Everyone loves this American classic – made with oil instead of butter, boosted with carrots and a low fat cream cheese frosting. You can almost call it healthy!


carrot cakeSERVES 12 PREP 15 MINS



250ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing

225g light muscovado sugar caster sugar

3 large eggs

225g self-raising flour

1/4tsp ground cinnamon

1/4tsp ground mixed spice

250g carrots, grated

25g olive oil spread

300g half-fat cream cheese

25g golden icing sugar

1 orange

1 Heat the oven to 180C, Gas 4. Grease and line a 18 x 28cm and 2.5cm deep rectangular cake tin.

2 Pour the oil into a large bowl, add the sugar and whisk together for a few mins.

3 Gradually whisk in the eggs. Whisk for few minutes.

4 Sieve in the flour, cinnamon and mixed spice. Take a large metal spoon and fold the flour into the egg mix. Don’t stir it round and round, turn the spoon on its side and sink it into the middle of the mix, drag it along the bottom of the bowl, then lift it up and over. Do this until you can’t see any flour.

5 Gently fold the grated carrots into the mixture, then pour it all into the prepared tin and spread evenly.

6 Bake for 40 minutes, until well risen and golden. Push a cocktail stick into the centre – it’s ready if it comes out clean. Set aside to cool in the tin.

7 Meanwhile, put the olive oil spread and cream cheese into a bowl. Mix until soft and smooth. Put a sieve over the bowl and add the icing sugar, pushing it through with a spoon. Rub the orange against the fine side of a grater, stopping when you get to the white pith. Add half the zest to the bowl, mix, then spread over the cake. Sprinkle the rest of the zest over the cake and cut it into 12 squares.