Saturday, 30 January 2010

Carrot cake


I've been making carrot cake for a long time now. I never used to like it until I met Scott, and he told me it was his favourite cake. I think it was the thought of carrots in cake that just made me feel a bit funny. I've also become a huge fan of cinnamon and spiced cakes as I've got older, making carrot cake even more appealing. So I've made plenty of carrot cakes in the past 3 years and I've tried many different recipes. For a while, Rachel Allen's recipe was a strong favourite (using an orange buttercream instead of her cream cheese icing). Then, of course, I tried the Hummingbird Bakery recipe and have never turned back. It is so easy. It was Scott's birthday on Tuesday and when asked what cake he wanted, he replied 'carrot cake'. No surprises there! I used the hummingbird recipe, including their recipe for cream cheese frosting, but added a bit of orange zest upon Scott's request.


300gs soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarb
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra to decorate
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g carrots, grated
100g shelled walnuts, chopped, plus extra whole to decorate

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, 170c

Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until all ingredients are well incorporated (don't worry if the mixture looks slightly split) slowly add the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed.

Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts by hand, until they are evenly dispersed.

Pour the mixture into 2 or 3 prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife. bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes (for 3 cake tins) or about 30-40 minutes for 2 cake tins (or until golden brown and sponge bounces back)

Leave to cool slightly in the tins before turning out.


600g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter at room temp.
250g cream cheese, cold

Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium high speed. continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

Ice the cake with the frosting and decorate with the whole walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

^this is from when I did it using 2 cake tins

I actually recommend just using 2 cake tins after trying it both ways. The cooking times are slightly longer and you need to be careful the outside of the cake does not burn, but it is a lot easier for icing and layering. For Scott's birthday, the cake came out a bit wonky! It added character but for a more professional finish I would either get dowel rods to support the layers, or just do 2 layers.


  1. Mmm Helen, that looks delicious! I also prefer to do two separate cakes for the layers. Hope he enjoyed his birthday cake! :)

  2. Yum, that recipe is the best! A year later its still my favourite recipe book.

  3. this looks amazing! this is one i haven't tried from the hummingbird yet, i too have always been a bit funny about putting vegetable into desserts, but this looks too yum to pass up!

  4. I've never had carrot cake before, looking at your pictures I think I definately need to try it!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Mmm I love carrot cake, but like your self, I only started to recently hate it - the idea of a vegetable in a cake always seemed very wrong when I was a child.

  7. yummy helen! want to eat it now!
    carrot in a cake is strange but delicious, I made beetrrot+carrot cake once that tasted amazingly!

  8. carrot cake is my favourite, I must make this!

  9. This looks so yummy, I love carrot cake!

  10. Carrot cake is a personal favourite - I must give this a go.

  11. ohhh thank you for posting this!! I have tried SO many different recipes, and have never been completely happy with one. I am definitely going to try this one!

  12. I'll definitely be saving this recipe! I love carrot cake - i think it's the cream cheese icing that does it for me! I've just had breakfast but I could really go for a slice of this right now!


  13. Oh my that looks SO good! I just made my first carrot cake a couple of weeks ago and surprisingly it turned out rather well, although it didn't look near as pretty as yours!

  14. I was convinced when I was younger I wouldn't like carrot cake, but now I definitely do! Looks yummy. :)
    P.S. I haven't dyed my hair (although I want to soon!), I think it is the light and setting on my camera. :)

  15. mmm yum, this looks lovely. i have this book too, so definitely need to try it!

    i liked your comment on using the sports pages as wrapping paper, i used a french newspaper once on a gift from paris :)

  16. That looks lovely! I've been considering trying the Hummingbird carrot cake for ages (I have yet to go wrong with one of their recipes) so it's great to hear that it's worth it. I had one of their carrot cupcakes in the new Soho shop in December and it was amazing.

    Hungry now! :)

  17. keep going on with ur blog!

    good work =)

    I hope u follow and visit me.
    Greetings from Germany
    Tzoules K.

  18. That cake looks so appetizing! I've never really been a fan of carrot cake, but I'm trying to experience new recipes. I'm also a fan of the Hummingbird bakery cookbook.

  19. Your baking always looks so amazing, I always want to come round to your house for tea!

  20. Mmm, carrot cake, delicious. I want to make this, maybe end of the week when it colder.

  21. That looks so good! I only tried carrot cake for the first time the other day and loved it :)

  22. i am always oh so jealous with your baking talents :p this looks delicious!

  23. Oh carrot cake how I love you!! I have always been a great fan of carrot cake , yet it is funny to mention that I have no clue how to bake a proper carrot cake (hahahah) trust me I’ve tried and well the end result is not devastating no off course no but it isn’t what me and my taste buds agreed to hahaha! This post is amazing now I have your fabulous instructions and I could go to my kitchen and bake the most delicious carrot cake ever!! Yay!!…Love Dye♥

  24. what a beautiful carrot cake!! wonderful job and presentation!

  25. Yummm, this looks so delicious!

    I wish I could...darn wedding dress diet ;-)

  26. Yummy! i love carrot cake and love it when they make it in cupcakes as well... ;)

  27. Made your carrot cake this afternoon for my partner Scot's birthday :) Is VERY good!!! Have a very happy man here :) Thanks Helen!

    (Oh, I didn't have any cinnamon, so used more ginger and a bit of nutmeg. And a blended vegetable oil that was mostly canola instead of sunflower, because that's what I had in the cupboard :) )

  28. hi this looks great - if I use self raising flour will I still need the baking powder and bicard? Thank you!

  29. I made this carrot cake just the other day! I loved it so much! Especially the icing :) I adore your blog. :)

    nikaugabrielle from NZ



Related Posts with Thumbnails