Easy Carrot Cake Traybake

An easy autumn traybake that’s full of spice and topped with everything nice…
The Cardiff Cwtch: How to Bake Carrot Cake from Scratch

So, I came across a tweet a while back that posed a very important question to the world:  “If you could delete ONE type of cake for the remainder of eternity, what would it be?”  My answer to that one was Carrot Cake, and apparently it was the wrong answer because I immediately got told where to get off.  Look, it’s not that I hate carrot cake, it’s just that I had a really bad experience with a Costco Carrot Cake that put me off enjoying a slice for close to a decade.  Yeah.  It really was that bad.  It was just too sweet.  Not so much the cake itself, but the thick layer of cream cheese frosting on top made my fillings scream and by the time I was three bites in I was gagging and had to walk away.  I had to walk away from cake.  From CAKE!  I mean, that should be a crime, right?  I’ve avoided Carrot Cake and all its incarnations ever since.

I think the problem is that there are so many different recipes out there and – despite it generally being a very easy cake to make – there are so many different elements and additions that it’s got the potential to be absolutely to die for… or completely disastrous.  I mean, beyond the standard grated carrots added to the batter, some recipes suggest adding sultanas and other dried fruits (including pineapple, I’ve heard), some suggest nuts (should it be walnuts, or pecans?), and then there’s the all important spice mix – should you just stick to cinnamon, or spice things up a bit (ha ha) with a few more?  Don’t even get me started on the all important cream cheese frosting!

Anyway, recently I ate some really, really good Carrot Cake out in the States (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; they do Fall Cakes and Traybakes so much better out there than we do here in the UK), and I was willing to admit that I might have got this one wrong – that Carrot Cake shouldn’t be banished off the face of the planet.  So I decided to try making my own from scratch – complete with the dreaded Cream Cheese Frosting – to see if I could be convinced to fall back in love with Carrot Cake.  I researched a few recipes and came up with this very easy Carrot Cake Traybake. 🙂

The Cardiff Cwtch: Easy Carrot Cake TraybakeThe Cardiff Cwtch: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese and Buttercream Frosting
How to Store Carrot Cake

The problem with Carrot Cake is the frosting.  The cream cheese isn’t going last more than a couple of days sitting out on a counter, even if the cake is covered.  A Tray bake makes things a little easier because you can section off the slices, easily pop them into an airtight container and then store them in the fridge for up a week, or sneak a couple into the freezer to enjoy at a later date. 😉

The Cardiff Cwtch: Cosy Slice of Carrot Cake with a Cuppa and a Pupper!

Easy Carrot Cake Traybake

…cut off a corner and get cosy with a cuppa…
Cake Ingredients
  • 150g unsalted butter, melted
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml milk
  • 200g carrots, peeled and grated
  • 100g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
Cream Cheese frosting
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cornflour
The Cardiff Cwtch: Carrot Cake with Buttercream Leaves
Method
  1. Grease and line a rectangular baking tray, then set your oven to 180°C.
  2. Grab a mixing bowl and stir together your melted butter and sugar, then stir in the eggs. Whisk everything until it’s nice and foamy, this should add in a little extra air to give your carrot cake a boost as it bakes.
  3. Next, fold in the flour, baking powder and spices – but make sure you don’t knock out the air you whisked in during step number two. Finally stir in the grated carrots and chopped pecans, then pour the mixture into the baking tin. Bake for 30 minutes, and then leave to cool.
  4. To make the cream cheese frosting, whip together the ingredients until smooth and then pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up a little – it’ll save you trying to frost the cake with runny cream cheese!
  5. You could just leave it at that! There are so many different ways to decorate a carrot cake, but I fancied topping mine with these buttercream autumn leaves. All I did was piped some coloured buttercream onto baking paper in the shape of maple leaves (easier said than done!), refrigerated them until they set and then used them to finish off the cake. 🙂
The Cardiff Cwtch: Easy Carrot Cake Traybake with Cream Cheese and Cinnamon Frosting

So what do you reckon? Is carrot cake truly deserving of the title slot for best cake on the planet, because I’m still not convinced! When it’s good (and not from Costco) it’s lovely, don’t get me wrong, but I still wouldn’t pick it over a door wedge slice of this apple pie cake. What’s your favourite cake?  And, if you could banish one type of cake to the pits of hell, which would it be? ❥