Carrot Cake

Best ever carrot cake birthday celebration cake recipe The Jam Jar

February is ‘birthday month’ for my family, and carrot cake seems to be the only cake we can agree on as a collective birthday cake, so here is my recipe for the perfect carrot cake. This cake is made with crushed walnuts and both light and dark brown sugar, which gives it a little bit more of a caramel taste compared to carrot cakes that are made with just light brown sugar or white caster sugar. For the cream cheese frosting, I like to add the zest of half an orange, which breaks up the flavour a little bit.. after all that means you can eat more cake and when has that ever been a bad thing?

  • 155ml vegetable/ sunflower/ rapeseed oil
  • 230g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 180g light brown sugar
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 70g walnuts – chopped or blitzed in a food processor
  • 260g carrots, approximately 3 – coarsely grated or blitzed in a food processor
  • The zest of a large orange
  • 3 medium eggs – beaten
  • 200g full-fat cream cheese
  • 50g butter – room temperature
  • 200g icing sugar


  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, spices and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the carrots, walnuts and 1/2 of the orange zest (keep the remaining half for the icing)
  3. Add the eggs and the oil and mix with an electric whisk until well combined
  4. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins
  5. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
  6. Once baked allow to cool on a wire rack
  7. Whilst the cake is cooling you can prepare the icing.
  8. Beat the butter and the cream cheese together, until light and gradually begin add the icing sugar, beating white an electric whisk as you go. (Note: 200g of icing sugar is about double what most recipes suggest for cream cheese frosting, however other recipes are always too runny. You may only want to add 150g of icing sugar, by adding the sugar gradually you can make a judgement.)
  9. Add the remaining orange zest, and mix well.
  10. Assemble the cake, this should be enough for 2 layers of frosting, one n the middle one on top (the way it should be!) I decorated my cake with bronze sprinkles I found in Waitrose, but you can really get creative with this cake. In the past I’ve decorated with a mixture of whole or crushed walnuts, or you could go for fondant carrots, which you can find in most supermarkets if you don’t fancy making your own, or you could try some candied carrot twists, it’s really up to you. Alternatively you could crumb coat the entire cake with cream cheese frosting, and decorate with caramel shards, for that very modern ‘nude’ cake look.
  11. When decorated serve with a cup of tea, and enjoy.

Best ever carrot cake birthday celebration cake recipe The Jam Jar


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