How to make carrot cake

Carrot cake is an old favourite known for its sweet, spicy and moist sponge. The fabulous frosting in this recipe makes it worth making for the frosting alone.


Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Serves: 12


  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 1½ tablespoons ground mixed spice (allspice)
  • 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 500ml buttermilk
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 330g white (granulated) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence (extract)
  • Finely grated carrot to make about 450g, you will need 8 or 9 medium carrots, peeled

For the frosting:

  • 225g reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk, extra
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted

Recipe method

1. Use a 25cm (10in) fluted ring tin. Coat lightly with non-stick cooking spray and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4).

2. Sift the flour, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk the buttermilk, oil, sugar, eggs and 2 teaspoons essence in another bowl until frothy. Pour into the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Fold in the grated carrots.

3. Pour the batter into your cake tin; smooth the top. Tap the tin lightly on a flat surface a few times to break up any air bubbles. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes; turn onto a wire rack; flip top-side up; cool completely.

4. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with the remaining vanilla essence and extra buttermilk until softened. Gradually stir in the icing sugar just until frosting is smooth. Place the cake on a serving plate and coat with the frosting, letting some run down the side. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.