Healthy carrot cake

Serves: 8
Course: Dessert
Cooking Time: 2 hrs 0 mins
  • 75g dark muscovado sugar (or caster sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 100g very ripe bananas (approx 2 bananas), mashed
  • 75ml sunflower oil
  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bread soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 200g carrots, coarsely grated (approx 2 medium carrots)
  • 25g porridge oats
  • 1½ tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 25g walnuts, chopped
  • 25g sultanas
  • Cream cheese icing
  • 125g full-fat cream cheese
  • 30g butter
  • Zest of ½ lemon and a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 100g icing sugar

1. Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment and preheat a fan oven to 200°C.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs and vanilla essence together, add the bananas. Whisk in the oil until well combined.

3. Sieve together the flours, baking powder, bread soda, salt and spices.

4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Next fold in the carrots, oats, coconut, walnuts and sultanas until fully combined.

5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, level the top and bake in the preheated oven for 10mins at 200°C until risen and starting to darken in colour, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C for the remaining 50 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the tin, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

6. For the cream cheese icing, use an electric whisk to beat the butter until soft, add the cream cheese, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add icing sugar gradually, beating after each addition until blended. Ensure the loaf cake is cool before spreading the icing over the top.

Variation: Substituting a third of the carrots with courgettes will make a tasty version of this loaf cake. If you're worried your bananas are not ripe enough, you can slightly increase the quantity of sugar in the recipe.