Carrot Cake

A carrot cake is one of the easiest cakes to make and the cake can be made using a whisk. It is also one of those recipes where you can add ingredients (walnuts, pecans, macadamia, sultanas, cake fruit mix, dried figs, tinned pineapple) or improvise ingredients (courgettes or beetroot) in place carrots).  Of course it will then be called a beetroot or courgette cake but is just as delicious.

I use a very easy recipe and favour the traditional approach. I grate my carrots coarsely as the fine grating can be very tedious. If you don’t like the look of seeing longer strands of carrot in your cake, go ahead and do a fine grate. I sometimes have added 2 cups of carrots because I didn’t want to waste leftover vegetable or added more nuts or sultanas and the cake was unperturbed. Many cakes dictate the ingredients in very specific quantities but a carrot cake is one of the few cakes that are forgiving enough to allow some deviation.


Cake ingredients

makes 12 cupcakes or 10 slices of cake

  • 250 ml of vegatable oil
  • 1c of brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1.5 c self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 10ml of cinnamon
  • 1.5c of grated carrot (3-4 medium sized carrots)
  • 1/2c pecan nuts roughly chopped (use walnuts, macadamia)
  • 1/2c of sultanas or fruit cake mix. (leave out if you don’t have)

Cream cheese frosting ingredients

This is a softer icing and if you want to pipe decoratively, you will have to add more icing sugar. Cream cheese is more temperamental in hot weather. Add more icing sugar if icing is too runny

  • 200g full-fat cream cheese at room temperature (don’t use low fat or medium fat cream cheese – it will be too runny)
  • 100g butter
  • 3 cups of sifted icing sugar
  • Zest of a lemon.
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract.


  • Grease and line the bases of 3 18cm round cake tins or a 20cm round baking tin.  If you want to make cupcakes, line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • Whisk together oil and sugar until well combined. (a minute of whisking is fine)
  • Add each egg one at a time and whisk well.
  • Add cinnamon, bicarb and baking powder and mix well.
  • Add sifted self-raising flour. (no need to sift if flour is lump free)
  • Finally add carrots, nuts, sultanas and use a large spoon to mix well.
  • Divide mixture between pans or fill paper cases if making cupcakes. For cupcakes fill 2/3 of the cupcake liners.
  • Bake cake for about 30-40 if using one pan and 15-20 minutes for cupcakes or for layer cakes in 2 or 3 pans. Cakes are done when  a dark golden brown in colour, well risen and springy to touch. Insert a skewer into the centre of the cakes and if it comes away clean, the cake is done.
  • Let cakes cool for about 10 minutes before turning over onto a wire rack to completely cool.
  • To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer until white as possible. Add lemon zest and vanilla. Add icing sugar in 2 batches. Beat well until fluffy and creamy.
  • Sandwich cakes or cupcakes generously with frosting. To decorate add chopped nuts or leave unadorned. The cake will look lovely as is.


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