Published On: Mon, Mar 22nd, 2021

Classic carrot cake

Looking for a classic carrot cake recipe? Look no further – this tasty bake courtesy of the National Trust is a real treat!

This light and moist carrot cake, spiced with cinnamon and topped with thick creamy frosting, crushed walnuts, seeds, and a sprinkle of carrot, is ideal for a mid-morning snack, tasty afternoon treat or a scrumptious dessert.

Classic carrot cake

Carrot Cake ©National Trust Images

Classic carrot cake

Servings 12


For the cake

  • 220 g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla flavouring
  • 400 g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400 ml vegetable oil
  • 500 g carrots, grated
  • 75 g walnut pieces

For the frosting

  • 400 g icing sugar
  • 50 g butter
  • 125 g cream cheese

For the topping

  • 20 g walnuts pieces
  • 20 g pumpkin seeds
  • 2 g caraway seeds
  • 10 g sunflower seeds
  • 150 g carrot, julienne
  • 50 g caster sugar


For the cake

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Place the sugar, eggs and vanilla flavouring in a large bowl.

  2. Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in another bowl. Use a spoon to mix together.

  3. Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. With the whisk going, gradually pour in the oil. Once all has been added, stop whisking.

  4. Tip the flour mixture into the oil mixture and fold through. While still quite lumpy add the carrots and chopped mixed nuts. Continue to mix until evenly combined.

  5. Divide the combined mixture between your tins and put in the pre-heated oven.

  6. Cook for 25–30 minutes or until risen and golden. Check that it's ready by inserting a skewer into the middle to see if it comes out clean. Remove from the tins and leave to cool.

For the frosting

  1. Place the icing sugar and butter in a bowl and mix on medium speed until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

  2. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until incorporated. Continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes). You can chill this to make it thicken up when it’s whisked.

  3. Sandwich the cakes together with a little of the frosting then spread the rest over the top and use a fork to leave a rough surface.

For the topping

  1. Place the walnuts, pumpkin seeds, caraway seeds and sunflower seeds in a frying pan and toast them briefly. Leave to cool before sprinkling over the top of the cake.

  2. Dissolve the sugar in a little water. Bring to the boil and add the carrots. Stir well and boil for 30–40 seconds. Remove from the heat and leave to cool before scattering over the top of the cake.

Recipe Notes

Make in 2 x 23cm (9”) loose-bottomed tins.

See more carrot recipes!

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