Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

IMG_3877 the Octonauts cake toppers were sourced from an ebay shop based in Canada!

I’m still working my way through the toddler party recipes but I’m trying to intersperse them with things savoury so you don’t get a sugar overload.

This recipe comes from the BBC’s Good Food site. It is actually labelled as a frosted carrot squares, but what is the difference between a ‘square’, a ‘traybake’ and a ‘cake’? I also take issue with the use of the word ‘frosted’ because surely that is an Americanism both UK and Australian readers can do without … (and on this point, it would seem Google agrees with me!).

There are small tweaks and changes in my version – most noticeably the addition of ginger which I would definitely do again. I loved the subtle spice kick. This cake freezes (un-iced) beautifully and has a lovely moist, almost sticky, crumb.

Unlike many carrot cake recipes, this one contains no nuts so is ideal if you need to avoid them, for whatever reason.

Andy, the resident carrot cake expert, did complain that it wasn’t quite coarse enough in texture. I suspect that’s the lack of nuts, but, really, who cares when there’s a tasty cake on offer?!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing


  • 200g carrots, peeled and grated - I used my food processor's grating disc
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 150mL neutral flavoured vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • Icing
  • 50g softened unsalted butter
  • 75g icing sugar, sieved
  • 200g cream cheese, at room temperature


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C fan (180°C conventional).
  2. Grease and line with baking paper an 18cm square baking tin/dish.
  3. Having grated the carrots (either by hand, or with the help of a food processor!), tip them into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  4. For this recipe, you don't want to cut up the carrots too finely - it will make the cake too wet and with too smooth a texture. If you don't have a stand mixer, either work by hand or use a cake beater. Don't work in a food processor for this one!
  5. Add the sugar, flour, bicarb, spices and orange zest and mix slowly.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time.
  7. Finally, add the oil and mix well. Ensure everything is combined but don't over beat.
  8. Spoon the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake for around 30 minutes or until cooked. In my case (cooking in my oven at 160°C fan) I checked at 30 minutes and ended up cooking for 40 minutes in total.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool in tin for about 10 minutes and then turn onto rack.
  10. If freezing, freeze, well wrapped, when completely cool.
  11. To make the icing, mix the butter and icing sugar together, and then add the cream cheese. You are best off if you can do this with some kind of mechanical beater (stand mixer, in my case) because cream cheese, even at room temperature, is stiff and difficult to work with. Using a beater/mixer will result in a much smoother and more manageable icing.
  12. I cut the cake then iced, but you could ice first and then cut. Coloured sprinkles are a fun addition too.

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