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.

Carrot and Coriander Galette


This is really a very pared down version of Marcus Wareing’s recipe in One Perfect Ingredient. I’ve owned this book for ages and I love it. I’ve also been looking at this recipe for ages and never got around to making it. Either we have the coriander but not the carrots, or vice versa.

It turned out that we had plenty of both in the fridge and I thought this would be a brilliant way of feeding the baby carrot.

I was in a bit of a hurry (a small person was watching me, and dinner time was fast approaching) so I used just the outline of Wareing’s recipe. If he were to read what follows, he wouldn’t recognise it!

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (200°C normal).

Begin by grating one large (peeled) carrot. I used the Magimix for this – you get carrot that’s like very fine spaghetti. Put the carrot in a frying pan with a generous splash of water (add more as necessary) and cook until the carrot softens and the water has evaporated. I also added some very finely grated ginger.

For the one large carrot I used 2 eggs and a handful of chopped coriander. Whisk the eggs, add the coriander and pepper to taste. When the carrots are done, tip into the egg and coriander and mix well (and quickly – you don’t really want the egg to start cooking). Pour into a baking paper lined baking dish (mine was about 20cm x 10cm) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until set. Serve immediately (or allow to cool, if serving to a baby!).

Even this very quick and dirty version of the recipe tasted pretty good. If I’d been eating it I would have had to add salt and more pepper, but the slight spiciness of the ginger with the sweetness of the carrot worked well. The coriander adds some much needed colour variation to the dish (even so, it looks very orange!) and the egg makes it filling enough for a quick snack.

Now I really do need to try out the proper recipe!