How to make carrot cake

I have a guilty addiction in the form of the carrot cake from Pret.  Now that I have actually left London, as predicted, it is one of the things I really miss.  For mass produced cake it is actually quite dense and moist with a rich, buttery layer of frosting.  The problem is that one little plastic packet of Pret cake is never quite enough so for those times when you want an actual hearty slice of carrot cake (or even the whole cake itself).  This is my take on a classic carrot cake recipe with a creamy sugary frosting hit.  The secret here is to make the frosting while the cake is baking as the frosting needs to be chilled in the fridge before topping the cake with it.

Take that Pret! 

300g self raising flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g dark muscovado sugar
100g brown sugar
4 eggs
250ml rapeseed oil
1 orange, zested
200g carrots, grated

Mixing the cake
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
2 tbsps golden syrup
250g cream cheese
75g butter
The finished cake (minus one rather large slice!) 

1.  Heat the oven to 150c.  Line a 22cm deep cake tin with baking paper.

2.  Sift the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and stir in the sugars.  Mix well.

3.  Beat the eggs with the oil and orange zest.  Stir in the carrots and then fold this and the rest of the ingredients into the flour mixture.

4.  Spoon the mix into the tin and level the surface.  Bake for 1 hour 25 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.  Cool in the tin.

5.  For the frosting beat the butter sugar and syrup until soft and then beat in the cream cheese until smooth.  Chill until it is smooth but spreadable and spread a thick layer over the cake.

Inspired by a few places including Pret but mainly an Olive Magazine carrot cake recipe. 


  1. Thanks for posting the recipe, the cake looks yummy. Point 5 mentions butter in the frosting but it doesn’t appear in the frosting ingredients list. Can you let us know how much butter should be used. Cheers

  2. I LOVE carrot cake. I’m going to try your recipe tonight.
    Check out my post here:

  3. I love the prey carrot cake too. THeir recipe is in their book, Food on the Move. If you’d like, email me, I’ll scan you a copy of the recipe.
    *kisses* HH

  4. Anon – Sorry about that – it is 75g butter

    Slutty Cutlery – let me know how it goes!

    Heavenly Housewife – Thanks for the tip – I will email…

  5. Pret carrot cake is definitely a guilty pleasure – slightly greasy but moistly delicious and lots of loe frosting on top. I love that you’ve recreated it here – great post!

  6. This look delicious. I wonder how it compares to the Hummingbird recipe. Will have to make it to compare….=D

  7. The Ottolenghi carrot cake is my ultimate weakness. But you may have tempted me to stray….

  8. Thank for sharing the recipe it looks super easy to bake. I am new bee in baking things i had a question if i want to make a pumpkin cake can i replace carrots with that.

  9. can’t beat a slice of moist and sticky carrot cake, it’s an all-time classic. That frosting looks incredible. I think we have the same KitchenAid – is yours the regular red or Candy Red? Loving the new look blog header btw…

  10. Carrot cake… long time no see… I agree with you on Pret’s one being too small – I want me carrot cake HEFTY.

  11. The Little Loaf – Good to hear I am not the only one with the addiction

    Kay – I love the Hummingbird one as well, delicious.

    Tori – There is room for a lot of carrot cake in this world I think!

    John Lewis – That would be very Halloweeny! Yes you could grate the same quantity of butternut squash and it would give a slightly nuttier flavour than the sweeter carrots.

    Katy Salter – It is regular red I think – I love it!

    Hanna – There can never be too much carrot cake in my books…

  12. I totally agree with you the carrot cake from Pret A Manger is so good 🙂 I’ve been buying and eating them in HK 🙂

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