Carrot Cake with Maple Mascarpone Icing

Serves 10

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 teaspoon baking power
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup ground almonds
4 ounces walnuts, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
10 ounces carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

For Icing:
4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan (or a 9 x 2 square baking pan) and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine butter and brown sugar.  Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, pulsing after each addition.  Add baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger and pulse until combined.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the ground almonds, walnuts and grated carrot and mix together.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, then gently fold them into the cake batter. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for about 50 minutes and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out on to a rack and cool completely.

For the icing, beat the mascarpone and cream cheese together until well combined.  Add the cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup.  Spread generously over cooled cake and top with additional chopped walnut if desired.