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A delicious, easy, and moreish carrot cake traybake with cream cheese frosting and chopped nuts!

Carrot cake 

So, this may be controversial, but carrot cake is my favourite flavour cake. I know, I know, I say everything is my favourite but I do genuinely adore a good chunky slice of carrot cake. 

So… it’s time for a carrot cake traybake! Easter time is usually full of chocolate and such, which I obviously adore.. but it’s not to everyone’s taste. I get that, and I accept that, and to be honest… I love carrot cake. I based this recipe on my carrot cake recipe, and it’s just so good! Not trying to blow my own trumpet of course

Traybake cakes

It’s such a versatile recipe, that I thought I would make it a bit differently by making it into a traybake! Traybake cakes aren’t something I have done a lot of, but to be honest they are SO much easier than a layer cake! You just have to show it into the tin, bake it, and slather on the decoration! No fancy layering or piping required.

I didn’t quite double my carrot cake recipe as it would have been too much for the tin, but its an ‘increased’ version which is ideal. I literally use a traybake tin for this as it was the right size, but any traybake style tin is good. You will just want it to be a similar size to the one I have used.

My chocolate fudge traybake cake has always been so popular, along with my school cakea traybake tin is so popular for bakes and so versatile for recipes that I just really recommend grabbing one. 

The cake

The cake itself is so light, and so (I hate to use the word) ~moist~, it is just delicious. Honestly I think carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes, if not my actual favourite, so I devour far too many pieces when I make this recipe. And you know, its got carrots and raisins in so it’s clearly good for you. 

The recipe uses an oil base for the sponge, along with a mix of brown sugar, eggs, flour, bicarb, and then the flavours. I add a little orange zest because I adore orange in the sponge of a carrot cake, it’s got the carrots (obviously), some raisins as mentioned above, and then the spices. I wanted to make my carrot cake nice and warm as always so I put in some mixed spice, ginger and cinnamon. 

This mixture is so easy to mix together in a bowl with a spoon or spatula. Honestly, you don’t need to use a mixer for a carrot cake, you just need a large bowl. I tend to mix the wet ingredients together first, and then I add the dry and mix until just combined. 

Cream cheese frosting

I did make this slightly different to my carrot cake however and used a cream cheese frosting like the one in my red velvet cake. I thought a carrot cake traybake would need a bit more jazzing up, and the cream cheese frosting is ideal. Its silky, its smooth, and it tastes damn good.

Often people can have problems with making a cream cheese frosting and its often down to over mixing, or the water content of the cream cheese. Some countries cream cheese has a higher water content, and even different brands do. If you feel like yours is extra specially water, you can try and squeeze some out before adding to the butter.

When mixing the frosting, you want to be gentle. You really can’t over mix it otherwise you might have a sloppy mess! Either way though, because the cake will have to be stored in the fridge, it’ll firm the frosting up somewhat anyway! And then with the addition of the crunch of the nuts, its DELICIOUS.

Make sure to use full-fat cream cheese, leave out the spices if you don’t fancy it, but either way.. just follow the recipe and trust me you’ll love the frosting. 

Recipe adaptations

You can see in the pictures how delicious it looks, but it is definitely versatile. Add more nuts, no nuts, add more raisins, or no raisins… its entirely up to you. If you wanted to use a buttercream topping so it doesn’t have to be kept in the fridge, then you can easily use the one from the original carrot cake recipe. It’s the best thing to do if you want it to be out at a party for example or you have to travel with it!

I swapped up and adapted the recipe in March 2024, and the only difference was the cream cheese frosting. I will say I really do prefer my new cream cheese frosting recipe which you can find here, and the one on this post is a delicious spiced version for this traybake.  

Tips & Tricks 

  • I use this traybake tin for my cakes
  • The raisins are optional, or interchangeable with nuts if you prefer 
  • This cake will last for 3 days in the fridge
  • The cake can freeze for 3 months 
  • If you need to have the cake at room temperature for any length of time, you can switch the frosting to buttercream to make it safe 

Carrot Cake Traybake!

A delicious, easy, and moreish carrot cake traybake with cream cheese frosting and chopped nuts!
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Category: Cake
Type: Traybakes
Keyword: Carrot
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Cooling & Decorating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 18 Slices!
Author: Jane's Patisserie

Ingredients

Cake

  • 300 ml sunflower oil
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 350 g light brown sugar
  • 500 g grated carrots (grated weight)
  • 150 g raisins
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 400 g self raising flour
  • 2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tsps mixed spice
  • 1.5 tsps ground ginger
  • 1.5 tsps ground cinnamon

Frosting

  • 125 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 125 g icing sugar
  • 250 g full-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Extras

  • 100 g chopped nuts
  • carrot decorations

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc/160ºc fan and line a 9x13” tin with parchment paper
  • Add the oil, eggs, sugar and carrots to a bowl and mix
  • Add the raisins, orange zest and mix 
  • Add the flour, bicarb and spices and mix
  • Pour into the tin and bake for 50-55+ minutes and leave to cool in the tin
  • Beat the butter on its own until smooth
  • Add the icing sugar and spices and beat until smooth
  • Add the cream cheese and mix again
  • Decorate the cake with the frosting, and sprinkles and chopped nuts if you fancy 

Notes

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J x

© Jane’s Patisserie. All images & content are copyright protected. Do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words and credit me, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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84 Comments

  1. Danielle on March 14, 2024 at 3:52 pm

    Hi – If you were to half this recipe how many eggs would you use?

  2. charlie crawford on December 4, 2023 at 4:57 pm

    Can i use vegetable oil instead of sunflower?

    thank you

  3. Jennie Morton on November 4, 2023 at 6:11 pm

    5 stars
    I’m making this cake for a friend but she doesn’t like any dried fruit (weirdo! lol) so what can I use instead please?

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 7, 2023 at 2:46 pm

      You can replace with nuts, or leave it out!



  4. Sue on May 30, 2023 at 9:23 pm

    Hi jane, if i make half how many eggs do i use please and what size tin 9 x9? Thanks Sue x

    • ALICIASKITCHENBAKES on July 15, 2023 at 9:42 am

      You can half it and do it in a 7×7 (thicker) or 8×8 (thinner) tin using 3 medium eggs – or you can scale the recipe down (x0.7 for everything) and use 4 medium eggs and a 9×9 tin



  5. Stella on May 27, 2023 at 10:19 am

    5 stars
    Made this to take to work and everyone went on about how good it was and that it was the best carrot cake they’d ever had. So many people asked for the recipe. I made it without raisins as I don’t like them.

  6. Elisabeth on November 1, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Jane. Can I bake the cake today and leave it in a tin, then ice it tomorrow? I don’t want to risk cake being in fridge for a day before serving in case it goes really hard. Thanks!

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 3, 2022 at 8:24 pm

      Hiya absolutely, though I usually freeze my cakes before decorating as I find it much easier! x



  7. Karen Jeffries on October 1, 2022 at 9:14 am

    This was an amazing recipe !!
    Will be my go to recipe from now on –
    Made for a MacMillan coffee morning yesterday – everyone loved it 😍!

  8. Laura on August 25, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    Hi, can these be made into muffins/cupcakes at all? Thanks 🙂

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 30, 2022 at 4:05 pm

      Hiya! Take a look at my carrot cake cupcake recipe! Hope this helps! x



  9. Lizzie on August 18, 2022 at 3:12 pm

    Could I possibly use this mix in two 8” round tins would it be enough mixture, thanks

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 18, 2022 at 4:25 pm

      Hiya! take a look at my Carrot Cake recipe! Hope this helps! x



  10. Hanne on July 3, 2022 at 4:38 am

    5 stars
    Thanks! The 9×13 doesn’t fit in my oven so used the 9×9 tin and took 2/3 of all the ingredients. Where I live they don’t have mixed spice so used all spice and it worked well. It took 40 minutes to get a dry skewer, and the result was amazing! So tasty and light?? Was my first ever carrot cake, and it won’t be the last. Thanks, your recipes always rock!!

  11. Sue on May 31, 2022 at 7:08 am

    Hi, can this be adapted to gluten free ?

  12. Denise on January 28, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    5 stars
    I love carrot cake. Tried this recipe for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Although it took longer to cook than stated, it was well worth the wait. It was delicious. Some family members said it was the best carrot cake they had ever tasted. Thank you.

  13. Natalie on October 6, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve been baking at least 1 of your bakes a week recently! Last week was the Carrot Cake cheesecake which my work colleagues said was amazing!
    Baking this one today. It’s taken 1 hour 30 mins in my oven (Gas)!?? I ended up putting foil over the top to avoid it burning. I’ve put the frosting in the fridge while the cake is cooling as it’s quite runny.
    Anything to do with Carrot cake is my FAVE 🥕

    • Val connell on December 6, 2021 at 10:33 pm

      Me too ! Had to bake a lot longer so resorted to foil. Icing in fridge overnight and 🤞🤞it will be better in the morning



  14. JP on August 14, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    5 stars
    Made the carrot cake traybake this morning….and we’ve just had our first taste of it with a cuppa (4pm)! It is absolutely delicious, well worth the wait.

    I did use less of the icing sugar (as we don’t like overtly sweet frosting) and added cornflour to give the thicker consistency. I only used half of the frosting, so will be making another traybake (can’t let the frosting go to waste 😁). Thank you.

  15. Isobel on June 15, 2021 at 12:47 am

    Hi Jane was wondering if this carrot cake could be made in a 9inch square cake tin ? Thanks

    • Jane's Patisserie on June 17, 2021 at 1:14 pm

      Hello, no .. I believe you will want 2/3rds of the recipe x



  16. Rachel Whitaker on April 15, 2021 at 3:25 am

    5 stars
    My go to carrot cake recipe which never fails me. So tasty and easy to make. Always needs a little longer in the oven than advised, could just be my oven. Thanks for a great recipe.

  17. Tori on March 30, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    Hi Jane,

    Recipe looks amazing, going to attempt it tomorrow! Wanted to ask about tins; do you think it will bake ok in a pyrex baking dish, rather than a tin? Only one I’ve got that is the right dimensions….What do you think?
    Thanks, and love the website!
    Tori

  18. Danielle on March 16, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    5 stars
    Love this recipe. Had to leave the cake in to cook a lot longer than said in the instructions but nothing the me and the skewer test can’t handle 🙂

    • Jane Downing on October 30, 2021 at 10:59 am

      Took much longer to cook. Probably 50 mins



  19. Sheila on March 11, 2021 at 10:22 am

    5 stars
    Hi, love both this & the cake recipie! Great success with both. Can I use the traybake quantity to make a deeper carrot cake? Obviously would need to cook longer I assume?! Also if I add double the cinnamon & mixed spice do I need to take anything out?

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 12, 2021 at 8:34 am

      Hiya! It depends on the tin you do want to use, but yes basically more mixture is just a deeper cake that takes longer to bake (but I have no idea on the timings because again depends on the tin!) But no, just increase the spices to the levels you prefer!! x



  20. Megan Adams on March 2, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    Hi Jane! If I was to half this recipe for 8” tin how many eggs would I need to use?
    Thankyou:))

  21. Niamh on February 27, 2021 at 9:44 am

    5 stars
    Awesome cake and super easy! Been looking for a tray bake to please the masses that gives proper high slice as prefer the cake to frosting ratio of a square slice. Will be making for all the big celebrations we have to catch up on. Thanks

  22. Sumera on January 24, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Hi Jane can you substitute the orange zest with orange extract? Thank you and can’t wait to try this!

  23. Caroline on January 20, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Hi, please could you advise if this could be frozen.

    Thanks,
    Caroline

  24. Catherine on December 14, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Hello!
    My family love this cake but the portion size is massive for us! Can I half the ingredients to make a smaller mixture/batch or would this not work?
    Thanks!x

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 14, 2020 at 12:36 pm

      If you have a 9″ square you can use about 2/3 of the recipe, and if you have an 8″ square you can use half. Baking times will reduce! x



  25. Hannah on December 7, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    5 stars
    So moist and delicious! Loved by everyone! I put in extra mixed spice just because I like it. Thankyou for another amazing recipe!

  26. Joan Doherty on November 13, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    5 stars
    Hi, the cake is fab but a bit big for our family. Can i freeze it with the frosting on? Thanks Joan

  27. Gail Marlor on November 11, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    4 stars
    Loved this traybake but the frosting didn’t work well, it became quite lumpy but then you can’t over mix or as you say it gets runnier(though still tasted fab). I tried your other back to basic frosting for cupcakes and it worked beautifully, so beating the butter and icing sugar then adding the cream cheese seemed to give a much better result.

  28. Rachel W on September 8, 2020 at 12:32 am

    4 stars
    Hi, I love your blog, have tried so many recipes. I tried this one though and it was my first fail. I baked it for around 43 mins and I tested with a skewer that came out a bit moist but I thought that was just due to the cake itself as parts of the top looked a bit crusty at the edges. Turned out the middle was totally underbaked!! That which was ok was delicious.

    • Jane's Patisserie on September 8, 2020 at 1:32 pm

      Unfortunately the skewer being moist meant it hadn’t finished baking so it would be underbaked x



  29. Al on July 28, 2020 at 1:16 am

    Hello,
    We are planning to bake this and have noticed that your method for making cream cheese frosting is diffrent to the one in your recent video on youtube, (150g butter/icing sugar and 300g soft cheese). Will we be okay using the video method amounts, or do we need to increase quantities for the tray bake? (I only have 360g of soft cheese in total, so do I use 180g of butter/icing instead?)
    Also, is it possible to use orange extract instead of orange zest?
    Thank you very much! 🙂

    • Jane's Patisserie on July 28, 2020 at 3:52 pm

      Hey! So yes I would use 180g butter/sugar and the 360g cream cheese – and yes you can use orange extract!! xx



  30. Lisa Rao on July 7, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Can u leave the raisins out of this recipe (not a fan!) without it effecting it?

  31. Karen on June 7, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Hi
    Can you use rapeseed oil instead of sunflower oil?

    • Jane's Patisserie on June 7, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      I personally find rapeseed can have too strong a flavour in cakes – but if you want to you can! Vegetable oil is a good substitute for the sunflower!



  32. Zoe Demetriou on May 16, 2020 at 8:36 am

    What can I use for frosting/ topping as we aren’t lovers of cream cheese? Any suggestions for an alternative?
    Thanks xx

  33. Annam on May 13, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Hi Jane,
    Would you use your updated recipe for the cream cheese frosting for this bake?
    Thanks! Annam

  34. Jodi on April 14, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    4 stars
    Have you ever experienced the butter going from lovely and silky smooth into smooth with little clumps when the cold Philadelphia is added to it? This happened to me and although it tasted good, it looked lumpy and a bit strange!

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 16, 2020 at 10:01 am

      Sometimes it can happen – usually, it can be beaten out eventually, but cream cheese frosting is the hardest frosting ever annoyingly! You can try and squish out all the butter pieces, but this can be a very time-consuming task!



  35. Anna on April 3, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Hiya,

    Would it be possible to replace self-raising flour with plain? How much bi-carb/baking powder would I need to add?

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 3, 2020 at 5:30 pm

      You use 2tsps per 150g of plain flour, and you whisk it into the flour before using. You then omit any other raising agent!



  36. Kathryn on April 1, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    Thank you for replien 🙂 will see if my local has it! Driving places is deeming more difficult these days obviously due to circumstances xx

  37. Kathryn on April 1, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Would I be able to use veg oil in place of the sunflower oil or is there a certain reason it is sunflower oil? Just really wanted to make this but dont have sunflower oil xxx

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 1, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      Basically sunflower oil has probably the best taste when it comes to baking a cake like carrot cake – so vegetable oil will still work, sunflower oil is just preferable in my opinion!



  38. Yvonne on December 3, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    5 stars
    Can you add 6 small eggs instead of 5 large if that’s all you’ve got? Thanks x

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 7, 2019 at 8:35 pm

      I would use 6 medium, not 6 small.



  39. Angela Donoghue on December 3, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    Hi do you know if this is freezable? I prefer to make cakes in advance so would be great to know what I could freeze and what wouldn’t freeze well.

    Thanks
    Angela

  40. Alan on December 1, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    4 stars
    needed 50 mins in oven so was a little well done on the outside – would probably benfit from being covered with foil for 20-30 mins next time! Otherwise the reciepe worked well.
    First time i’ve been able to get cream cheese icing to set !
    Lets see what everyone thinks tomorrow – but I expect smiles all round.
    Thank you

  41. Kin on November 20, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Can I make this in a 9 x 9 tin? and is it possible to use muscovado sugar? thanks x

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 20, 2019 at 9:32 pm

      No – as stated it needs to be a 9×13″ – there’s a lot of cake mix. And yes you can use muscovado.



  42. Katie on October 18, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Hi, I’m wanting to make the carrot cake and gingerbread cake in to loaf cakes but unsure what to reduce the ingredients to?
    Many thanks
    Katie 😊

  43. susie leyens on October 11, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    I’ve never made a cake but love to eat carrot cake. I really like nuts in my carrot cake could I add some to your recipe Jane. If so what quantity would I need and how and when would I add them. Thank you

  44. Mikki on September 25, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    5 stars
    This is by far the best carrot cake recipe I’ve come across, must of tried at least 10 over my years of home baking!! I find this cake to be soft and moist and it doesn’t end up going gooey or oily (like i find some recipies can). As for the icing, I mixed it well which went runny as you advised it would, but I left it in the fridge to firm as the cake was cooling and it turned out fine. Yet another recipe of yours I will be making again 😁

  45. Debbie Kemp on August 27, 2019 at 7:53 am

    5 stars
    Made this for a friend who said it was to quote “banging”, he also said all of his family who tried it said it was the best carrot cake they had ever tasted so all in all a big hit ! The cake itself took 50 minutes to bake – may have been my cooker? But it is a huge cake, i did muff the icing a bit dont think i beat the butter enough to start but it turned out fine with the addition of extra icing sugar, tasted lovely with the mixed spice in it, this is only the 2nd recipie of yours I’ve tried but so far so good ! I’m excited to try out some more thankyou for sharing them.

  46. Merriam on April 8, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    5 stars
    Loved this cake, super yummy! My frosting was runny though, I wish I had paid more attention to how much you need to whisk the butter before adding the cream cheese! I also found adding more icing sugar just made it more runny and sweet so will definitely do more butter whisking next time 😁

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 9, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      Ah yes, after a while you won’t be able to rescue it with sugar, but often if done correctly it can help.



  47. Marie Turnbull Davison on August 23, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Can you use the mixture for mini carrot cakes in a mini muffin tin? Someone has asked me to make a 2 tiered mini version with frosting in middle as well as on top!

    Thank you!

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 23, 2018 at 9:56 pm

      Hiya! I’m sure you can, but its a very delicate cake so you have to be careful with it!



  48. Paula on August 19, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Jane!
    Do you think this traybake would work as two layers? By that I mean could I make double and use as a cake filled with buttercream rather than a traybake? The size is just what I need for a cake that someone has asked me to make for them so it would be great if you could let me know what you think 🙂 Thank you!

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 19, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      Hiya! Yeah you could easily just bake two and then fill! I would bake the layers separately rather than bake a deep one and split it😊 x



    • Paula on August 19, 2018 at 9:30 pm

      That’s great. Thank you so much 🙂 is it also ok without the raisins as the person who the cake is for doesn’t like raisins😕Sorry, I should have asked that before!



    • Jane's Patisserie on August 21, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Yeah its fine to leave out the raisins! x



  49. Irene on April 17, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    I am assuming “mixed spice” I the equivalent of “all spice”?

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 18, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      In the UK we have mixed spice, so I’m not 100% sure on the equivalent. It’s got like Cinnamon, Coriander Seeds, Ginger, Cloves, Nutmeg and such in.



    • Yvonne Aldridge on June 20, 2019 at 12:01 am

      In the US and Canada Pumpkin Pie Spice is very similar to Mixed Spice



  50. Pam Gayford on March 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    4 stars
    Wow Jane,another Fabulous cake & the added bonus a traybake.Can’t wait to make it.Also hope you don’t mind me asking but I’m going to make your Easter Chocolate cake as my Birthday cake but I cannot find any milk chocolate MatchMakers.Could you tell me where you sourced them…Love your cakes,please keep posting.💕💕xx

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 18, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      I used Mint ones for the Easter Cake, I don’t think they sell chocolate ones.



  51. Nicola @ The Frugal Cottage on March 16, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    This looks so good – another one of your recipes to add to my ‘must make’ list!

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