Recipe Roadtest: Donna Hay’s Carrot Cake

One of my family’s birthday traditions is for my sister and I to bake any cake requested by the birthday boy/girl. For my mum’s birthday over the weekend, she asked for carrot cake and just about every person I told instantly questioned whether I would be adding walnuts. Another friend insisted that the Donna Hay carrot cake recipe came out perfectly every time. Not a huge carrot cake fan myself, I bowed to the advice of these enthusiasts and attempted the Donna Hay recipe and made sure we had plenty of walnuts at home.

Carrot cake

Carrot cake

What you’ll need:

For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts and macadamias
  • 1/2 cup dried mixed fruits

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 250g softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

What to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs gradually and beat well.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger over the sugar mixture. Add the carrot, nuts and dried fruit and mix until just combined.

4. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 55-60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. 2014-08-10 12.41.38

5. For the cream cheese frosting, process the cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Leave the cake to cool completely before spreading with frosting. Enjoy!2014-08-10 15.45.35


  • The recipe actually only called for pecans, but after the advice from my friends, I added in walnuts and macadamias as well. I also used dried mixed fruit instead of the suggested sultanas, and at my mum’s request we sprinkled extra grated carrots over the frosting.
  • We were pretty  surprised at how many carrots we ended up using – around 12 baby carrots which meant a lot of grating! The grated carrots also retain a lot of moisture, so squeeze out the water before you add it to the mixture.
  • I prefer cream cheese frosting to be slightly tart, so we added extra lemon juice. However, you may need to add more cream cheese to ensure that the frosting doesn’t get too runny.
  • This recipe was written for a 22-cm round tin, however our only round tin that was of similar size had warped and we ended up using a 27cm x 17cm x 7cm loaf tin.

4 thoughts on “Recipe Roadtest: Donna Hay’s Carrot Cake

    • I used Philadelphia for the frosting and it turned out fine. Any cream cheese would work, I’d imagine.

      As I mentioned in the post, I don’t usually like carrot cakes, but this one turned out really well and was delicious!


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