James Martin’s ‘frosting-topped’ carrot cake is ‘easy’ to make

James Martin is a beloved British chef with many delectable recipes up his sleeve. His carrot cake loaf is the perfect afternoon treat to serve with a nice cup of tea.

It’s hard to resist a delicious slice of carrot cake and James Martin’s is certainly no exception. BBC Good Food shared how to make this delightful loaf cake with just 20 minutes of prep and one hour cooking time.

This recipe caters makes between eight and 10 slices so is great for anyone having guests round this weekend.

It’s a great comfort snack served alongside a hot beverage – “who can resist a slice of moist, frosting-topped carrot cake with a warming cuppa?”

While there are plenty of ingredients in James’s recipe, this culinary endeavour is easier than it looks. In terms of difficulty, the chef rated it “easy” and there are only three steps involved. For those who want to get ahead of the game, this recipe is freezable and can be frozen before icing.

READ MORE: Make James Martin’s ‘autumnal’ apple and pear crumble with easy recipe


For the cake

  • Zest and juice of one orange
  • 50g sultanas
  • 150ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • Two eggs
  • 140g soft light brown sugar
  • 85g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • Two tsp each ground cinnamon and ground mixed spice
  • One tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 140g carrots, coarsely grated
  • 50g walnuts, chopped, plus a few halves to decorate
  • For the icing
  • 200g soft cheese (we used full fat Philadelphia)
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 85g icing sugar, sifted
  • pinch ground cinnamon

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1. If you have time the night before and want to get a head start, put the orange zest and juice in a bowl with the sultanas. If you don’t have time simply stir the zest, juice and sultanas together and microwave on Medium for one to two minutes.

2. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas four and grease and line the base and sides of a 2lb loaf tin. In one bowl, whisk the oil and eggs together. In your largest mixing bowl, mix the sugar, flours, mixed spice, cinnamon and bicarb. Add the sultanas with any juice and zest left in the bowl, grated carrot, walnuts and whisked egg mixture into the dry ingredients, then mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Tip into the loaf tin and bake on the middle shelf for one hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

3. Once cool, remove from the tin and get started on the icing. With an electric whisk beat together butter, cinnamon and icing sugar until it comes together and is smooth. Be patient, as it takes a little while to come together and will look like breadcrumbs for a bit. Add the cream cheese and beat a little until soft and smooth. It’s important not to over beat as the cream cheese may split and become runny. Spread the icing over the top of the cake and decorate with the walnut halves.

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BBC Good Food shared some important tips for budding bakers trying out the carrot loaf recipe. The website offered an important tip for setting up a cake stall: “Ice cakes the night before so they set. Slice at the stand, so they don’t dry out, and keep in a cool place out of the sun.”

BBC Good Food also offered a tip for the tastiest cream cheese: “Have the cream cheese at room temperature for 30 minutes and pour off any water on the surface before using. Stir the cream cheese briefly in a bowl to loosen it a little before beating into the icing.”

For those who aren’t in the mood for carrot cake this weekend, why not try James Martin’s “autumnal” apple and pear crumble?

The chef said: “With colder days fast approaching an autumnal desert is just the ticket! What could be better than Apple and Pear Crumble with homemade custard? It’s a perma favourite for a reason!”

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