the board. 

 I also made some potatoes by rolling small balls of brown fondant and making indentations with the end of a paintbrush 

 I bought some coconut mushrooms as I didn't have time to make my own 

 The finished cake 

An original recipe by bakingaddict

For the cake
65mls or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
400g brown sugar
375g spelt flour
200g carrots, grated (approximately 2 medium sized carrots)
200g courgette, grated (approximately 1 medium sized courgette)
225g tinned pineapple, drained
1 banana
120g pecan nuts, roughly chopped 

For the cream cheese frosting
225g cream cheese
113g butter
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
400g icing sugar
green food colouring

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Grease and line 2 sandwich tins.
  • Mix oil, eggs, vanilla, spices, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar in an electric mixer or large bowl.
  • Add in the flour and mix well.
  • Add the grated vegetables, fruits and nuts and mix well.
  • Divide the batter evenly between two pans (I usually weigh mine).
  • Bake for approximately 50minutes to 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
  • To make the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract in an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Slowly add in the icing sugar and continue mixing until smooth. 
  • Add the green colour at the end. 
For the decorations as shown

5 oreo cookies
2 boxes of matchmakers
ready rolled fondant icing - you can either buy them coloured or colour your own using paste colours
I used green, orange, red and brown
1 paintbrush
1 small, sharp knife
dessicated coconut
green food colouring
coconut mushrooms
wafer daisies
2 red m&m's
black writing icing 


  1. Brilliant...I love your garden!! I've had my eye on this in the Fiona Cairn's book too...yours is fab!!! This really is the perfect cake for a gardening fanatic! Great job :-)

    1. Thanks! I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Next step would be a Fiona Cairns re-creation!

  2. This is a brilliant idea and the cake looks fantastic! Very impressed.

    1. Thanks! It was all a bit of a learning experience having never done anything like this before so I'm really happy it worked out :)

  3. I love how you decorated this cake! The sponge sounds delicious too.

  4. Ros I love this cake and how you decorated:))
    Just lovely!!

  5. Happy Birthday to Charlotte indeed. What a fantastic birthday cake to receive too, I am sure she was stoked. You went to so much effort and it looks amazing. Well done. (The little pea pods are just soooooo cute!)

    1. I love the pea pods too even though I hate peas in real life!

  6. I so much love this cake... those little peas in their pods... adorable!... great idea with the matchmakers too... toooo cute!

    1. It was almost too cute to eat - no one wanted to cut into it but of course we did :)

  7. Thanks for linking this in to Food on Friday: Pineapple. Have a great week.

  8. Wow, Ros, this looks incredible. I'm intrigued by the spelt flour as I've never tried it. Your vegetables look fantastic as well. I bet your friend loved this :)

    1. I love spelt flour - it has a slight nutty, wholesome flavour to it and works really well with fruits and vegetables in general. My friend was extremely pleased with the cake :)

  9. That's great fun and a great birthday cake.

  10. What a gorgeous cake - can't decide which of the veg I like the best. I'm torn between the peas and the potatoes. I think it's the the, the peas!

    1. Thanks! I had fun making all the vegetables. Just wish I had even more time to make more!

  11. Like CC I can't decide which piece of veg is the cutest! What a brilliant theme for a celebration cake.

  12. This is lovely, great attention to detail! Well done x

  13. What a beautiful cake! I love the fondant decorations.

    1. It was my first time making fondant decorations so I'm glad it worked out. Now I want to do it again and again :)

  14. I love your decorations - they're amazing! I've got that book too, and it's full of rather intimidating looking recipes, although they all sound delicious! Love the sound of this cake.

    1. The book is amazing. This cake was really tasty, I can't wait to make it again :)

  15. What a FUN cake Ros, it is just fabulous, I love it!! Thanks so much for adding it to our 1st birthday tea time treats challenge, and thanks so much for being a fabulous member of the tea time treats club! Karen

  16. Thanks for hosting and I'm so pleased I could enter this month as I had limited baking time. It was meant to be :)


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