Carrot cake has always been my favourite cake. Even as a little girl, I requested carrot cake for my birthday every year. And our wedding cake was a carrot cake too! I have always used the same simple carrot cake recipe from an old childhood cookbook — even our wedding cake was made with this recipe. But this year, on Easter, I decided to try a new recipe from Julia Ostro’s A Year of Simple Family Food cookbook (I think I shocked everyone in my family! Haha.)

And… personally I loved the cake so much, maybe even more than my go-to recipe. I loved the addition of lime in the icing, and the pistachios on top are so pretty and they add the perfect amount of crunch. But the kids had mixed reactions. (It’s hard to beat an old favourite.)

So I decided to blend the two recipes and see if I could create a recipe that would be an all-round crowd pleaser, and I think I’ve come up with the perfect carrot cake recipe. Below I’ve shared my recipe…

Carrot Cake Recipe:

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 2 ½ cups plain flour (380g)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ²⁄³ cup (150g) brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¾ cup (160g) caster sugar
  • 200 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large carrots, coarsely grated

Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting: 

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 250g cream cheese, softened
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 100g shelled pistachios, chopped (for the topping)
  • coconut flakes, for topping


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 22cm round cake tin with baking paper and then butter the edges.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl. Add the salt and mix.

In a separate bowl, beat the sugars and oil together. Add the eggs and beat until light and pale. (I use my stand mixer for this.) Gently fold in the dry ingredients and grated carrots, alternating turns. When the batter is mixed together, pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for roughly 75 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, for the frosting, place the icing sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until smooth, pale and fluffy. Now beat in the cream cheese until smooth. Gently stir in the lime zest and cinnamon and spread over the cooled cake. Top with the nuts and coconut flakes. Enjoy!


For more family-friendly recipes and food ideas, you can check out my eBook or the Nurture e-course. Both of these include some of our favourite recipes!