Nut-Free Carrot Cake

When someone mentions Easter, the first food item that pops into my head is chocolate. I don't think there's ever been a time that I've linked carrots to Easter until now, which is why I hadn't actually intended to post this recipe as part of my Easter bakes. It was J's birthday last week and one of his favourite things that I make is carrot cake, so I made him one! Not wanting to waste such a pretty-looking cake (if I do say so myself), I took a few photos of it for a post that I could do at any time of the year. That's when I had the carrot-related brainwave - surely, the Easter bunny eats carrots? I threw in a tiny Lindt bunny as a photo prop and I kind of fell in love, and just knew I had to post this much earlier than I had intended.

Now, in this household, we're quite picky about carrot cake, which is why I tend to make it instead of buying it from a shop. Most store-bought carrot cakes are filled with walnut chunks and sultanas, and that just doesn't appeal to us at all! So instead of adding those into my cake, I add in a butt-ton of orange zest and whole load of spices. This, along with the shredded carrot, gives the cake a gorgeous, light yet crumbly texture and a delicious warmth to the flavour.

There's absolutely no way you can have carrot cake without topping it off with some cream cheese frosting. I'll admit, I'm not the best at making cream cheese frosting, as it always seems to end up a little runny, but that works perfectly for this cake, because if you put a decent amount on the top, it creates these gorgeous, rustic-looking drips that GoodFood magazine would be jealous of! Finished with some grated or crumbled chocolate (I went for a Twirl), you've got the perfect carrot cake that will please even the most avid of carrot cake haters. If you're not into whole cakes but would still like to try this recipe out, I've actually converted it into cupcakes too!

For the cake, you will need:
375g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Teaspoon ground cinnamon
Half teaspoon ginger
Quarter teaspoon nutmeg
Half teaspoon salt
225g unsalted butter, softened
220g light brown soft sugar
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
Zest and juice of one orange
440g grated carrots

For the frosting, you will need:
110g unsalted butter, softened
225g cream cheese
Teaspoon vanilla extract
160g icing sugar
Milk chocolate bar that can be grated or crumbled

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c/gas mark 4. Grease and flour two round cake tins (or one 25cm round tin).
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl, then set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, light brown soft sugar and caster sugar until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs, and the orange juice and zest until it is well combined. Add the sifted dry ingredients and fold in with the grated carrots.
  4. Pour your mixture into the prepared tin(s) and pop into the oven to bake for around an hour or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once fully baked, remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the tin(s) for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Whilst your cake is cooling, you can make the frosting. In a clean, large bowl, beat the butter to make it softer. Add in the cream cheese and vanilla extract, and beat until smooth. Beat in the icing sugar, and add extra or more a splash of milk until your icing reaches your desired consistency.
  6. If you have two separate cake halves, you can use some of the icing to sandwich them together once they have cooled. If you only have one cake, but would like icing in the middle, carefully cut the cake in half with a knife or a cake leveller, and sandwich the halves together with icing once cooled. Add a good spread on top and finish with grated or crumbled milk chocolate.
While this isn't your stereotypical chocolate feast that we associate with Easter, I think that this is the perfect alternative for those out there that would like something a little more toned down. That's not to say that this cake is any less exciting than something crazy chocolatey - it's just a little more 'grown up'. It'd be the ideal elevenses or tea-time treat at this time of the year, so you should definitely give it a go or try out the cupcake version. Let's spare a thought for our carrot-loving, Easter bunny friend and bake something that he would love!


8 comments

  1. Mm that looks delicious! I always associate Easter with Carrot Cake, yum, what a wonderful time of year.

    Alice | alicemaysnell

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    1. Ah good! That makes me feel a lot better about not posting something chocolate-related x

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  2. Looks delicious and I might just give your recipe a try this weekend! Carrot cake is my favorite!

    The Blushing Pink

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    1. It is rather yummy, if I do say so myself! As it hasn't got nuts or sultanas in, this is definitely a carrot cake that even the most avid of carrot cake haters will enjoy! x

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  3. Oh my, this cake looks stunning and pretty yummy!

    tipscapsule.blogspot.com

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  4. I don't think I've ever tried Carrot Cake before, but this look so good!xx

    Hannah | luxuryblush♡

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    1. YOU'VE NEVER HAD CARROT CAKE? Oh girl, you definitely need to try some - it's blooming gorgeous! x

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