Hello! Today, I'm here with a recipe for carrot cake traybake with light cream cheese frosting. It's easy, delicious and brings so much spring vibe into your kitchen!
Carrot cake is one of my favourite treats when I go out for a coffee. But I also like to have it in the comfort of my own home. It's really simple and almost effortless to make!
This recipe is a traybake version (sheet cake). I find it practical and think it will serve you well either if you're having guests over or as a family snack!
What do you need to make this carrot cake traybake?
One of the main ingredients in this carrot sheet cake are... carrots! I strongly recommend using fresh carrots for the best results. Peel, wash and grate them on a cheese grater and have them ready to use in the batter of this cake.
Carrots themselves are sweet, however, their natural taste isn't very strong. This is why it's good to add seasonings such as cinnamon and cloves to the batter. They pair quite well with the sweetness of the carrots and also bring more colour to the cake.
Orange extract provides this cake with beautiful citrusy flavour and fragrance.
The rest of the batter is made of typical pantry ingredients such as plain (all-purpose) flour, free-range eggs, baking powder and baking soda.
For the frosting, I use light (low-fat) cream cheese. It keeps its creamy consistency, whilst containing less fat (and less calories). It also contains more water and therefore it gives moisture to the cake, so it won't be dry.
The light cream cheese is whipped together with unsalted butter, orange extract and icing sugar. Feel free to add as much icing sugar as you like - add it in batches and always taste the frosting before adding any more sugar.
The frosting can be topped with decorations: Carrot-shaped sugar decorations will give this cake a super spring look, but sprinkles, orange zest or chopped walnuts are great choices too! Feel free to be creative with what you have in your store cupboard!
Can you swap any of the ingredients in this carrot cake?
Great news! Some of the ingredients in this recipe can be substituted with others without affecting the final result too much.
Swap 1 teaspoon of baking soda for 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder. If you only have baking soda and no baking powder at all, use ½ teaspoon of baking soda extra (that makes 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda in total).
If you only have full-fat cream cheese, use it instead of low-fat one, but remember to use less butter for the frosting (70-80g).
Finally, zest of ½ organic unwaxed orange will make up for 1 teaspoon orange extract. Feel free to make this swap for both the batter and frosting.
How to store this carrot cake traybake with light cream cheese frosting?
This cake will stay fresh (uncovered) in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you can't fit it in your fridge, keep it in a cool spot in your kitchen covered with a tea towel for a maximum of 2 days.
The carrot cake can also be stored frozen. Freeze it in an airtight food container without any frosting or decorations. Defrost in the fridge 8-12 hours before serving. Make fresh frosting just 1 hour before serving and leave it set on the cake for at least 30 minutes.
Carrot cake traybake with light cream cheese frosting
For the batter
- 3 free-range eggs
- 100 g Half Spoon (half sugar/half sweetener mix) or 200g sugar
- 200 g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 250 g peeled and grated carrots
- 200 ml sunflower or vegetable oil
For the frosting
- 100 g unsalted butter cut into dices and softened
- 130 g low-fat cream cheese room temperature
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 100-150 g icing sugar according to taste
- colorful sprinkles
- carrot-shaped sugar cake decorations
- grated zest from ½ orange
- chopped walnuts
Make the batter:
- Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until smooth.
- In a different large bowl, sift flour with baking powder and bicarbonate soda. Add cinnamon, cloves and orange extract and stir.
- Stir in the oil (use a spatula). Keep stirring until it's fully absorbed in the batter.
- Add the carrots and stir thoroughly.
- Lay a baking tray with baking (parchement) paper, and pour over the batter, spread it evenly with the spatula.
- Place in the oven and bake for 35-40mins or until slightly brown on top. Check if the batter is cooked through: Insert a bamboo stick inside the dough. If it comes out clean, it means it's done.
- Leave to cool down on a cooling rack for at least 45 mins. Take the butter out of the fridge 30mins prior making the frosting.
Make the frosting:
- Tip the butter and light cream cheese into a mixing bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, whip together for 5 minutes or until you get a smooth and creamy texture without any lumps.
- Add orange extract and whip again for about 1 minute.
- Add icing sugar and whip until you get a smooth cream with no lumps.
- Transfer the cream frosting onto the baked traybake. Using a spatula, spread the frosting evenly on the cake.
- Sprinkle with decorations of your choice. Leave to set in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving. Serve chilled.
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda for 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- if you only have baking soda and no baking powder, use 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda in this recipe
- light (low-fat) cream cheese for full-fat cream cheese, use less butter (70-80g)
- 1 teaspoon orange extract for zest of ½ organic unwaxed orange