Carrot cake with cinnamon frosting

Carrot cake with cinnamon frosting

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(102 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr Plus overnight soaking


Cuts into 8-10 slices
Who can resist a slice of moist, frosting-topped carrot cake with a warming cuppa?

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen before icing

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal592
  • fat41g
  • saturates14g
  • carbs51g
  • sugars36g
  • fibre2g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.83g
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  • zest and juice 1 orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 50g sultanas
  • 150ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

  • 2 eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 140g soft light brown sugar
  • 85g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp each ground cinnamon and ground mixed spice



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 140g carrots, coarsely grated



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 50g walnuts, chopped, plus a few halves to decorate



    Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…

For the icing

  • 200g soft cheese
  • 50g butter, softened



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 85g icing sugar, sifted
  • pinch ground cinnamon



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…


  1. If you have time to do it the night before, put the orange zest and juice in a bowl with the sultanas. If you don’t have time, on the day simply stir the zest, juice and sultanas together and microwave on Medium for 1-2 mins.

  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and grease and line the base and sides of a 2lb loaf tin. Whisk together the oil and eggs. Mix together the sugar, flours, mixed spice, cinnamon and bicarb in your largest mixing bowl. Add the sultanas with any juice and zest left in the bowl, grated carrot, walnuts and whisked egg mixture into the dry ingredients, then thoroughly mix with a wooden spoon. Tip into the loaf tin and bake on the middle shelf for 1 hr, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin.

  3. Once cool, remove from the tin and make the icing. With an electric whisk, beat together the soft cheese, butter, icing sugar and cinnamon until smooth. Spread over the top of the cake and decorate with walnut halves.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (128)

masa32's picture

This is such a beautiful cake. I made it for a friend's birthday and it went down very well and very quickly! So light and a lovely flavour. I didn't make the frosting as i sometimes struggle with it going runny so stuck to a tried and tested one.

Av08's picture

I made this cake as a birthday cake, it turned out beautifully, I doubled the ingredients to make a bigger cake in a round tin, I did not double the topping/icing, there was more than enough that was made from the recommended recipe. It was slightly runny which I rectified by adding a touch more icing and keeping in the fridge to "set". All in all it was a hit a beautiful, light cake.

wishiwas's picture

I am new to baking, but have always wanted to make a carrot cake and I am so pleased that I chose this particular recipe to make. I followed the recipe to the letter and I can honestly say the cake is up there with the best carrot, sultana and walnut cake that I have ever tasted anywhere. I am soooo happy and also pleased with myself, so a big thank you for this gorgeous recipe! My oven seems to cook quickly, so I adjusted the timing a bit and it was perfect - it didn't last long :)

allielovetocook's picture

I made this recipe and instead of using walnuts, I doubled the amount of sultanas (though soaked them in the same amount of orange juice as per the recipe). I also only used 180g of philly soft cheese (I didn't want to buy a bigger pack), and I made this into muffin-sized cupcakes rather than a loaf. 25 mins in the oven and they are absolutely delicious - light as air yet moist at the same time. I'll be making them every chance I get. The frosting is utterly delicious (I used more cinnamon in it and as a sprinkle on top), but the cakes are so good I think they'd do very well without the creamy topping if you wanted to save a few calories etc.

sophs1989's picture

This recipe makes baking a carrot cake so easy! It's the best recipe I've come across and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

melcrucher's picture

I've made this cake twice now and both times it's been perfect. Followed the receipe by the book. The only thing I couldn't get right was the topping. Although tasty, the butter wouldn't mix with the cheese properly and formed little lumps of butter. I thought this was because the butter was too cold, but second attempt it was room temperature.

colalouise's picture

Try mixing the butter and icing sugar together first until smooth then add the cream cheese. Try not to mix the mixture too much once the cream cheese is added in as it will go runny.

I always do it this way and it works everytime.

Harver22's picture

This carrot cake is Devine.... Made especially for my two boys 4 and 7, they love carrot cake and this went down a treat. Tweaked just a little, halfing the cinnamon and mixed spice to just 1 tsp each, also left out the walnuts. The frosting was slightly runny but stiffened once fridgerated. Will be making this a lot!! Fab recipe.

therealslimsal's picture

Really pleased with how this cake turned out, very moist & delicious. Apart from just using normal self-raising flour and not putting walnuts in it I followed the recipe exactly. I think the amount of spices is just right.
But the icing is too runny as others have said. I made a second batch using a different recipe.
I will definitely be making this cake again.

pocketlucy's picture

I used just normal self-raising flour (instead of half wholemeal), and added a drop of vanilla extract to the icing. Turned out great - so lovely and moist! I also found I ended up with extra icing (but just ate it with a spoon, so no harm done!)

Will definitely use this recipe to make all my carrot cakes in the future :)

siobhan cooke's picture

Made this a couple of times ,very nice moist cake. Made a few little changes like only added 100g of sugar and was sweet enough didn't put the fruit but put in the juice of the orange. Used the zest in the icing instead of the cinnamon and used half the amount of cream cheese for the topping and it was just right, the first time I made there was too much icing. Will be making this again and again!

belindacaroline's picture

This was my first ever time of making carrot cake (last weekend I made the coconut and parsnip cake on this site and found it disappointingly dry and lacking flavour), followed this recipe in every detail and the result was superb. In my fan oven at 170 degrees it took one hour to cook. Tasty, moist, perfectly risen (no uncooked areas and no 'collapse' in the middle). I was really impressed with the result and the recipe is definitely going to be used many times in the future!

chichi13's picture

Made this with 'help' from my 4&5 yr olds- deelish!!
Left out sultanas and orange as didn't have and only used regular self raising flour. Also didn't have mixed spice so used 1/4tsp ground ginger.
Used a little vanilla essence in frosting instead of cinnamon and 1/2 quantity as per other suggestions.
Very easy to make and very tasty. Will definately make again.

lzbear's picture

First ever attempt at a carrot cake. Baked 2 of these at the same time, in a rush to take to a friend's so it didn't have time to cool or be iced. By the time it got to eating, it had reabsorbed a lot of the steam so it was even more moist than it should have been but it didn't suffer for it as it became a bit more pudding-y in texture which worked out a treat as a dessert with ice-cream. Other one was allowed to cool and was a perfect light cake texture. They took 45 mins in a fan oven at the stated temperature. Everyone who tried it thought it was excellent, I will experiment with reducing sugar and oil next time but a top recipe as is, another keeper.

potatohead's picture

Made this earlier today. Cake took 48 minutes in my fan oven at the stated temperature so suggest keeping an eye on it. Also following the icing recipe to the letter gave me running icing, not thick glorious frosting. Did use low fat Philly so perhaps to blame? Fat/reduced fat not stated. Neither was size of eggs. Used two large. Will judge once cake is cut. Disappointing icing :-(

colalouise's picture

You have to use full fat cream cheese and also try not to mix too much as cream cheese goes runny quickly. :)

piiran's picture

This cake really perfect and healthy ,,i just less sugar and is great for diet plans ..thanks

clamlett's picture

Best carrot cake I've ever had.

cshobbs's picture

I don't have a microwave, so I heated the sultanas in a pan with some orange juice. I did this a couple of hours before I made the cake, but this was enough to plump up the fruit.
I made it with gluten free flours.
I didn't top it with icing and it kept very well when stored in an air-tight tin.
Definitely worth making again!


Questions (14)

butler615's picture

I've made this cake several times and it is absolutely delicious - the best tasting carrot cake I have ever tried. My only problem is that when I go to slice it, it all crumbles apart instead of staying in one slice (not because it's dry but because it's moist). Do you have any tips to prevent this from happening?

goodfoodteam's picture

Thanks for your question, ensure it's thoroughly cooked and remove from the tin once fully cooled. We'd suggest slicing it gently with a serrated knife and keep the slices chunky. Hope that helps!

allielovetocook's picture

I've made this on several occasions in a tin as per the recipe (and it is beyond amazing!) - but I wonder if it could be make into smaller cakes (cupcakes/muffins) and if so how long they might need in the oven? They'd be more suitable for my parents than one big cake.
Thank you.

katies286's picture

Is it possible to make this cake using a circular cake tin? If so, should the oven temperature/cooking time/ingredients be altered in any way? Many thanks.

goodfoodteam's picture

We think this mixture would fit in an 18cm/7inch round cake tin, although we haven’t tried it so cannot guarantee perfect results. Bake at the same temperature, but check after 40 mins as we think it will cook more quickly.

sarahbeth13's picture

Can I replace the sultanas with nuts? I don't want any dried fruit in the cake.

goodfoodteam's picture

As there are only 50g sultanas, adding an extra 50g walnuts instead should be fine.

carolinelovescake's picture

I'd like to make a circular cake using this recipe - would these amounts fit an 8 inch circular tin?

windmill's picture

Can I freeze this cake ??

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi windmill thanks for your question. This cake is fine to freeze un-iced. Just make the frosting to cover the cake once defrosted. 

murras224's picture

What is mean't by the calories per serving? for example is the total serving for the recipe the whole recipe / cake or each slice of the cake?

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there thanks for your question, per serving refers to one portion. For example this cake serves 8-10, and the nutrition would be for one slice.
spanialgrowl's picture

If I don't want to add nuts can I replace them with extra sultanas?

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