Carrot Cake

carrot cake

This wondrous cake had quite innocuous beginnings. I found the recipe in a free magazine from Woolworths supermarket called Fresh. The magazine’s design is quite nice, it has some nice simple dinner ideas in each issue, and it has inspired a couple of new flavour combinations for me. It’s something that I pick up if I see it, but I haven’t really cooked a lot from it. I can’t help but think though, that it would be sort of fun to work on a small food-based magazine like this every month!

It was right around my dad’s birthday last year, and he asked me to make a carrot cake. This was the first recipe I found so I decided to run with it, even though on closer inspection I realised that the instruction to actually add the specified grated carrot to the carrot cake mixture was thoughtlessly omitted! I was certainly not expecting magic, but this little beauty took us all by surprise, and dad exclaimed that this is the best cake he’s ever had – quite the compliment! It was wonderfully moist with subtle but intriguing spices. It was also the first time I’d ever tried cream cheese icing which is now one of my absolute favourites.

In the months since then, I’ve made this cake a few times, steadily making improvements with each attempt. This time I was inspired by an abundance of carrots in the fridge, but really, who needs an excuse!

I think I’ve really nailed it this time, and now I’m glad I didn’t rush to share the recipe with you all last September when I made it for Fathers’ Day. I reduced the 1 cup of oil to ¾ cup then added an extra carrot and a teaspoon of vanilla. I also like to double the quantity of cream cheese icing and turn it into a layer cake. It would also be nice with some finely chopped walnuts or cashews, either in the cake or sprinkled with some cinnamon between the layers.

Carrot Cake
Adapted from Fresh Magazine, June 2007
Serves 8-10

• 3 medium sized carrots, peeled and grated
• ¾ cup olive oil
• 1 cup caster sugar
• 3 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 ½ cups self-raising flour
• ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
• 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground cloves

Cream Cheese Icing

Note: It’s a good idea to double this mixture if making a layer cake. You’ll have a little leftover, which is nice on toast!

• 250g cream cheese
• 1 cup icing sugar
• 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 20cm round springform baking tin with baking paper.
2. Beat oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla together in an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Sift flour, bicarb soda and spices over the mixture and mix slowly to combine.
3. Fold in grated carrot with a wooden spoon or spatula
4. Spoon into prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
5. To make cream cheese icing, combine ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth.
6. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half horizontally. Spread icing in the middle, over the top and sides of the cake. I also sprinkled a little bit of ground cinnamon between the layers of cake.

22 Comments on “Carrot Cake”

  1. Carrot cake is one of my most favorite cakes as well. When I was still ordering dessert after a meal, I couldn’t miss this one at my favorite restaurant. Cream cheese= absolute must! Though it is the only thing that keeps me from making it on a whim as it’s expensive.

    Working for a well-designed and widely-distributed food magazine sounds like a good direction for you! At least you know how you should build your folio 🙂

  2. I love carrot cake and the simplicity of your recipe. I made my first cake with olive oil recently and was surprised I liked it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Mark, I never thought much of carrot cake much til I tried this one! Hope you’ll think of this recipe when you try making one 😉 Food always manages to creep its way into my college projects somehow haha

    Brilynn, cream cheese icing is great. I think it was the best part about the red velvet cake I made a few months ago.

    Chuck, thanks! It comes together really quickly and easily, which is why its one of my new favourites 🙂

  4. I’m planning to make a carrot cake cupcake soon and this recipe will do beautifully. Looks quick to put together. carrots and olive oil means its a healthy cake rite? *smiles hopefully*

  5. You can read the Fresh Magazine online at just in case your local woolies is out of them.

  6. I’ve just realised that I hardly ever have carrot cake! Maybe once a year… Now it’s occured to me, I’m quite annoyed, lol. This one sounds like a good one to try!

  7. Fahran, I like to believe it’s healthier than other kids of cakes, for sure 🙂

    Deborah, it would be interesting to see how this one compares to your favourite, so if you do try it, please let me know!

    Gina Bina, my dad would argue that its perfect any time of year. If he had his way, I’d be making one every week!

    I forgot to mention you can read Fresh online, indeed.

    Indigo, I hope you enjoy it!

  8. yum, i adore carrot cake. it has to be moist though because there’s nothing worse than a dry carrot cake!

    this is my first comment so hi 🙂 i’m a fellow graphic designer slash foodie person. so i have enjoyed reading your blog and i love your photos too.

  9. Hi Lindsey, thanks for stopping by! Your blog is wonderful 🙂 I made my first carrot cake when I was about 12 or 13 and it was awful, I thought there seemed like too much oil in the recipe so I cut out about half of it and it was soooo dry!

    Kevin, thank you!!

  10. hi, great recipe and great pictures 🙂 i am new in recipes in English, so would you min telling what do you mean by “cup”? what does it refer to exactly? thanks.

  11. Passiflora, did you use cream cheese or cream? The recipe calls for cream cheese in the icing, whipped with icing sugar and vanilla.

  12. This looks so delicious I had to try it! It tasted a bit like “Zimtstern” (a star shaped cinnamon bisquit)… yum!!
    Think I’m going to try the chocolate cake next 😀

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