The Ultimate Carrot Cake

Well, it has to be said. There have been many versions over the years, but this is the ultimate and it’s great for a birthday or any other celebration. At the football club we make them into little cakes, and half the mixture makes six large or twelve small cup cakes.

This recipe is from Delia's Cakes

The Ultimate Carrot Cake
 175g dark brown soft sugar
 2 large eggs
 150ml sunflower oil
 200g wholemeal self-raising flour
 3 level teaspoons mixed spice
 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
 200g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
 grated zest of 1 orange
 110g sultanas
 50g desiccated coconut
 50g toasted pecan nuts, chopped (see recipe for toasting instructions)
For the cinnamon icing:
 2 x 250g tubs mascarpone
 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
 2 tablespoons milk (or orange juice)
 1 rounded tablespoon golden caster sugar
 50g chopped toasted pecan nuts (to finish)
For the syrup glaze:
 75g dark brown soft sugar
 juice of 1 small orange
 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Equipment: Two 20cm by 4cm sponge tins, bases lined with parchment or liners


First of all, pre-heat the oven to 170ºC, gas mark 3, then you need to roast all the pecans (for the cake and the topping) – just spread them out on a tray and pop them into the oven near the centre for 8 minutes – use a timer to help you remember

Now to make the cake.  First place the sugar, eggs and oil in a bowl and whisk them together with an electric hand whisk for 2–3 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Next sift the flour, spice and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl – the little bits of bran left in the sieve can be tipped in at the end. Now fold all this in gently.

After that, add the rest of the cake ingredients. Then divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and level them off with the back of a tablespoon.

Bake the cakes near the centre of the oven for 30 minutes until they are springy and firm in the centre.

While the cakes are cooking make the icing by simply whisking the mascarpone, cinnamon, milk (or orange juice) and sugar in a bowl till smooth and fluffy. Then cover the bowl and chill until needed.

For the syrup glaze, whisk together the sugar and fruit juices in another bowl, and as soon as the cakes come out of the oven, first stab them all over with a skewer and then spoon the syrup evenly over the hot cakes. After that they need to cool in their tins in order to soak up all of the syrup.

As soon as they are completely cold remove them from the tins. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate, spread one third of the icing all over, then place the other cake on top and finally cover the top and sides with the remaining mixture.

If you are not going to serve it straight away, cover and chill until needed.

But don’t forget to decorate with the nuts just before serving

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