Caramel Covered Carrot Cake with a Popcorn-Praline Garnish

This stunner is gluten free, coated in sweet cream cheese icing and then dripped with caramel and topped with a crunchy popcorn and praline topping.
By Tania Cusack

Carrot-cake-with-Caramel-and-Popcorn-690x460

This cake makes a great layer cake. It is a slightly denser cake due to it’s gluten free nature but it is very moist and flavourful and would make a very nice teacake with or without icing.

Caramel Covered Carrot Cake with a Popcorn-Praline Garnish
 
This stunner is gluten free, coated in sweet cream cheese icing and then dripped with caramel and topped with a crunchy popcorn and praline topping. I used a 12"/ 30 cm cake tin o make this cake. you could use a smaller tin but your layers would be thicker. Make just the one layer and cover in icing if your prefer.
Author:
Recipe Type: Dessert, Baking
Serves: 1 cake
Ingredients
Cake
  • 4 large eggs
  • 310ml or 1¼ cups of plain oil ( veg, rice bran, macadamia)
  • vanilla
  • 1 cup caster sugar (200gm- 7oz)
  • ½ cup brown sugar (100gm 3.5 oz)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup of almond meal (100 gm- 3.5oz)
  • 1 cup gluten free flour (120gm-4.2oz): Don't want gluten free?- Use 2 cups of Plain flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg ( or any spices you like 2-3 teaspoons)
  • 3 cups of grated carrot ( about 1½ medium carrots per cup)
  • optional-add ½ cup chopped nuts
Cream Cheese Frosting- This will make enough for a small to medium cake, for a single or 2 tiered cake this will be enough for the layers and the outside.
  • 500gm ( 17.6oz) unsalted butter ( softened)
  • 250 gm (8 oz) cream cheese ( softened)
  • 100gm sifted icing sugar (3.5oz)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • extra powdered sugar to taste
  • Extra icing sugar to taste.
Salted caramel
  • 125 gm (4.40 oz) caster sugar
  • 1 Tablespoons of water
  • 50 gm (1.76 oz) cold butter
  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • ½ teaspoon of salt ( or more to taste)
Popcorn
  • 1 packet of microwave popcorn
  • 1 cup (250 gm) caster sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons glucose syrup
  • 1 Table spoon water
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
Instructions
Cake
  1. Spray and line the cake tin with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 160 C/340 F
  2. Put the eggs, oil, vanilla, spices and sugars in the bowl of a mixer and whip till light.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients well.
  4. Grate the carrot and then toss them with the dry ingredients- you can use your hands to do this it works best.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and carrot and mix well. Pour into the lined cake tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Check that the middle of the cake is cooked by piecing it with a skewer or knife. the tip needs to come out clean. I like to cool each layer and refrigerate.
Frosting
  1. Beat the butter til light. Add the cream cheese and continue beating till very light. Add the lemon juice and the icing ( powdered ) sugar and then beat till very light and fluffy. Approximately 5-8 minutes.
  2. Separate ¼ of this for the inside layers. You can add a little more powdered sugar to this mixture or even caramel extract if you like. * Note the more sugar you add the softer and and runnier it will become. Temperature will also play a part in the amount of sugar you might like to use. The hotter it is the less you will need.
  3. Once the layers are stacked, use a scant amount of the butter cream to make a crumb coat. This means using just enough butter cream to seal the crumbs into the first painfully thin coat.
  4. Refrigerate till firm and then cover with the remaining buttercream. Smooth with a long pallet knife. Chill completely.
Salted caramel
  1. Put the sugar into a pot with the tablespoon of water. Cook on high swirling a little to incorporate all the sugar. Cook till starting to colour watch very carefully and turn off the heat when it is a golden brown colour. Add the cream immediately, stand back it will splutter. Break up the butter and whisk into the caramel mix. Add the salt ½ at a time, and let it dissolve before adding more taste .
  2. If your caramel forms a skin and is very set then add a tablespoon of water and stir till it mixes in. When only just warm pour ½ to ¾ over the top of the cake and tilt so that it spreads. It will keep running for a while so put onto a tray and back into the fridge to set. The caramel will not be spreadable with a spatula, so you may need extra the extra to fill the gaps.
Praline Popcorn
  1. Put the popcorn into the microwave and pop as per the packet instructions. Put half of it onto a paper lined tray and sprinkle with a little extra salt. (eat the other half)
  2. Put the sugar and glucose into a pot with the water and the lemon juice. Heat till the sugar dissolves swirling to incorporate the sugar crystals at the sides. Cook on high till the colour starts to change to a golden colour. Put the popcorn into the pot give it a quick mix and pour onto the tray, spreading with a wooden spoon. Alternatively pour the hot syrup over the popcorn on the tray, moving the popcorn about to be covered with a little praline. ** be very careful with this hot liquid.Let it cool completely
  3. Break the popcorn up. Put the popcorn onto the cake just before serving

 

Tania Cusack

After completing Culinary School in Sydney, Tania travelled the world working as a Chef in restaurants, doing catering and cooking on road for a travel company in Europe and the US. Once back at home, the birth of her son meant a change, and during his small years, she enjoyed jobs in wholesale food, buying Artisan food products, testing and recipe writing as sales and educational tools. Tania is now back to what she loves, working as an in house Chef for a large retailer, conducting Cooking Classes and writing recipes for her blog.

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