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Moist Carrot Cake with Pecans and Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake on a cake stand with one slice on a small plate.
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We were looking for that perfectly moist and fruity carrot cake recipe and settled for a Mary Berry and Ottolenghi carrot cake hybrid. It’s light and fluffy, with a hint of coconut just like Ottolenghi’s, yet rich and fruity, just like Mary’s. The cream cheese frosting with a subtle hint of honey flavour adds yet another indulgence level to this wonderful cake. We present to you our Moist Carrot Cake with Pecans and Cream Cheese Frosting!

Carrot cake was always one of my favourites when I worked in one of Ottolenghi’s delis in London. It was less dense, fluffier than your usual carrot cake, generously studded with walnuts and always with a good dollop of honey-flavoured cream cheese frosting. There was only one thing missing for me – dried fruit! Whilst Ottolenghi’s cake has a genius addition of desiccated coconut, I thought that adding a few sultanas or raisins could only make the cake better. And it did!!!

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Carrot cake with Pecans covered in cream cheese frosting on a cake stand.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Best Oil for Carrot Cake?

We recommend using an odourless oil in this recipe. This Pecan & Carrot Cake was tested with vegetable, sunflower and cold-pressed rapeseed oil and all three worked perfectly. Whilst olive oil is widely used in baking, we think the flavour of it is too overwhelming in this particular recipe.

Can I Make this Cake Nut Free?

Yes! Simply skip the pecans. Whilst coconut has a name that can be deceitful, it is actually a fruit (however, coconut is considered an allergen so make sure it’s safe for everyone who’s going to eat the cake).

What Fruit Goes Well in Carrot Cake?

If you’re are out of sultanas and raisins, we recommend adding some chopped up dried apricots, figs or prunes. For an extra tropical-flavoured carrot cake, try adding small pieces of dried pineapple. It goes very well with the coconut in this recipe.

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.

Jim Davis

How to Make Our Pecan & Carrot Cake With Oil?

Preheat the oven to 170°C Fan. Grease an 18cm (7in) springform cake tin with butter. Line the base with a circle of baking parchment (we recommend Bacofoil – nothing sticks to it, and it lasts forever!)

Top & tale, peel and coarsely grate carrots. Don’t worry if you have a little more or a little less of the carrot, it won’t make that much difference.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices.

In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the whole egg with the egg yolk.

Put the sunflower oil and caster sugar in a deep large bowl. Using an electric mixer beat for about a minute, then slowly add the beaten egg from the previous step.

Into your wet ingredients, mix in the flour mixture, pecans, coconut and sultanas, but don’t over mix. Finally, fold in the grated carrots.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt with a clean dry electric whisk until firm peaks form.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the cake mixture. Don’t overmix – streaks of white in the mixture are okay. The secret to a perfect carrot cake is trying to keep as much air in the egg whites as possible. This will ensure proper rise whilst baking and a light and airy texture.

Egg whites are being folded into the cake mixture.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour (it can take 5-10 minutes longer. If you’re using a larger cake tin, reduce the amount of cooking as your cake mixture will be spread thinner). A skewer inserted in the centre should come out dry.

Let the cake cool completely and then remove it from the tin.

Make the Frosting and Assemble:

To make the icing, beat the soft butter, icing sugar and honey in the mixer until light and airy. Gradually add the room temperature cream cheese whilst the mixer is running. For more tips on how to make the best frosting for your carrot cake, read the section below.

Cut the cooled cake in two circles (there’s a handy tool for that too). Spread 1/3 of the cream cheese icing on the first half and stack the second half on top. Spread the remaining icing in waves on top of the cake and decorate with pecans.

How to Make the Best Honey-Flavoured Cream Cheese Frosting for Carrot Cake?

This recipe uses an easy cream cheese frosting that works very well with the carrot cake but can be used in other recipes, such as vanilla or pumpkin cupcakes. To make the best frosting, here are some of the tips:

  • Make sure your butter is soft. Room temperature butter is somewhat of a vague concept (since room temperature varies from house to house, and season to season). Your butter should not be melting and should have no shine on it, but your should be able to press your finger into it without much force.
  • Make sure other frosting ingerdients are room temperature too. Take your cream (soft) cheese out of the fridge at least an hour before you start making the frosting. This will ensure smooth, not grainy frosting.
  • Beat the butter with sweeteners until fully incroporated and fluffy first, and only then gradually add the cream cheese.

Other Cake Recipes To Try

If you’re looking for other traditional cake recipes with just a bit of a twist, have a look at the recipes below:

Carrot Cake on a cake stand with one slice on a small plate.

Moist Carrot Cake with Pecans and Cream Cheese Frosting

We were looking for that perfectly moist and fruity carrot cake recipe and settled for a Mary Berry and Ottolenghi carrot cake hybrid. It’s light and fluffy, with a hint of coconut just like Ottolenghi’s, yet rich and fruity, just like Mary’s. The cream cheese frosting with a subtle hint of honey flavour adds yet another indulgence level to this wonderful cake. We present to you our Moist Carrot Cake with Pecans and Cream Cheese Frosting!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Baking, Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 10 portions
Calories 518 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 160 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 egg large
  • 1 egg yolk large
  • 2 egg whites large
  • 200 g sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 50 g pecans roughly chopped
  • 50 g desiccated coconut
  • 40 g sultanas or raisins
  • 150 g carrot coarsely grated
  • a pinch of salt

For the Icing:

  • 175 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 70 g unsalted butter softened
  • 35 g icing sugar
  • 25 g honey
  • pecans to decorate

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C Fan.
  • Grease an 18cm (7in) springform cake tin with butter. Line the base with a circle of baking parchment.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices.
  • Lightly whisk the whole egg with the egg yolk.
  • Pour the oil and caster sugar into a deep large bowl. Using an electric handheld mixer beat for about a minute, then slowly add the beaten eggs from the previous step.
  • Add the flour mixture, pecans, coconut and sultanas into your wet mixture. Don’t overmix. Finally, fold in the carrots.
  • Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt with a clean dry electric mixer until firm peaks form.
  • Carefully fold the egg whites into the cake mixture. Don't overmix – streaks of white in the mixture are okay.
  • Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour (it can take 5-10 minutes longer. If you're using a larger cake tin, reduce the amount of cooking as your cake mixture will be spread thinner). A skewer inserted in the centre should come out dry.
  • Let the cake cool completely and then remove from the tin.
  • To make the icing, beat the soft butter, icing sugar and honey in the mixer until light and airy. Gradually add the room temperature cream cheese whilst still beating.
  • Cut the cooled cake in two circles. Spread 1/3 of the cream cheese icing on the first half and stack the second half on top. Spread the remaining icing in waves on top of the cake and decorate with pecans.

Nutrition

Calories: 518kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 5gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 157mgPotassium: 182mgFiber: 2gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 2945IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Carrot Cake, Carrot Cake Recipe, Carrot Cake with Coconut, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Carrot Cake with Honey Frosting, Carrot Cake with Honey Icing, Carrot Cake with Icing, Carrot Cake With Pecans, Easter Carrot Cake, Moist Carrot Cake Recipe UK
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8 Replies to “Moist Carrot Cake with Pecans and Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. 5 stars
    My husband and daughter love carrot cake and I followed your recipe. They said it was the best I made so far. So now I know which recipe to stick to. Thanh’s

    1. This is wonderful! So glad you found the recipe that your family truly enjoys 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    This is dangerous, I could totally devour the whole cake myself 🙂

    1. Same here, Sue! We love it!

  3. Claudia Lamascolo says: Reply

    5 stars
    After looking at the ingredients this will be on the dessert menu this week it sounds fantastic and looks even better!

    1. Thanks, Claudia! Let me know what you think if you make it 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    I adore carrot cake and this one is so delicious – that frosting is amazing!

    1. Thanks, Amy! The frosting is the best thing 💗

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