Super Special Carrot Cake

Let me give you a bit of a background on this recipe. About three years ago I found it on the BBC Food website and made the cake for a picnic. I was very happy with the results so decided I would have made it again ‘soon’. That ‘soon’ arrived about two years later, when I looked for that same recipe high and low on the internet for hours, without ever finding it again. Bitter disappointment kicked in. Ah, if only I had made it more often, I probably would have remembered the recipe by heart! Then, about a couple of months after that sad incident, I decided to tidy up the two boxes on top of my wardrobe and there it was, a print-out of the recipe! I had completely forgotten I had printed it out. I thought I was going to faint from the excitement. Instead, I transcribed it into my recipe book to keep it safe and that’s how I can bring it to you. I recently made this cake for the office, and my colleagues wolfed it down, which I took as a good sign. So here’s what you’ll need:

For the cake

  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 375 g caster sugar
  • Grated rind of 2 oranges
  • 4 eggs
  • 450 g carrots
  • 150 g chopped nuts (I generally use walnuts but you could try almonds or pecans)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp salt

For the icing

This will yield plenty of icing, a little more than you’ll need for the cake, but it’s so rich and tasty, you’ll want to use it on everything! Otherwise you could reduce all of its ingredients of 1/3.

  • 225 g mascarpone cheese
  • 65 g unsalted butter
  • 400 g icing sugar (I never said this recipe was low-calorie!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence


Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and grease a 23cm/9in tin. Grate the carrots and orange peel, then beat the softened butter, sugar and orange rind together until light and fluffy.

Gradually add the eggs to the mixture and then fold in the carrots and grated nuts. Add the vanilla essence and the orange juice. The mixture will look very liquid at this point but fear not! It’s all under control. In a different bowl, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and mixed spices together and fold into the mixture gently. It will still look pretty runny and pale, but this is good, because it means that your cake will be soft and moist. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 to 70 minutes, depending on how efficient your oven is. You’ll know the cake is ready once its sides come away from the tin and a skewer comes out clean, if a little wet. Don’t worry if the final result looks much darker than the mixture you initially placed into the oven, this is completely normal. Finally, make the icing by creaming the mascarpone and softened butter together until smooth, add the icing sugar and vanilla essence and mix until it is all homogenous.

This frosting is amazing! Spread it generously onto the cake once it’s cooled down a little and enjoy.

4 thoughts on “Super Special Carrot Cake

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