The ultimate makeover: Carrot cake

The ultimate makeover: Carrot cake

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(84 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 1 hr

Skill level



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

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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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  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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janemathieson001's picture
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Best carrot cake recipe ever! Had to tweek the flour ingredients as I'm wheat/gluten intolerant (severely), so used an extra spoonful of baking powder and 230g Doves Farm plain white flour. It's light, moist and utterly delicious :)

juliebahrain's picture
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Lovely carrot cake. I took it to work for my birthday and everyone loved it.

sarah4984's picture

I made this for a family dinner and it tasted absolutley delicious. It was my first attempt at making a cake and I haven't stopped since!!

verityrose's picture
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Excellent recipe. Forgot to add the sugar while beating the eggs, so I added them afterwards. Still works! I was worried when the batter was stiff but it is fine. To make it even healthier I left out the icing. Delicious.

jonboy's picture
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this cake was so easy, i'm only just getting into the home cooking thing and what have i been missing?
the list of ingredients are missing a couple of things, although listed in the method(but not the self raising flour!), thank heaven for reviews as someone said what the missing ingredients were,
the out come of the cake is LUSH!! plenty of quark and soft cheese left over so will need to make it again so these are not wasted!!

tydrawirafon's picture

Made this the other day from the recipe in the Mag (Sept 08) Its the nicest carrot cake ever, so moist and light and the raisins soaked in orange juice were sooo juicy. I'm a novice and really suprised myself by how delicious this was - much much better than any shop bought and I made it !!!
Remember the eggs and SR Flour (they are mentioned in the Method), and I used light brown sugar as its what I had in.
Quark is a virtually fat free soft cheese - if you are in the UK I got a 250g tub in Morrisons.
Well done Angela Nilsen for a lovely healthier recipe.

goodkevin_g's picture
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I made this yesterday; absolutely delicious! Lovely and moist and the frosting is divine.

alisontait's picture

Yes, there are definitely a couple of ingredients missing from the list, Good Food team....

unanic's picture

Twe eggs and 115g self-raising flour are missing from the list of ingredients, I have made this cake many times and it is to die for even without the frosting,it is a healthy carrot cake.

spaghettialaguiness's picture

I'll definitely give this a try. Quark cheese is similar to fromage frais. I'll be using Philadelphia.

tyshae's picture

Definitely making this carrot cake, much less fat than my recipe! What is Quark ? Never seen it in my country.

sheppy's picture
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A new carrot cake! I do have a soft spot for carrot cakes - one to try this weekend I think.




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