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Spiced Carrot Loaf Cake, Because Easter

A quick and easy carrot loaf cake that’s perfect for an everyday treat – or an Easter one.

I think my main problem with Easter foods is that, by the time it actually gets to Easter, I’ve already eaten as many hot cross buns as I can possibly manage in one year, so am distinctly disinclined to make more. Especially as the bought ones (plain, old-fashioned ones with raisins in them, toasted and buttered. None of these fancy types with chocolate, or peanut butter, or masala and chilli, or lemon and white chocolate, or cheddar cheese and caramelised onion – these are real flavours. I’m not making these up) are just as I want my hot cross buns to be, really.

I have made hot cross buns before. Once I used a very complicated Paul Hollywood recipe, which required three rises and two days (and weren’t even sourdough, which I could’ve forgiven the two days for), and they tasted very much like polystyrene. The other time I tried, I mashed up two recipes and they were glorious, but I didn’t write down what I did and now can’t remember what two recipes I used. So I’m not sure that success rate is worth the effort when, like I say, I really just like basic supermarket hot cross buns, heathen that I am.

They were not a piece of cake, and they were also awful. I do not trust you, Mr Paul Hollywood.

As for other Easter foods … well, eggs and hot cross buns are sort of the extent of things for me, since I don’t celebrate. And I tend to use my Valentine’s technique for eggs, in that I wait until after the weekend to pick up some half-price chocolate. Which means I’ve never given Easter baking an awful lot of thought.

However, I did fancy making a cake this week, and it seemed very reasonable, given the timing, that it be an Easter cake. So off I wandered into the wilds of the internet for some suggestions.

And there were many, from which two key themes emerged. Firstly, I had no idea that cheesecake is apparently an Easter staple? Is that a thing? I mean, cheesecake is nice, but every second cake on the Easter baking lists was cheesecake, which seemed excessive.

Also fancy, and I did not want fancy cake.

The other theme is cakes and cupcakes and brownies crowned with Easter eggs. Lots of Easter eggs. And those marshmallow chickens. And, I mean, I get that it’s a great excuse for extra chocolate consumption, which I will never argue with, but wow. Wow. Even my exceptionally sweet sweet tooth was hurting at the sight of those.

So those were also a no.

Cheesecake and Easter eggs? Come on …

But then I spotted a carrot cake, and thought, of course! Easter bunny = carrot cake. Perfect!

Only carrot cake with cream cheese icing is, if not fancy, at least super-rich, and again – not what I wanted. I like that sort of cake on occasion, probably while out at a nice cafe where you can have a slice with a cuppa and experience that weird mix of feeling both delighted and faintly sick that only really rich cake gives you. It’s not the sort of cake you want a whole tin full of at home.

But, once upon a time in a previous life, I used to make a carrot quick bread for serving with breakfast on a charter yacht. It was sweet and tasty enough to stand on its own, no icing needed, and yet not so rich and claggy that you couldn’t happily go back for a second (or third) slice.

Or course, there was no way I remembered the recipe, and I have no idea where I got it from in the first place, so instead I poked around a few recipes, mashed them up, and came up with this. It’s fast, easy, and packed with spicy tasty goodness and nuts and dried fruit and such yumminess.

And it’s very much not fancy.

Happy baking!

Non-fancy delightfulness.

Quick Spiced Carrot Loaf Cake

  • 190 g / just under 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom (reduce or omit if preferred – or increase for a stronger flavour)
  • 120 mL / 1/2 cup oil (I used canola – any veggie oil would work, but I wouldn’t use olive as the flavour would be quite strong)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 g / 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 80 g / about 1/4 cup yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 200 g / about 2 generous cups grated carrot (two big carrots should do it)
  • Stuff to chuck in – I used a good handful of toasted walnuts, and about the same of a combination of chopped dates and raisins, because that’s what I had. My old recipe used to involve soaking the raisins in rum before using, as I was in the Caribbean and many things involved rum. So you could do that if you wanted, or soak the dried fruit in orange juice or tea, if you prefer. I didn’t bother, but just chucked it in. And as far as those add-ins, just use whatever you fancy – pecans, dried apricots, dried cranberries, pistachios, even chopped easter eggs if you really want …

Pre-heat oven to 180C / 350F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper (or decide to just grease and flour it, like I did, then kick yourself when you leave half the cake behind in the tin …)

Mix the flour, raising agents, and spices in a small bowl and set aside. Give your eggs a light whisk with the oil, then add the brown sugar and give it another wee mix. Do the same with the yoghurt and vanilla (just mix enough to combine, not to do anything fancy).

Chuck your grated carrots and additional bits into the wet ingredients, fold through, then add the dry ingredients and fold gently until all combined.

Tip into tin and bake until a toothpick stuck in the centre comes out clean – about an hour, probably. You may want to cover the top of the cake for the last 15 minutes or so if it’s browning up too much.

Cool, and eat as is, or you could give it a quick slap of lemony icing to fancy it up a bit. Or to stick the bottom back on, which is what I’d do if I was serving to anyone who I thought might mind their slice coming in two pieces …


I would also recommend eating warm with butter. YUM. (Not pictured because I’d already eaten it.)

Now over to you, lovely people – do you have anything in particular you bake at Easter? And what’s your guilty I prefer the shop-bought stuff pleasure? Let me know below!

baking, cake, carrot cake, easter, recipes

  1. Carolyn says:

    I despair when I see the multitude of weird hot cross buns. This year there has been apple ones, rhubarb and custard and the dreaded cheesy ones. Not going to bake any while Aldi are selling 6 for 69p. Bargain and it keeps Geoff quiet. That carroty loaf looks splendid and I think I’ll have a go this weekend when I have the house to myself.

    1. Kim says:

      Rhubarb and custard. I mean, love that combo, but hot cross buns? No. It’s getting silly now! And I may actually make some this weekend, but only because the supermarket was sold out of the nice normal fruit and spice ones, and I get twitchy if I don’t get the sourdough out once a week …

      And I hope you like the carroty loaf! It was most tasty, in my mind, even with the bottom mishap 😉

  2. MARIE CORDALIS says:

    Your carrot loaf looks yummy 😋 I think that’s what I’ll bake for Easter this year since we don’t celebrate either and I’m addicted to anything like carrot cake, gingerbread, spice cake…you get the idea 😉 I usually bake just regular multigrain buns and throw in whatever fruit and nuts I have on hand since for some reason I’ve never even seen hot cross buns in a store anywhere I’ve lived and actually never had one. My fur baby Udi was obviously meant for me because one of his favorite things is crumbs of whatever bread we’re having and I would happily live on bread (especially sourdough) and butter 🙂 🐈

    1. Kim says:

      Oh, I hope you enjoy it! I love spiced cakes too – they’re so warming and tasty, and just feel like there’s sort of more to them than a plain chocolate cake (although I do, of course, love those too …). And I feel your regular buns with fruit thrown in probably isn’t a million miles from a hot cross bun. They usually have some spices, and it tends to be an enriched dough, but otherwise it’d only really the cross on top that makes them any different. They are tasty, though!

      And Udi sounds like a cat of excellent tastes!

  3. CG Phillips says:

    Yum! Thanks for sharing. Getting into baking so enjoy having new recipes to try. Cats will be jealous of time spent making this instead of paying attention to them. Lol!

    1. Kim says:

      Oh no – careful they don’t decide to get involved! The Little Furry Muse was very keen on this, especially any time I left things to rise in places she usually didn’t go. Inevitably, she would go there … Happy baking!

  4. Cyn says:

    A hack I got from Moosewood Cookbook–grease the tin generously, then coat in sesame or poppyseeds, pour the batter in as usual–no stuck cake and a lovely seedy crust when you turn it out.

    1. Kim says:

      Oooh – that does sound like it’d leave a lovely crust! I always grease and flour, but I never thought of seeds. Yum. I’ll have to try that!

  5. Jodie Robson says:

    I have a ridiculous preference for macaroni cheese out of a packet, also known (though not here in the UK) as Kraft Dinner. It doesn’t taste remotely like cheese and it’s the most peculiar colour but I can’t resist it. And I like those little triangles of cheese spread, too.

    Proper bought hot cross buns are a thing of joy.

    1. Kim says:

      It’s so funny how certain things just taste good, even when we know they’re kind of weird. I admit I find the packet mac and cheese very strange, but I really like cheese slices every now and then – those hideously processed, individually wrapped ones that are so squidgy they can’t possibly be cheese. And I eat them straight from the packet, folded up into the smallest squares I can manage so I can peel each tiny piece off the stack one at a time. And yes – the triangular cheese spread, too! (I like the ‘cheese and onion’ ones …)

      1. Carolyn says:

        Oh cheese triangles – yes. I was a Dairylea child but the supermarket ones are just as moreish. The shops do rather tasty gouda slices now which are a bit upmarket but sometimes I dream of boxes of Velveeta from my childhood – bright orange but strangely addictive.

        1. Kim says:

          I remember the Velveeta equivalent we had! It was more cheese-coloured, but just as soft and weird and non-cheese-like. I can’t remember who it was made by, but it was often the closest we got to cheese on the boat. It always seemed like such a treat …

          1. Carolyn says:

            Was it Primula? That was pale and in a semi-circle box? I liked that

          2. Kim says:

            No, it was in a rectangular, dark blue box – I think it might’ve been Kraft? It didn’t have to go in the fridge (or at least not until it was opened), so it was very handy!

          3. Carolyn says:

            Yes – I think I remember that one

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