Carrot and Sultana cake

This truly delicious carrot cake recipe is from BBC Food and was featured in the Hairy Bikers Best of British series.

A friend I worked with a few years ago used to bake the most awesome carrot cake and bring it into work to share. Until tasting her creation, I didn’t think I was that bothered by carrot cake but I soon realised I absolutely was. However since then, I’ve tried many different recipes for carrot cake but I was never able to find one, that lived up to the cake that my friend baked. Until now!

I found this recipe by chance as Pete’s Auntie baked it and kindly gave us a slice to try. As soon as I ate it, “I said that was definitely worth the calories”. It was utterly delicious, if you are a fan of carrot cake, you will want more than one slice.

The sponge is really soft and the cinnamon, nutmeg, sultana’s, pecans and orange zest give it such a warming taste. The citrus icing and the crunch of the extra pecans just work so well together and give a luxurious taste. Can you tell that I’m slightly in love with this cake!

The sponge stays soft and bouncy for a good few days however because the topping uses cream cheese, it’s best to store it some where cool and not to keep it for too long. To be honest, it’s that delicious it won’t be around for long.


200g (7oz) self-raising flour

175 g (6 oz) light brown sugar

75 g (3 oz) pecans

75 g (3 oz) sultanas

3 large eggs

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 large orange, zest only

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

175ml/6fl oz sunflower oil plus extra for greasing

200 g (7 oz) carrots grated

For the cream cheese topping

100g (3.5 oz) unsalted butter, softened

100g (3.5 oz) icing sugar

200g (7 oz) full fat cream cheese

1 tsp fresh orange juice

1/2 orange, zest only

25 g (1 oz) pecans, roughly broken

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. You will need to grease and line a 20cm/8in square loose-bottomed cake tin.
  2. In a large bowl measure the flour, sultanas, pecans, orange zest, cinnamon, grated nutmeg, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large and mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs until smooth. Then add the sunflower oil and sugar and whisk until well combined.
  4. In the first mixture, make a well in the centre and pour the egg mixture in. Beat until smooth and then add the carrots.
  5. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is well risen and an inserted knife comes out clean.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven, leave to cool for five minutes before removing from the tin and leaving to cool on a wire rack.
  7. For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and add the butter and orange juice. Use a wooden spoon to beat together until well mixed and light and creamy.
  8. Add the orange zest and cream cheese and beat until smooth. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm enough to spread.
  9. Spread the icing over the cake and sprinkle with the pecans. Cut into squares to serve.

If you bake this lovely carrot cake recipe, let me know how you get on. You can reach me @theachetobake or contact me here.

8 thoughts on “Carrot and Sultana cake

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