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Carrot cake with fresh garden ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 150ml vegetable oil, plus extra for the tin
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • grating of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 150g light brown soft sugar
  • 100g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 150g carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 tbsp milk (optional)

For the decoration

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g soft cheese
  • 175g icing sugar, sifted
  • green food colouring gel
  • edible carrot and flower decorations

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Oil a 900lb loaf tin and line with baking parchment. Whisk the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl to combine.
  2. Beat the eggs, orange zest and brown sugar together in a stand mixer or using an electric whisk until fluffy, pale and doubled in volume. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil (the mixture will deflate a bit) and whisk until combined.
  3. Sift over the dry ingredients and fold in with the pecans and carrots, adding the milk if the batter needs to be loosened slightly. Scrape the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 50-55 mins until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 mins, then remove to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  4. For the icing, beat the butter using an electric whisk until pale and creamy. Beat in the soft cheese to combine. Add the icing sugar, 1 tbsp at a time until smooth, then mix in several drops of the green food colouring gel. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a multi-opening plain nozzle and pipe the icing over the top to make grass. Decorate with carrot and flower decorations. Will keep chilled for two to three days.