The ultimate makeover: Carrot cake

The ultimate makeover: Carrot cake

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(80 ratings)

By

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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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mrsted's picture
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Never made carrot cake before and must admit it was a bit of a faff.
Used ordinary plain flour and vegetable oil as it was all I had. Mixture was very solid until I added the eggs, raisins etc but it came out beautifully, very moist.
Did not add topping and ate it as it was, may try adding some mixed spice next time.
Will definietly make again.

clairegiff's picture
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I've just made this cake this afternoon and I'm not a very confident person when it comes to cooking but this is really lovely. Even my teenage daughter said how much she loved it and she isn't very forthcoming where compliments are concerned!!!

susanwilsongaunt's picture

have made this cake several times now, easy and worked out great every time- no need to bother with the topping if you really want a less fat option. really delicious , definately a favourite in our house

brenda6612's picture
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WOW this cake is lovely, really moorish. I added mixed spice to give it that something extra. Will definately be doing this again.

lou-la-belle's picture
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Very happy with this - my first attempt at a carrot cake. The dough started off very dense and I was a bit worried, but with the addition of the soaked raisins and the whisked egg white it softened again. Didn't bother with the frosting.

bakingnut's picture

Not tried this yet but to answer the Quark question, it is a very low fat alternative to soft cheese, I replace with it all time and honestly no one can tell, it is slightly less creamy than soft cheese like Primula but loads less fat and calories.
It may help to google unfamiliar terms.
Rapeseed oil is dead common in UK supermarkets it is the veg oil I prefer as again lighter in fat and calories, I think. Baking is all about experimenting so go with your usual veg oil and see what you think.
Happy Baking!!

alisonmary's picture

Can someone tell me what Quark is please?

I presume it's an American term. Rapeseed oil is not a common ingredient either. Can it be replaced by Grape seed oil?

Thanks.

Alison

manly49's picture
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This is the best cake recipe ever. For once, I was organised and soaked the raisins (actually, they were sultanas - so I wasn't 100% organised) overnight. All the liquid had gone, so I added the quantity all over again when I began to make the cake. It was fantastic!!!! And the frosting is the best I've ever tasted. If I could give it 10 stars, I would.

alisonpg's picture
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Wonderful cake but the topping was not nice, tasted like flavoured soft cheese (which of course it is!) and spoilt the lovely cake. Fortunately I only iced half and have kept the other half un-iced. I will be baking the cake again, but either topping free or with a different topping.

danielamacdonald's picture

I just made this, and though delicious and moist, I agree with others in saying it's more of a fruitcake than carrot cake, and quite a bit heavier.
Will make it again though.

emacie's picture
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Made this in the weekend, turned out delicious but not really a carrot cake... Will make again because but not for the carrot taste.

lekkerkos's picture
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Absolutely delicious cake - one of my regulars and everyone always loves it, light and tasty (good to know it's light and healthy too!) A few changes though - I don't separate the eggs (too fiddly!) but instead beat whole egg with the sugar in one go, it still works as well. Use sultanas instead of raisins (sweeter) and sunflower oil instead of rapeseed. I also don't make the frosting, no-one misses it and the cake disappears in no time! :-)

jitkad's picture
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Our favourite. Love it

manly49's picture
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Although this was a bit fiddly, I was really glad I'd made it. It's delicious, light and moist, and the icing is just lovely. Make sure you have all the ingredients prepared in advance and lined up, waiting to be added to the mixture. I didn't change a thing in the recipe, and it worked so well. Perhaps I'll add a few chopped walnuts next time. But it's great as it is.

13teresa's picture
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Fantastic recipe and so easy to make. I took it into work and it was a big hit. shall definatly make it again.

jacman56's picture

I made this to help cut down the fat in our diet after my husband was told he had high colesterol. Then made it and won 1st prize at our hort and prod show! The comment from the judge was, good texture and flavour, excellent icing flavour.

czaralee's picture

The cake came out lovely, however the frosting was gross! I was really sharp and sour :( I'd much rather have the cake on it's own!

keeleyl's picture
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Beautiful cake! I leave the frosting off and have it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, it really is delicious.

I make one every month and freeze the individual portions and my daughter takes one to school in her lunch box. It stayes moist even after being frozen.

charlotte-wood21's picture
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This has got to be one of the most yummy, moist carrot cake recipes I have tried. I made a few tweaks by adding an extra zingy teaspoon of mixed spice, replaced 40g of raisins with chopped dates, and 25ml of rapeseed oil with walnut oil for a deep, nutty flavour. The cake proved to be popular with family and friends and was gone in 3 days.

kalinahara's picture

Wonderful and so simple.I use low fat greek youghurt instead of the cheese for topping and it's really nice.Everyone at home loves it!Thanks

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