A fool proof carrot cake recipe that has the flexibility to use up wonky carrots and dried fruit and nuts available in your store cupboard.

This cake has a bold, aromatic taste that works really well with sweet carrots and orange zest. If you can’t get hold of cardamom powder, you can use ground cinnamon or allspice instead. Condensed milk is an essential ingredient in halwa, and here it gives a lovely shine and gooey texture to the icing, which trickles beautifully down the sides of the cake. 

Ingredients (9 square slices)

For the cake

  • 225 grams of sugar (soft light brown is perfect)
  • 225 millilitres of oil (groundnut is perfect)
  • 3 eggs
  • 225 grams of wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of cardamom powder (or ground cinnamon or allspaice)
  • 4 average sized carrots, coarsely grated
  • Zest of one orange, finely grated (save some a little bit to sprinkle on the icing)
  • 115 grams sultanas
  • 150 grams of mixed chopped nuts (pistachios and flaked almonds work well, but whatever you have, same some to decorate at the end)

For the condensed milk icing

  • 250 grams icing sugar
  • 100 millilitres condensed milk
  • the zest from 1 orange (reserve 1 teaspoon for the top)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 celsius. Line a square baking tin (roughly 18 centimetres) with greaseproof paper and grease with a little oil.
  2. Whisk up the sugar, oil and eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder and cardamom and mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated with no lumps. Next fold in the carrots, orange zest, sultanas and nuts.
  3. Pour your mixture into your cake tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for around 45 minutes, or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clear. Once cooked, turn the cake onto a rack and leave until cold.
  4. While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Add the condensed milk to a mixing bowl and sieve in half the icing sugar. Whisk until there are no lumps. Sieve in the remaining icing sugar and mix again using a wooden spoon until the icing is smooth.
  5. Once the cake has completely cooled pour the icing into the middle of the cake and carefully spread towards the edges using a spatula. Sprinkle over the reserved orange zest and remaining chopped nuts. Cut the cake into 9 equal squares and enjoy. Keeps in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.

This recipe is by Masterchef semi finalist and top chef - Beth Thomas.

Food savvy tip

Eggs have a best before date, after which they are likely still fine to eat. You’ll know if your egg is not safe to eat if it releases an unpleasant odour when cracked. 

Want to know if your egg is still fresh? Float it in a bowl of water. The least fresh will float to the top whilst newer eggs will sink.

Hungry for more

Check out our other delicious tray bakes