Carrot cake

Carrot cakeCarrot cake is often referred to by the squeamish, afraid of disturbing their guests by mentioning root vegetables, as passion cake. I’ve never been quite sure why, since the carrot (and, in my version, a mushed up banana) is a real star here; it’s what goes to make the cake so sweet, dense and deliciously moist. This is an easy recipe of the ‘bung everything in a bowl and stir’ variety, and it’s pretty foolproof, rising evenly and maintaining that lovely moist texture throughout. This cake keeps well for about five days in an airtight tin.

Cream cheese icing is a particular favourite of mine. You’ll see some recipes where other flavourings are added to the cream cheese and sugar (orange zest is a common one, and some add crushed nuts), but I find the cool icing much better when it’s plain, allowing the warm spices in the cake to come to the fore. (This cake is especially heavy on the nutmeg, which is fantastic with that banana.) For one cake, you’ll need:

160ml melted butter
175g light brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ a nutmeg, grated
150g carrots, grated
1 banana, mashed
50g chopped pecan nuts
250g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

160g cream cheese
80g icing sugar

Carrot cakePreheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line a 20cm diameter springform cake tin.

Put all the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat well. Put the mixture in the greased, lined cake tin, and bake for 45 minutes (at which point the cake should be golden – a skewer inserted in the middle should emerge clean). Cool the cake completely on a wire rack.

When the cake is cool, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together with an electric whisk until it becomes fluffy. Spread over the cake, slice and munch.

14 Replies to “Carrot cake”

  1. People are squeamish about carrots in cake, are they? Odd…

    On the subject of things to make your guests go ‘hmm’, have you ever tried beetroot and chocolate cake? I only had it once, when my scary boss at the old job brought one in, but it was absolutely wonderful. Moist, dense and sweet-but-not-too-sweet. It also got a lovely glazed sort of top on it, which I suppose must have come from the sugars in the beetroot. Unfortunately I have no recipe, but google if ever our friend!

    WV – ‘nesgqkh’. Instant chocolate drink, anyone?

  2. I’ve never thought passion cake was just carrot cake – or in fact seen or tasted it as just plain carrot cake (and it is my cake of choice in teashops). It’s always had pineapple in it whenever I’ve had it. Banana seems an interesting twist though 🙂

  3. Hi Liz,
    I just found your blog. It’s great.

    I’ve made a zillion carrot cakes and a zillion banana breads, but never at the same time. I’m excited to try that.

    If you ever want a change, try this icing. It’s awesome.
    Sue’s Cream Cheese Icing
    12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    9 oz. white chocolate chips, melted
    3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 1/2 tbls. lemon juice

    Beat cream cheese until smooth. Stir in white chocolate chips, then butter and then lemon juice.

  4. although I'm not a big fan of starbucks I must admit I really like that orange & arrot cake they have and every time I go to london I have to get some.
    I'd love to make it myself, anyone got that receipe (or a similar one)?
    it's very sticky and fruity, no idea how they make it…
    any ideas or suggestions? thanks!

  5. I know exactly the cake you refer to, and it’s awesome. I need to spend a while experimenting, but I’ll do my best at reproducing the orangey one. Incidentally, Dr W is making loud noises about wanting a replica of the leek and cheese scones Starbucks stopped making about five years ago – my kitchen is waist-deep in leek bits as I attempt to reproduce them from memory.

  6. Yum, my favourite. My wife has just made one of these and, while it is delicious, I prefer the slightly sour tang in the cream cheese that can be found when eating passion cake from some delis, the icing also seems slightly firmer. Is this just lemon juice or is there something else that goes in?

  7. My daughter's favourite cake is currently the Carrot Cake at the Castle Cottage Cafe in Oakham, Rutland. It has been this summer's diet buster!! Looking forward to trying yours, but not a huge cooked banana fan!
    PS just made your super greengage jam!

  8. I made this cake a few days ago. “Delicious”. Having looked at the recipe once again I noticed that I’d omitted the 160mls of melted butter! I hadn’t seen it initially as it is not listed within the same paragraph as the other ingredients but just beneath the comments about the cake. So, a very delicious, healthier option quite by accident. Wonderful!!!

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