Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
For the cake:
  • 1 lime
  • 6 pieces of stem ginger
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 175g (or ¾ cup + 2 teaspoons, packed) light brown sugar
  • 200ml (or ¾ cup + 4 teaspoons) sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 340g (or 2½ cups) finely grated carrots
  • 225g (or 1¾ cup + 2 teaspoons) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 200g (or 7 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 30g (or 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice (from the lime used for the cake)
  • 50g (or ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar
  • baby carrots for decorating, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F (standard oven setting). Butter a 24-cm (9-inch) round cake pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  2. Zest and juice the lime. There should be about three tablespoons of lime juice. Finely chop the stem ginger.
  3. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites in a medium sized bowl until they're stiff. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the yolks with the sugar and (using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) mix until well combined and lightened in color. At first there will seem to be too much sugar for the eggs to absorb, but as you keep mixing, the grainy, sugary mixture will become more liquid.
  5. Keep mixing and slowly drizzle in the oil. Whisk on high speed for one minute. It's great if your batter looks perfectly smooth and emulsified at this point, but if it doesn't just proceed to the next step and don't worry about it. It won't affect the final product.
  6. Add two tablespoons of lime juice (so there will be one tablespoon of lime juice left for the frosting), the lime zest, the chopped ginger, the cinnamon and the grated carrots (you don't need to squeeze the excess juice from the carrots). Stir the mixture with a hand whisk until all the ingredients are combined. If you keep using an electric mixer, the batter is likely to splash all over you and your kitchen, as the grated carrots will fling batter everywhere. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until incorporated.
  7. With a rubber spatula, stir ⅓ of the beaten egg whites into the batter. You can be quite rough at this stage, as the first ⅓ of the egg whites just needs to loosen the batter in preparation for the rest. After you've incorporated the first ⅓ of egg whites, gently fold in the remaining ⅔, being careful not to knock out any of the air.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely. In the meantime make the frosting.
  9. Add the cream cheese, the butter and lime juice into a bowl and, using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat until combined and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and carefully stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Give it a final little whisk with the mixer and taste. I like my cream cheese frosting quite tangy, but if you prefer it a little sweeter, feel free to add more powdered sugar to taste.
  10. To decorate the carrot cake, scoop all the frosting in the middle of the cake and use a rubber or offset spatula to push the frosting to the sides of the cake. Cut the baby carrots in half (lengthwise) and arrange them in an artful (or not-so-artful) pattern. To make the carrots shine, you could glaze them with a little nut oil, but I decided to leave them plain.
If you would like the cake to be a bit more nutty, you can add 150g of chopped hazelnuts when you add the grated carrot. I left the hazelnuts out, because my unfortunate little sister cannot be in the same room with a tree nut.
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at