Carrot Cake

Photographer: Emma
Makes 1 large cake

The humble carrot cake has a special place in my heart.  You see not so long ago my boyfriend and a good friend of ours boldly challenged one another to a carrot cake bake-off.  There were no real rules, just criteria against which the cakes were to be judged; taste, texture, appearance and originality.  A date was set and a whole lot of smack-talk ensued.

As the day drew nearer Nick and I would find ourselves deep in discussion.  Should he take the conservative approach and bake a classic cake or should he throw caution to the wind and bake a cake that breaks from tradition and challenges the convention?

Strangely for Nick he took the conservative approach (he’s not the world’s most conservative chap) and his efforts paid off as his cake won the votes of the judging panel on the day.  If only by a narrow margin!

This cake is my adaption of Nick’s prize-winner.  Hopefully you’ll find it just as good as the judges did!


Carrot cake
4 cups carrot, grated
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 1/4 cups white flour
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

50g butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
250g cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp orange juice
zest 1 orange, finely grated
1 tsp vanilla bean paste


Carrot cake
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C on bake. Grease a lose-bottomed spring-form tin.
2. In a large bowl combine the carrots, brown sugar, oil, orange juice, eggs and vanilla bean paste and mix well.
3. Sift flour, baking soda and spices into the wet ingredients, add the salt and walnuts and stir until just combined.
4. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes then turn out and place on a rack to cool.

1. While cake is cooling make the icing. Cream the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the cream cheese and orange juice and continue beating. Lastly add the orange zest and the vanilla and beat to combine.
3. Once cake is cool, ice.