Carrot cake

Serves 10-12



  • 170g unrefined caster sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 235ml groundnut / sunflower oil

  • 150g grated carrot

  • 50g (one fruit) grated apple

  • 150g sultanas

  • 75g pecans / walnuts, roughly chopped

  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • Good pinch of cinnamon

  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • 225g wholemeal self-raising flour


  • 400g low-fat cream cheese*

  • Dollop of vanilla bean paste

  • 200g icing sugar or natural sweetener (such as carob or agave syrup) to taste

*Tip* Waitrose's low fat cream cheese has just 0.7g of sat fat per 30g, whereas most others have 2.2 g! 


  • Preheat the oven to 180 fan.

  • Beat the eggs, sugar and oil in a bowl until it's fluffy and pale.

  • Mix in the carrot, apple, nuts, dried fruit and lemon.

  • In a separate bowl, add the flour, bicarb and cinnamon. As it's wholegrain, you won't be able to sift it, so give it a mix with a whisk to fluff it up.

  • Fold the flour mix into the creamed eggs and oil.

  • Divide evenly into two round 8-inch cake tins, greased with oil.

  • Bake for 30 minutes. (check after 20 and pierce with a skewer to see if it comes out clean.)

  • Leave the cakes to cool completely before turning out.

  • To make the icing, beat the cream cheese with a whisk until it has become fluffy. 

  • Add the vanilla and icing sugar, or natural sweetener to taste. 

  • Chill the icing and use half to sandwich the cakes together, and the other half to decorate the top.


  • Obviously this is still cake and has sugar in it, so probably shouldn't be eaten every day.

  • Grated apple meant I could reduce the sugar content by 1/3. 

  • Carrots, apples, and sultanas all provide a host of vitamins and minerals, while the nuts are sources of monounsaturated fats, and walnuts are sources of alpha linoleic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid.

  • Using groundnut oil or a sunflower or olive oil, in a reduced capacity, is much better than butter, as it has much less sat fat and is a source of mono and polyunsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol. 

  • Low-fat cream cheese still isn't ideal, but whipping it and only having a little amount isn't too bad for you, and very good for your soul.