Carrot cake always manages to lure those with a sweet tooth, thanks to its gooey cream cheese and moist flavour. This scrummy cake with delicious grated carrot mixed into the batter gives it an air of wholesomeness


Makes 12 squares
Takes 60 minutes to make, plus cooling
250ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
225g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
225g self-raising flour
250g carrots, peeled
25g olive oil spread
300g half-fat cream cheese
25g unrefined golden icing sugar
1 orange


How to make carrot cake
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4. Using a pastry brush, grease a rectangular cake tin, measuring about 18 x 28cm and 2.5cm deep, or a clean shallow roasting tin with a little oil. Line the cake tin with baking paper.
2. Measure out the oil and pour into a large bowl. Add the caster sugar and mix with a large whisk (called a balloon whisk) for a few minutes.
3. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl. Check no shell gets into the bowl, then add to the sugar. Whisk until the egg disappears, then repeat with the other 2 eggs.
4. Rest a sieve over the bowl and tip in the flour. Push the flour through the sieve with a large spoon.
5. 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.
6. Cut the ends off the carrots, then rub each one up and down a grater to coarsely grate (take care of your fingers and knuckles). Fold the carrots into the mixture, then pour it all into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, until well risen and golden. Ask an adult to take it out, then 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.
Tip: This will keep in the fridge for about 4 days.


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