The Very Best Carrot Cake Recipe.

Breaking News!!

I thought that I had put the blog to bed for the weekend but I’m back with good news for you!

The delightful Lilly Higgins replied to my email giving her permission to share her carrot cake recipe. Thank you, Lilly. Lilly’s book, Make Bake Love is a treasure trove of  reliable recipes that will make your kitchen smell heavenly. Take a look at her website here.

I have tried half a dozen carrot cake recipes. They can be very wet, sink in the middle, take ages to cook and turn out stodgy.

This one has never failed. I’ve made it in sandwich tins, as in the recipe, but I’ve also made it as a big tray bake for easy cutting on picnics. I’ve probably had more compliments on this cake than any other. Middle Girl has now adopted this as her own showstopper. Watch her do a great job!

(You need to skip back two posts to here for the secret icing recipe. It makes a big difference.)


180g Demerara sugar
225ml sunflower oil
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
300g self-raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bread soda
300g carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
250g tinned pineapple, chopped
50g walnuts, toasted and chopped.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Butter and flour 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.

Beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a bowl until creamy.

In a separate bowl, sieve the flour, spices, baking powder and bread soda together, then fold into the egg mixture. Gently fold in the carrots, pineapple and nuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared tinsIMG_6978

and bake 35-40 mins, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool fully on a wire rack.

Ice with the sultanabun labneh icing or Lily’s icing (150g icing sugar, 5og softened butter, 400g cream cheese, zest and juice of 1 lime all well combined)IMG_7001

IMG_7003Decorate with more toasted walnuts.IMG_7004

Middle Girl arranged hers in a bow.IMG_7006


Homemade Cream Cheese Is The Icing On The Cake.

There was only one question on everyone’s lips at the school gate this morning:

‘Did you watch it?’

If you are lucky enough to live within the catchment area of the BBC (we are sort of BBC hinterland here) you will know that I mean The Great British Bake-Off Final. There is something special happening when the winner of a British cake-making competition make headlines in the Irish news.

As part of the build up to Bake-Off fever Middle Girl made her own showstopper carrot cake for us. While she was busy with that, at the other end of the kitchen table, Small and Teenage Girls set up a plasticine workshop.

This chocolate doughnut is the size of my baby fingernail.


It’s filled with chocolate sauce. I think it looks like Muppet eyes.


Back to real cake: We love the carrot cake recipe from Lilly Higgins’ gorgeous book, Make Bake Love. EDIT Friday 9th October. Lilly Higgins has kindly given permission to share her excellent Carrot Cake recipe. You can find it here.

We make our own cheaty cream cheese which really is the icing on the cake. I line a nylon sieve with a clean, fine teatowel and pour a 1000g tub of Greek-style yogurt into it.

I let that drain overnight (4/5 hours will do). The liquid that drains off is whey and can be used to make bread. The strained yogurt (labneh) tastes lighter and cleaner than shop-bought cream cheese. It’s much cheaper too.

Middle Girl added 150g of icing sugar and the zest of an orange (lime is great too) to 600g of labneh. You have to try this, it is sensational!  You don’t, strictly speaking, need a cake to put it on! The licking of this bowl is the most fought over. OK, it’s not exactly a health food but a little bit of this cake will do you a power of good. I’m very proud of my middle-sized baker.