The ultimate makeover: Carrot cake

The ultimate makeover: Carrot cake

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(80 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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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

butterfly2's picture

Loved the cake, simple to make & turned out great. I used tofu, lemon juice, orange peel & honey as a topping for my dairy intolerant friend

1abi111's picture
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yum, yum, yum. i used all quark for the topping, as thats all i had in, but it made not difference

alexas25's picture
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Really yummy cake! Just made with philadelphia instead of Quark it was great too.

bwang2's picture
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Didn't bother with the cream cheese because it was so good already! i only used 100ml of rapeseed oil but it was still moist, but to my taste, there were too many raisins.

jennster's picture

I made this yesterday and was reading the recipe from my phone. I hadn't read any of the reviews and so it came as a surprise to me that there should have been SR flour in the cake! I'd missed it at the end of the list, and was distracted by children. It still tastes delicious.

sharonannhall's picture
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Lovely cake..! Now a firm family favourite! Gets requested for birthdays!! Thank you!!

sw77's picture
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This cake was delicious and did not taste low fat. I didn't bother with the icing and just mixed icing sugar with lime juice for a tangy glaze - mmmm

cjk1230's picture

I made this todayin a 9" square tin which is about 2" deep. I used bran oil instead of rapeseed oil but seemed ok.

My cake looks & smells divine but it is only about 1.5" deep.

Is this how it is suppose to be? Can anyone advise please?

bekahduca's picture
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I only had normal flour and it still tasted great, I have a milk allergy and cakes without milk are difficult to find but this is definitely delicious and all my guests agreed :)

sylviauh's picture

I so want to use this recipe but need to make it without eggs (for someone with an egg allergy). Please please tell me what I can use instead?

lizgent's picture
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Fantastic recipe. I used all self raising wholemeal flour, only 60ml of olive oil, 120g of sugar and no topping and it still tasted great (everyone in the family agrees). The dark muscovado sugar and orange zest really make a difference in this cake.

georgina3's picture

Fantastic cake! Everyone loved it! I changed the oil to sunflower and did not use Quark (don't like it!) so used all cream cheese. Found it difficult to mix, very stiff but well worth the effort.

hannaw's picture
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This is simply a wonderful recipe. I have made it three times in a week and can envisage making it at that rate for ever, even though it is a bit more of a faff than a regular cake recipe. It is light and moist and so tasty. It is also a very forgiving recipe: just as well, since I made it before 9am with my brain still asleep and forgot to add the oil till after I'd mixed in the flour. It still turned out just fine! Thank you, Angela, for the ultimate carrot cake.

gareth66's picture
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This is absolutely delicious... I used a mix of cranberries sultanas apricots and chopped dates.

caz505bgf's picture
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I've made this one a few times, always with excellent results and compliments to the chef! I've never bothered with the Quark as I find it easier and more cost-effective to just buy 200g of light soft cheese but apart from that, follow the recipe to the t and am always delighted. Definitely doesn't feel like a low fat version, it's light and moist and scrummy.

laurenflincoln's picture
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Delicious! I used 150g wholemeal flour and only 80g plain flour. I found the mixture to be very dry initially so I added 100g plain lite yoghurt to it and it was much better! Gave the cake a lovely light flavour too. I omitted the icing as well (less calories!) and instead make a glaze with orange juice and orange marmalade - lovely!

claree's picture
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YUMMY! A hit with the whole family and was lovely and moist. It has very few calories compared with other carrot cakes but you certainly can't tell from the taste. I will definitely be making this one again.

blulou's picture
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This is a lovely cake, really light and moist. It was even better the next day. I didnt make the topping so I cannot comment on that, I just used a drizzle of icing made with lemon zest and juice and the leftover orange juice with icing sugar. I did add ground ginger and nutmeg to the mix as I know how I like my cake spiced. Next time will try adding a few walnuts or pecans.

michaelbrown1's picture
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To make this even more diabetic friendly, I made the following changes: only 100g raisins, previously rinsed in boiling water; just 70g dark brown sugar, and I added 100 drops 0 kcal sweetner (Stevia). For the topping I used 100ml 0% fat low cal cream, 50 drops sweetner, 1/2 tsp orange zest and 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice, all whipped together. The cake vanished almost as soon as it was finished!

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