Carrot Loaf Cake

Carrot Loaf Cake is super simple but fantastically soft and moist. An easy, and exceptionally tasty treat, perfectly topped with creamy cream cheese icing.

This is one of my favourite cake recipes, and certainly my favourite carrot cake recipe

I love a loaf cake, they are easy, both to cook and to eat, and they’re the perfect size for a family. There’s usually a loaf cake in our cake stand, whether it’s this Carrot Loaf Cake, a simple chocolate cake, or Lemon Curd, which is another big favourite. 

I also think a simple loaf cake is a great way to experiment with different flavours and ideas. 

This Recipe for a Carrot Loaf Cake is incredibly simple, easy to change to suit your tastes, and always yummy. 

This blog post contains affiliate links, this means if you click on a link and go on to buy the product I recommend, I will get a small commission, but you will not be charged more.

It’s just so soft and moist. Perfect as an afternoon pick-me-up or an easy pudding. Absolutely delicious.

slice of cake on plate, rest on cake stand in background.

Is Carrot Cake Healthy?

Not even a little bit. 

Now, I can see why you might think that a Carrot Loaf Cake is healthy, what with it being full of carrots and all. 

Carrot Loaf cake on wire rack.

But, despite using quite a lot of carrot, and raisins in my Carrot Loaf Cake Recipe, the oil and sugar mean that it’s not really any healthier than a chocolate cake or Victoria sponge. It is very very yummy though!

Carrot Loaf Cake Ingredients

I think I spent years thinking that carrot cake didn’t actually have carrots in it. I also thought cheesecake didn’t really have cheese in it though, so I was clearly an idiot!

When we’re thinking about How to Make Carrot Loaf Cake, carrots are obviously the number one ingredient. 

Carrot Loaf Cake in tin.

I use around 220g of carrots, which is quite a bit in a small cake, but it means that your sponge is fantastically soft and filled with flavour. 

I also add raisins, because I love them. I know a lot of people also add chopped nuts to their carrot cakes. 

I’m not a big fan of nuts in a cake, but please feel free to add them if you are. 

Then, I use vegetable oil as the fat in my Easy Carrot Cake Recipe, instead of butter. It just improves the texture and ensures that even with a relatively long bake (it’s a pretty wet cake mix) your carrot loaf cake stays very moist and soft. 

Spices for Carrot Loaf Cake

As well as carrots and raisins, we typically add spices to Carrot Cake for a warming and complementary flavour. 

corner of cooling carrot loaf cake.

I use nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and mixed spice for a really warm and mildly spiced carrot cake sponge.  

I use a tsp of each, but if you want a spicier cake, or for one flavour to be more powerful, adjust your quantities. 

Do You Peel Carrots for a Carrot Cake?

Yes. 

The peel on a carrot can get quite bitter as it bakes, and isn’t as juicy as the centre. So, I top and tail, peel, and then grate my carrots before adding them to my Carrot Cake Recipe.

What Size Should You Grate Carrots for a Carrot Cake?

Grate carrots for your carrot loaf cake as small as you can. We’ve got this grater (affiliate link), which I use for any vegetable grating needs. 

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese on glass stand, slice on plate and wire rack in background.

Grating small means that your carrot is well distributed through the cake mix and that you aren’t left with any big, hard lumps. 

It always takes longer than I expect though, so give yourself plenty of time. 

Does Carrot Cake Taste Better the Next Day?

I think that many things taste better the next day, and carrot cake is definitely one of them. 

Top view of slice of carrot loaf cake on plate.

The flavours get a chance to settle and enrich the sponge, and it just gets softer and yummier. 

How Do You Stop Raisins Sinking in a Carrot Cake?

This carrot loaf cake sponge is fairly light, and thin, which means that fruit can sink into it as it bakes

A bit of sinking is fine, but you don’t want a layer of raisins at the bottom of your cake. 

I toss my raisins in a tbsp of self-raising flour, and then add them to the cake mix at the very end, carefully folding them through before tipping them into the cake tin. 

Some will still sink a little, but the flour coating helps them to stay put as much as possible. 

Why Does My Carrot Loaf Cake Sink in the Middle?

If your carrot cake sinks in the middle, it could be because it needs baking for a little longer. 

This is a fairly slow bake recipe.

Carrot cake in baking paper.

I tend to bake for around 70minutes at 160 degrees (fan-assisted) but I check it after 1 hour, at which point if the middle is still wobbly, I cover it in foil loosely to stop the top burning, and return for another 10-15 minutes. 

A sunken centre might also mean that your carrot cake is being baked at too high a temperature, and so rising too much in the first place. It might also mean that it is cooling too quickly. 

I try to cool might cake completely in the tin if possible. 

Decorating a Carrot Loaf Cake

You can absolutely eat this Carrot Loaf Cake without Frosting. It’s gorgeous as it is and doesn’t need anything extra. 

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese on glass stand, slice on plate and wire rack in background.

But, I like my carrot cake with a layer of cream cheese icing

You can also add carrot decorations or chopped nuts to the top, but I think it’s lovely plain for a simple treat. 

Cream cheese is the perfect top for carrot cake, and the one used more often. So, let’s take a look at How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Icing

Most cream cheese icing recipes use equal parts butter and icing sugar, and double cream cheese. So like 50g, 50g, 100g.

cream cheese icing in mixing bowl.

I only tend to deviate from this if I’m adding extra flavourings, like chocolate or a liquid like lemon juice.

I will also say that the ingredients that you use for cream cheese are important.

When I bake, I typically use margarine. Something like Stork, or a supermarkets own version. And when I make cheesecake I usually use a supermarkets own soft cheese. This doesn’t work with cream cheese icing, or even buttercream.

In America, when they make cream cheese icing, they use blocks of hard cream cheese. We don’t have this in England (Although, I’m told we used to. So I suspect a health and safety thing!).

Soft cheese is the closest thing that you can buy in an English supermarket. It tastes the same, and it works for cheesecake, but the water content is much higher, to the point that when you open it, and certainly if it’s been in the fridge opened for a while, you get a pool or water on the top.

Margarine is oil-based, so also has more liquid than butter. Using margarine and soft cheese will often mean that no matter what you do, your cream cheese is runny.

So, for cream cheese I use a hard block of unsalted butter, left out for a few hours to bring it close to room temperature, and Philadelphia, which is still soft cheese, but has less water than cheaper versions. You should still tip any water on the top away before using.

This is quite a small portion of icing, but it’s enough to spread roughly onto the top of your carrot loaf cake.

Does Cream Cheese Icing Harden?

Cream Cheese Icing for Carrot Cake stays much softer than buttercream, or other icings. 

It will harden slightly if you keep the cake in the fridge, but still not as much as buttercream. 

How Long Does Cream Cheese Icing Last?

Cream cheese icing lasts for anything up to a week if kept in the fridge. 

Cream Cheese icing being spread onto carrot cake.

In all honesty, we keep our carrot loaf cake with cream cheese icing on the side in a lidded cake stand. It’s always been fine for up to three days…maybe longer, it’s never lasted that long!

In theory, the sugar will help to kill any bacteria in the cheese and stop it from going bad. But, if you want to be safe, and especially if your kitchen is quite warm, or if you want to keep your cake and icing fresh for longer, please do pop it in the fridge. 

If your icing changes colour or texture at all, these might be signs that it has soured and needs throwing away. 

How Long Does Carrot Cake Last?

Carrot cake stays brilliantly moist for up to a week. Not that it will last that long!

Can You Freeze Carrot Loaf Cake?

You can freeze carrot cake. You can also freeze cream cheese icing. But, I probably wouldn’t freeze them together. 

Sliced Carrot Cake on wire rack.

Icing can go a little gritty when it thaws, so it’s good to be able to give it a little stir and maybe add a little milk, which you can’t do if it’s on a cake!

To freeze your carrot cake, leave it to cool completely before wrapping it in cling film or placing it in an airtight tub. Freeze for up to two months.

To freeze cream cheese icing, place straight into an airtight tub or bag and freeze. 

If it’s gritty after thawing, carefully whisk in a splash of milk to even it out again before using. 

Yield: 12 Slices

Carrot Loaf Cake

Sliced Carrot Cake on wire rack.

Carrot Loaf Cake is super simple but fantastically soft and moist. An easy, and exceptionally tasty treat, perfectly topped with cream cheese icing.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Carrot Loaf Cake:

  • 160ml Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 225g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 1tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 190g Self Raising Flour – Plus 1tbsp to dust the raisins
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1tsp Ground Mixed Spice
  • 220g Carrot – Topped and bottomed, peeled, and finely grated
  • 125g Raisins

For the Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 75g Unsalted Butter – At room temperature
  • 75g Icing Sugar
  • 150g Soft Cheese - Philadelphia is best

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan-assisted) and grease and/or line a loaf tin
  2. Toss the raisins in a tbsp of flour and leave to one side
  3. Whisk the oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla together for 2-3 minutes (longer by hand) until the colour has lightened slightly and the mixture is smooth
  4. Sift in the flour, bicarb, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and mixed spice, and whisk for a few minutes until even
  5. Whisk in the carrots
  6. Tip in the raisins (it’s fine if flour from the bowl goes in too) and stir through carefully until evenly distributed
  7. Pour into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 hour (first check after 50 minutes or so)
  8. After this time if the centre is still underbaked, cover the tin loosely with foil and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes
  9. When the cake is cooked remove it from the oven, and if possible leave it to cool completely in the tin
  10. To make the cream cheese icing beat together the butter and icing sugar until soft, even with room temp butter, this can take a while. Then, carefully beat in the soft cheese until all the big lumps are gone
  11. Once the cake is cool, carefully remove it from the tin and roughly spread on the cream cheese icing

Notes

  • I use a large loaf tin like this one and reusable baking paper to line (affiliate links)
  • If after 70 minutes the cake isn’t quite cooked, consider turning the oven up slightly and returning, still covered in foil. But, check every 5mins from them on. How runny your mixture is can depend on how fresh the carrots were, so don’t worry if it’s ready after 50 mins, or if it takes much longer.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 Slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 304mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 2gSugar: 32gProtein: 6g

The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors.

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