It’s true. This really is one of the best carrot cake recipes I’ve ever tasted. I may be slightly biased as it’s my recipe, but my wonderful Grandfather agrees: “…it’s certainly the best cake I’ve ever had” – and he’s in his nineties! The whole family and a few friends and neighbours tried it, too (I’ve always thought that cake should be shared) and the feedback was good.
What’s not to love? I asked my Dad if he likes carrot cake… “It depends how much carrot we are talking about” was the response. Fair enough. Vegetables and cake aren’t usual partners, but I love cake, I’m trying to eat more healthy stuff and I’m writing a food blog, so let’s go for it!
In all honesty, I’m sure this cake can’t be classed as truly ‘healthy’, but there must be one of your ‘5 (or is it 9?) a day’ portions of veg in there and the calcium from all that yummy cream cheese is surely good for your bones.? Add in a handful or two of nutrient-rich nuts and antioxidant-filled raisins, and we’re on to a real winner here! Ok, at the end of the day, it’s still made with sugar and oil, it contains eggs and gluten-rich flour, but if you are ok with all of those things, then go ahead and make it…you and your grateful friends, family and neighbours won’t be disappointed!
Before I give you the lip-smackingly good recipe, I’m going to further argue that as it is made from scratch, this fabulous cake is good for you. We know exactly what has gone into the finished product (if you start with organic / free-range / fair-trade / local ingredients, then extra brownie points for you!), there’s very little packaging and no artificial additives or preservatives. I get a whole lot of pleasure from baking at home which probably releases feel-good hormones. I’m all for feel-good anything! The kids can join in, too. I get them to grease the tin with a butter wrapper and then flour it, they are also good at weighing and stirring – we tend to make a mess, but heck – we can easily clean up after ourselves, and it’s a healthier, much more fun activity than half an hour in front of the telly! This carrot cake made my family and I smile and in my book, if something makes you smile, it’s got to be good for you!
Best Ever Carrot Cake:
As always, pre-heat the oven and source the best ingredients you can get your hands on – the more local to you, the better.
3 large eggs
200ml sunflower or vegetable oil*
200g soft light brown sugar*
1tsp vanilla extract
finely grated zest of 1 Orange*
200g Self Raising Flour
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
1tsp Mixed Spice
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
Pinch of Salt
260g Carrots* (roughly 4 medium sized), peeled and coarsley grated
75g Raisins or Sultanas
75g Roughly chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans would be delicious for added texture)
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
125g Unsalted Butter – at room temperature
250g Full fat cream cheese (half fat just doesn’t work here – your frosting will be sloppy and slide off the cake!)
500g Icing Sugar
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Centigrade (160 fan), grease and flour a deep, round 9″ springform* cake tin.
Whisk the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and orange zest together in a large bowl until fully combined.
Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, bicarbonate of soda, salt) and gently fold into the wet mix.
Finally add the grated carrots (and raisins and nuts if using) and stir to combine completely.
Tip into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until it’s cooked : a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5 -10 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
Cream Cheese Frosting Method:
Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl until fully combined.
Split the cake if you wish and generously fill with half of the frosting. Swirl the remaining heavenly icing on the top of the cake and dust with cinnamon, or decorate with nuts and/or orange zest.
Share, eat and enjoy!
* Substitutions / Notes:
- Sunflower or vegetable oil is used due to the fact that it is pretty much flavourless. I have recently got some raw virgin coconut oil, so I’ll try using it next time to help boost the nutritional content. Let me know if you use it instead, I’m interested to know how it affects the flavour.
- I’ve used soft brown sugar here to add to the flavour and texture. You could use caster sugar instead if that’s what happens to be in your cupboard and you are in desperate need of carrot cake. Right. Now.!
- The orange zest once again adds a subtle ‘citrussyness’ to the flavour of the cake, but it’s fine to leave it out altogether. You could juice the flesh and let your raisins soak in it for an even more moist cake.
- If you thoroughly wash your carrots, there’s no need to peel them before grating, and you could even swap a couple for a parsnip or two and see if your guests notice!
- If you would rather use smaller cake tins, 8″ or 9″ round would be fine – two should be enough, but don’t fill them more than two-thirds full unless you want to be scraping it off the oven floor! Bake for around 20-25 mins at the same temperature.
Give this one a go and hopefully it’ll become one of your favourite carrot cake recipes as well. Why not let me know, and if you’ve got a better one, definitely let me know! 😉
Return to the Cake Recipe Page from my Carrot Cake Recipe.