Seven years ago, I made this nutty orange carrot cake. It was my seventh post on this website and until then, carrot cakes were a very rare feature of my diet. However, I have been making them more often nowadays as I found out it is my daughter’s favourite cake (for now). She likes carrot cake more than chocolate cake and that’s saying something.
What I love about this recipe is the very limited use of flour which makes the cake super moist and allows the carrots and the nuts to really stand out. Many of the store-bought carrot cakes were more like sponge cakes with bits of carrot and nuts. This has a much higher ratio of the good stuff.
My original recipe had this in little cupcake-like ‘loaves’ but more recently, I have been making them in 20cm round cakes and the recipe is reflective of this. If you would like to turn this into cupcakes, you can halve the time taken to bake (makes about 12 cupcakes). Note: the picture is a ‘half slice’ (for my own portion control!).
Updated 15 June 2020, originally posted 22 May 2013.
Serves 12 (slices)
Prep time: 30 minutes (or longer if you hand-grate your carrots)
Cook time: 40 minutes
4 eggs, separated
260g brown sugar
zest and juice of one orange
100g plain/wholemeal flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
240g mixed nuts, chopped (walnuts, cashews and pecans are best)
240g carrot, finely grated
for the frosting:
250g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia 5% fat)
200g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C.
In a bowl, mix together the plain flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder and nutmeg powder and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together the carrots, nuts and orange zest. Reserve 1 tbsp of this mixture to decorate the frosting topping.
In a large bowl, cream the egg yolks and brown sugar. Add the orange juice and then gradually fold in the flour mixture and carrot mixture.
In another clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then fold this into the rest of the mixture.
Pour into a greased cake tin and bake for 40 minutes, checking that it is cooked all the way through. My oven runs a bit hot so I put this on the lowest rack as the edges tend to burn otherwise.
When the carrot cake has finished baking, let it cool on a rack for about 1 hour until it reaches room temperature. Meanwhile, you can make the cream cheese frosting by simply whisking the cheese and icing sugar until smooth.
Spread the frosting on to the cake and sprinkle the reserved carrot mixture on top. You can serve this immediately or, as I prefer, chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.