Carrot & Walnut Cake

It's about time I share my carrot cake recipe with you - after all, I've been hyping this cake up via my Twitter and Instagram channel for the past week or so! Let's start with some background information for now: I've never been particularly fond of carrot cakes; I'd actually even go as far as saying that I used to try and avoid having to eat them whenever possible. Much has changed however; I'd probably pin this down to the mouth-wateringly delicious cake at The Barn café in Berlin, which serves the lightest, fluffiest of carrot cakes I've ever tasted. It will come as no surprise then that I've been on a mission to recreate said cake.

I have tried numerous recipes. The Rose Bakery cake is nice but doesn't quite deliver, and don't even get me started on their icing. The Hummingbird Bakery cake is far too sweet and heavy. Enter Ottolenghi's cake. It's moist, it's not too sweet and, most importantly, the icing is beyond amazing. After a few tweaks here and there, I think the recipe is ready to share with you - I've used less sugar and oil and also made 1 1/2 servings of icing, as I thought Ottolenghi's amount wasn't quite enough.

The Cake:

As I said before, I have reduced the amount of sugar in the mix and have also used less sunflower oil, substituting some of it with coconut oil instead. Next time I may try and make the cake with just coconut oil.

  • 160g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 eggs (1 whole, 1 egg yolk, 2 egg whites)
  • 150g sunflower oil
  • 30g coconut oil
  • 240g caster sugar
  • 50g walnuts, chopped
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 135g carrot, grated
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a spring-form cake tin (the recipe recommends a 20cm large tin, yet I only had a 24cm one) with coconut oil.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices together.
  3. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg with the egg yolk.
  4. Gently melt the coconut oil over a low heat on the hob.
  5. Put the sunflower oil and caster sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk for a minute on medium speed, then add the coconut oil.
  6. On a low speed, slowly add the beaten egg to the sugar and oil. Mix in the walnuts, coconut and carrot and then the sifted dry ingredients. Be careful not to over mix.
  7. In a clean bowl, and using a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites on a high speed with a pinch of salt until firm peaks form.
  8. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake mixture in 3 additions - be careful not to over mix, and don't worry about streaks of white in the mixture.
  9. Pour the cake mixture into the cake tin and bake for approximately 30-40 min (or longer, depending on the size of your cake tin). A skewer inserted should come out dry. If the cake begins to brown before it is cooked through, cover the cake with foil. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the tin.

The Icing

Here comes the crucial part of this cake. As I said before, I am making more icing than Ottolenghi suggests, but have also cut down the amount of butter, honey and icing sugar.

  • 260g cream cheese
  • 80g butter, unsalted
  • 35g honey
  • 35g icing sugar
  • 40g walnuts, chopped
  1. Lightly toast the walnuts and chop them.
  2. Beat the cream cheese in a mixer until light and smooth. Remove from the mixer.
  3. Beat the butter, icing sugar and honey in the mixer until light and airy. Fold together the cheese and butter mixes.
  4. Spread the icing onto the cake and sprinkle it with the toasted nuts.

Voilà, carrot cakes galore! Let me know if you try this recipe at home and what you think of it!

Lilly Wolf