Carrot & Coconut Cake

“So do you put real carrots in it?” one of my Hong Kong friends asked me when I mentioned that I’d made a carrot cake.  “But what colour is it?” she went on suspiciously.  Imagine living in a world without carrot cake!  Someone has to bring this delicacy to Hong Kong, and I think I am just the person to start the revolution.  Generally I like my treats to be as chocolatey as possible, but there’s a lot to be said for the humble carrot cake – it’s moist, delicately spiced, and one of your 5-a-day (…right?).  I’ve used various different carrot cake recipes over the years, for full-sized cakes as well as cupcakes.  This is the first time I’ve used this recipe, from over at the BBC Good Food website, and it’s definitely one I’ll be using again.  I love a bit of coconut and it works well here – I also chucked in some raisins, and I think a few nuts wouldn’t go amiss either.  I couldn’t get hold of mixed spice, so I just used cinnamon, which was a big success.  Behold:

Carrot & Coconut Cake


200g unsalted butter

300g light brown muscovado sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

200g self-raising flour

75g dessicated coconut (the recipes calls for 50g, but a bit more is better)

200g grated carrot

2 tsp mixed spice

anything else you fancy – fruit, nuts, cinnamon...


1.  Butter and line a 20cm square baking tin.  Preheat the oven to 180oC.

2.  Gently melt the butter in a saucepan, cool for 5 minutes, then beat with the sugar, vanilla and eggs.  (Don’t worry if it doesn’t completely combine, once the flour gets in there it will all come together.)

3.  Stir in the flour, coconut and a pinch of salt, then add the carrots and spice, along with any additional treats – a handful of raisins, chopped walnuts, some cinnamon.

4.  Bake for about 35 minutes, testing it with a skewer/toothpick/chopstick.  Allow to cool completely before icing.

The original recipe calls for a kind of sugary, coconut glaze, but I’m strictly an icing sort of girl.  I think an orange cream cheese icing would work well, but I tried this cashew nut one from over at Veggie num.num.  My pathetic little food processor acutally broke down mid-recipe, so my icing was far from smooth, and, I had to add a lot more icing sugar and still couldn’t get it to the thick, creamy consistency I would have liked, but it tastes absolutely divine.  (I’d been looking forward to the cake all day and couldn’t wait for the whole thing to cool before tucking in, so I sliced off a square and iced that seperately first – hence the icing is running down the sides in the picture.  I’m sure people with more self-control will be able to wait and ice it in the traditional manner!)

This, as most things, is lovely with a cup of tea!  I should start spreading the word in Hong Kong, but it may be a little too good to share…

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