Carrot, pineapple and pistachio cake – a delicious tropical twist on carrot cake topped with a luscious cloud of cream cheese frosting.
I baked this cake a while back but thought that I would wait until nearer Easter to share it. I love carrot cake all year round but Easter does feel like the most appropriate time for it and this cake would be perfect for feeding a crowd at a Spring gathering.
This carrot cake has the addition of crushed pineapple to help keep it really moist; it is not so much there for flavour but for texture. I also used pistachios in place of the more common walnuts to make it a bit more special; feel free to use whatever kind of nuts you like, or use raisins instead if you prefer.
A word on the icing; cream cheese frosting is very simple to make but you must make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature, not fridge cold. If it is too cold then you may end up with lumps of butter in the frosting that you will not be able to whisk out. If you don’t have time for it to come up to room temperature then I have had success in the past by gently microwaving half of the cream cheese until it is JUST lukewarm – do not let it get fully warm or it will melt the butter; whisking it into the butter and icing sugar then whisking in the other half of the (still cold) cream cheese.
Carrot, Pineapple And Pistachio Cake
- 300 g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 200 g (1 cup + 2 Tbsp) dark brown soft sugar
- 100 g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 240 ml (1 cup) sunflower oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 450 g carrots (4 medium) grated
- 240 g (1 cup) well drained crushed pineapple (one 435g tin, well drained)
- 125 g (4.5 oz) pistachios roughly chopped
Cream Cheese Icing:
- 150 g (2/3 cup) butter softened
- 175 g (1 3/4 cups) icing (powdered) sugar sifted
- 360 g (12.5 oz) full fat cream cheese room temperature
- a handful of chopped pistachios
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease a 23x33cm/9x13in rectangular cake tin and line with a strip of baking parchment.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg then stir in the sugars.
Whisk together the eggs, sunflower oil, vanilla extract and orange zest; pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk gently until smooth. Fold in the grated carrot, crushed pineapple and pistachios.
Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Once the cake is cool remove from the tin and peel off the baking parchment. Place the butter and sifted icing sugar in a bowl and beat together until creamy. Add half of the cream cheese and whisk until smooth then whisk in the other half. Be careful not too over-whisk otherwise the icing can go runny.
Spread the icing over the top of the cake and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Refrigerate the cake for about an hour before serving to help the frosting set. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in a cool place for up to five days.