Growing up my favourite cake was my Nana’s carrot cake. Like a bolognese everyone seems to have their own recipe and whist I love the different variations of carrot cake you can buy in bakeries (Gail’s is particularly good, they make theirs extra juicy with pineapple) the nostalgia and simplicity of my Nana’s carrot cake makes it a firm favourite for me. The only thing I’ve added to my Nana’s original recipe is raisins, which can easily be left out if you don’t like them.
I have friends who are a bit scared of baking but the beauty of a carrot cake is that is is so forgiving and everything is made in one bowl. If you happen to have some left over carrots you won’t regret baking your own carrot cake.
According to the world carrot museum (yes it really exists!) people started putting carrots into cakes in the middle ages because sugar was expensive and hard to come by.
Nana's carrot cake
- 240g self raising flour
- 1 cup of rapeseed, olive oil or hazelnut oil
- 240g brown sugar
- 3 cups of peeled and grated carrot (about 4 large carrots)
- 4 medium eggs
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 handful of raisins and any chopped nuts, my favourite is pecan
- 175g cream cheese
- 450g icing sugar, sifted
- 125g unsalted butter (room temperature)
- Grated orange zest
- Begin by preheating the oven to 180°C and grease a medium sized cake tin with butter. Any shape will do, I quite like a square cake tin, my mum makes her in a ring.
- In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
- Add the oil and stir everything together.
- Slowly add in one egg at time then add the grated carrots, nuts and raisins.
- Bake for 45mins - check the cake by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean the cake is done.
- Let the cake cool down before you remove it from the tin.
I don’t feel that carrot cake needs icing, but if you fancy being indulgent the primrose bakery recipe for orange cream cheese icing is beautiful!
- To make the icing combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (this can take a few minutes)
- Cream cheese icing needs to be kept, covered in the fridge