Tracy’s Carrot Cake

This is a classic carrot cake recipe from my very dear friend Tracy. My family and I have been making this for literally decades, and I think it’s the best one ever. It always works, and it’s always loved by everyone.

As written out by Tracy. I learned recently that ‘soft cheese’ ie Philadelphia, is not really cream cheese, and proper cream cheese will make a a thicker icing. I will try to get hold of some next time.

It’s easy to make too. The dry flour mixture goes in the bowl, and then the sugar, oil and eggs are mixed in to make a smooth, thick batter. At this point it doesn’t look like a cake batter, but do not worry! Once the carrots, pineapple, walnuts and coconut are mixed in the batter loosens up.

Nowadays it seems to be very difficult to get tinned crushed pineapple, so I use pineapple chunks and then chop them after they’re drained.

I’ve always made this in a 13” x 9” tin but my sister makes it in 2 x 8” round tins and sandwiches them with the cream cheese frosting.

As you can see I don’t grease and flour the tin, but line it with baking parchment.

It’s so full of carrots, pineapple and walnuts that you can kid yourself it is healthy. Of course it’s also full of sugar… but hey – it’s a special occasion.

We didn’t manage to get all the candles lit! They kept blowing out. Next time I’ll get those candles that re-light themselves.
It didn’t last long!

Chocolate-malt birthday cupcakes

It is lovely Georgia-in-Paris’s birthday very soon. Today her Dad and her Not-Dad are travelling to France to deliver her cake! Really! 😉 Well not exactly. That’s not the actual reason for the journey to be honest. But it seemed a good opportunity/excuse to make cake. I did in fact make this recipe a couple of years ago for Georgia so I hope she still likes it. It is an adaptation of a great recipe in The Best of Better Baking.com.

The original recipe is called Moist and Mellow Yellow Birthday Cake or Cupcakes, and I have made it as is and it was very good. This version was inspired by Maltesers. Apparently in the US they are called Whoppers. The flavour is malted chocolate. I really love this flavour. Last time I was in New York we went to a great luncheonette – Lexington Candy Shop – and I had a chocolate malted milk shake which was The Best! If you are ever in this neighbourhood make sure you check this place out – it is so cool!

I love Maltesers in a box. It reminds me of going to the cinema or the theatre. Anyone else?

The recipe turns out a moist cake with a good texture, light but not too fluffy. I think this is partly the milk, and partly the addition of cornflour.

I made 6 giant cupcakes and 8 smaller regular sized ones. You could get 24 cupcakes or one 20cm (8 inch) cake. A cake for any occasion really.
The original version

Recipe (my version):


1 3/4 cups caster sugar

3/4 cup (6 oz or 170g) softened butter

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup (125 ml) warm water

1/2 cup (125 ml) warm milk

2 tbsp malt extract, stirred into the milk/water mixture

2 1/4 cups plain flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 tbsp cornflour

1 tbsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

Method (my way!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees or Gas Mark 4. Get your tins ready – 2 x 8” or 9” pans; or a 9” x 13” pan; or 2 dozen muffin cups; or a combination. Grease or line with baking parchment or paper muffin liners, or whatever you usually do to stop the cake sticking in the pan.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.

In a jug combine the milk, water, malt extract and vanilla.

Mix the wet ingredients into the creamed mixture.

In another bowl sieve together all the dry ingredients.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until mixed together really well.

Put the cake batter into whatever tins and pans etc you are using.

Bake for: round cakes 25-35 minutes; large cake 35-45 minutes; cupcakes for 18-25 minutes. The tops should spring back when gently pressed.

Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. When cool ice with your chosen icing/ frosting. For these cupcakes I used a simple chocolate ganache – a bar of dark chocolate (180g) chopped and melted into 3/4 cup or about 200ml of double cream brought to a simmer and removed from the heat. Stir until melted, leave to cool then whisk. When it’s spreading consistency use to cover the tops of the cakes. And finally – decorate with Maltesers!

These are the giant cupcakes that went over to Paris.
Happy Early Birthday Georgia!
These are the regular size cupcakes that stayed in London. 🙂
I sprinkled these with a few gold flakes.

If you try this recipe I would love to know how it turned out. Either the original vanilla or the chocolate or maybe something else! It’s going to be another stormy weekend in the UK – stay in and bake!

Spanish lemon almond cake

Almond blossom

Today is my birthday. I think a cake post is in order. I wanted to reference the sights and flavours of Majorca, particularly the citrus. As I have already baked some orange cakes in January I chose lemon this time.

Lemon tree at the Museum of Modern Art, Palma

Before we go on to the recipe I want to remind my readers why I am writing this blog. This year I am raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). JDRF funds research to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. In 2019 I am planning to run a half marathon every month. The next one is on 23rd March in Buckinghamshire. 

This blog is a fun way to raise awareness and point you all in the direction of my fundraising page! It also means I can shamelessly research cake recipes, bake cakes and eat cake.

More almond blossom

All over Majorca we saw almond, olive, orange and lemon trees. Today’s cake has almonds, lemons and olive oil.

I looked at a few recipes for this type of cake, and there are a lot out there. I have in the past made some lovely flourless citrus cakes, using just ground almonds. Indeed my actual birthday cake today – made by my very talented sister – was a delicious clementine almond cake. But I wanted to make individual cakes and I thought they might come out a bit too heavy and rich with just almonds. The one I used from this website dedicated to Spanish food was just right, using all the particular ingredients I wanted to include.

I followed the recipe exactly. The only difference was making small cakes, or buns, instead of a full size version. They needed about 20-25 minutes in the oven. (I can highly recommend silicone cake cups as in the above photo. Those ones came from IKEA.) The result? Beautifully soft and fluffy, lemony cakes with a subtle olive oil taste. I will definitely make these again.

Super tasty lemon, almond, olive oil cakes

Thank you for reading. Many thanks to all who have donated via my Virgin Money Giving Page already, or via Facebook.

I have had a great birthday (yes I did go for a 10k run in the rain!) with yummy cake (not made by me!). Thanks for all your good wishes. 🙂

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a lemon tree in your back garden?!