The ultimate makeover: Carrot cake

The ultimate makeover: Carrot cake

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(82 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 1 hr

Skill level

Easy

Servings

Cuts into 16 squares

Angela Nilsen rethinks traditional ingredients and baking techniques to create a healthier version of a classic

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Cake only
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

kcalories
217
protein
4g
carbs
31g
fat
9g
saturates
1g
fibre
2g
sugar
21g
salt
0.52g

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 medium orange
  • 140g raisins
  • 125ml rapeseed oil
  • 115g plain wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder, plus a pinch
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
  • 140g dark muscovado sugar
  • 280g finely grated carrots (about 375-400g carrots before peeling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 115g self-raising flour

For the frosting

  • 100g light soft cheese, straight from the fridge
  • 100g Quark
  • 3 tbsp sifted icing sugar
  • ½ tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice

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Method

  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. For the cake, finely grate the zest from the orange and squeeze 3 tbsp of juice. Pour the juice over the raisins in a bowl, stir in zest, then leave to soak while you make the cake. Lightly oil and line the base of a deep 20cm square cake tin. Mix the flours with 1 tsp baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon.
  2. Separate one of the eggs. Put the white in a small bowl and the yolk in a large one. Break the remaining whole egg in with the yolk, then tip in the sugar. Whisk together for 1-2 mins until thick and foamy. Slowly pour in the oil and continue to whisk on a low speed until well mixed. Tip in the flour mix, half at a time, and gently stir it into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula or big spoon. The mix will be quite stiff. Put the extra pinch of baking powder in with the egg white and whisk to soft peaks.
  3. Fold the carrot, raisins (and any liquid) into the flour mixture. Gently fold in the whisked egg white, then pour into the tin. Jiggle the tin to level the mixture. Bake for 1 hr until risen and firm or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin 5 mins, turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the paper, then leave until cold.
  4. To make the frosting, stir the soft cheese, Quark, icing sugar and orange zest together - don't overbeat. Stir in the lemon juice. Swirl the frosting over the cake and cut into 16 square. This cake is even better if left well wrapped for a day or two before icing and eating. Will keep up to 5 days uniced in an airtight tin, or in the fridge if iced.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, September 2008

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Comments

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auntyy's picture

Fantastic !
Made this for my Goddaughters 2nd birthday party, the kids didn't get a look in as the adults scoffed the lot ! I don't eat my cakes very often (just love baking) but even I went back for seconds.
Substituted Philli light for Quark (local shops don't stock it), and grated a large orange for topping along with some of it's juice.
Been told to make it for the next family get together !

parich50's picture

This is a truly great carrot cake recipe, very easy to follow and on the few occasions I have made it its been consistently good. I had a carrot cake bake off with my mother in law who thinks she can cook. This one won hands down.

jobloggs234's picture
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A lovely light cake - didn't bother with icing and just ate it without. Used s.r. wholemeal flour as had no plain, reduced the baking powder by half, used light olive oil and sultanas. Also split mixture into loaf tins as didn't have the one stated, and froze one cake for later, cut each into 8 squares and enjoyed as a fab treat with a cuppa!

joannglahn's picture

Hello Angela, I would like to make this recipe but am not sure about the ingredients. Please clarify. Is self-rising flour used in addition to the already listed flour? How many eggs are there? thanks

gazelleie's picture
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Just made this cake and it is delicious! I used sultanas instead and they really give it that ZING! Very light and moreish! Perfect for our BBQ tomorrow. However I did not use their suggested icing and it is perfect (and healthier without!!) True Genius

jillyt's picture
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Made this cake with a few tweeks and loved it! used sunflower oil as didnt have rapeseed, light brown muscavado sugar, and sultanas. May up the cinnamon next time as couldnt taste it. Used philly, butter and icing sugar for icing with a teaspoon of vanilla. Cake also took alot longer to cook in my over, just kept checking it till it was done.
Will definately make this cake again :-)

lionel14372's picture

This is a fab recipe. I added some fresh pineapple and another time, a few provencal glace cherries. Both good. I also used a little agave syrup instead of sugar. Even more healthy.

neilos's picture

this recipe is absolutely brilliant
cake tastes beautiful and is very simple to make.

ziggy1's picture

I made this for on the Bank Holiday weekend. The recipe is easy to follow, and the cake itslef is as described by everyone - light & moist. I was however disappointed with the frosting/icing. It was so runny, and that was without adding the lemon juice. Will add more sugar and less quark next time!

pinkylin's picture

I made this for the first time the other week and omg it was amazing everyone thought I had bought it.
It was so moist and delicous so Im making it again today. Im hoping the first time wasnt just begginers luck and that this one turns out the same the only ingrediant I changed was the raisins I didnt have any so I used sultanas and it was gorg cant wait to eat it again now hehehe.

janscott1980's picture
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Was delicious without being too sinful. I will use this icing for other things as it's yummy and not too sweet. The cake could be eaten without icing for those being very strict with themselves.

toobs2's picture
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Absolutely fantastic carrot cake. Really really moist and the perfect flavour. There are quite a few different steps as cake making goes but it's worth the time, took me a bit longer than stated. I'm going to be making this recipe for ever more. Brilliant. Thanks Angela for another professional quality recipe.

joganley's picture
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Lovely recipe, made it with my 5 year old nephew and turned out fantastic!

mongolious's picture

This is the best carrot cake I've ever made! It's an awesome recipe, will try it again soon.
I think this cake would be a little bit better if you add a small pinch of salt to dry ingridients (in the end of the first step).

finisterre's picture

Excellent recipe. A light moist cake which because of the healthy ingredients you don't have to feel too guilty about eating. My partner loved it too but did ask if next time there could be a touch more frosting

dave6376's picture
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Very nice and easy to make but since when did we have "frosting" in Britain? Don't you mean icing?

wendygal's picture

i did not find quark so I used ricotta ... turned out really wekk just the same ;)

wendygal's picture

Thanks Angela Nilsen ... this is a really good cake, i loved it and everyone did! :)

freyagamlen's picture
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I make this recipe often. However I just tried it with finely grated squash instead of carrot, and without the raisins or orange juice. It is decliiously moist and I would definitely recommend it! Just a tip - if you're going to beat your egg yolks, sugar, oil etc with an electric whisk, whip up the egg whites first so you don't have to clean the grease off half way through baking!

sherreemills's picture
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Tasty, light and easy to make..you cant ask for more from a cake!!

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