- June 2016
- Serves 12
- Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 40-45 min, plus cooling and chilling
Pineapple, coconut and vanilla add dreamy tropical flavours to this naked carrot cake recipe – it’s bound to be the hero of any afternoon tea.
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- 45.6g (19.5g saturated)
- 62.3g (42.7g sugars)
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 150g light soft brown sugar
- 250ml sunflower oil
- 3 medium free-range eggs
- 435ml can pineapple in juice, drained and 3 tbsp juice reserved, fruit finely chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 4 small carrots (about 300g), grated
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 60g walnuts, finely chopped
For the icing
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g icing sugar
- 280g full-fat cream cheese (we recommend Philadelphia)
- juice 1 lemon
- Unsprayed edible flowers, such as pansies, rose petals or dahlias, to decorate (optional). You can also use rosemary sprigs and/or shaved white chocolate – whatever you fancy
You’ll also need…
- 2 x 23cm diameter loose-bottomed cake tins (or see tips), greased and lined
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the sugars.
- Combine the oil, eggs, 3 tbsp reserved pineapple juice and vanilla in a small bowl, then stir into the flour mixture. Add the carrots, desiccated coconut, walnuts and chopped pineapple, then mix thoroughly.
- Divide the batter equally between the prepared tins, then bake for 40-45 minutes until golden, risen and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- To make the icing, mix together the butter and icing sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the cream cheese and lemon juice, then beat again until combined and smooth. (Alternatively, whizz everything in a food processor.)
- Spread a third of the icing over one cooled sponge, then top with the second sponge. Spread the rest of the icing on top of the cake and all over the sides. Using the edge of a palette knife, scrape the icing around the edge of the cake until you see the sponge coming through. Leave a thick layer of icing on top of the cake. Put the cake in the fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes or until ready to eat. Take out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving, decorate with edible flowers, if you like, then slice to serve.
If you don’t want to use edible flowers, try arranging sliced mango on top of the cake instead, but do it just before serving so it doesn’t bleed into the icing.
If you prefer, you can bake the cake mixture in one deep, loose-bottomed 20cm cake tin – for a slightly narrower, taller cake. Bake for about 1 hour 20 mins – a skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. If the cake isn’t quite done, bake for another 5 minutes, then check again. Remove from the oven, cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, slice the cake in half horizontally using a large, sharp serrated knife (a bread knife is good). When icing the cake, put the slightly domed top half of the cake face down to form the bottom layer, then sandwich together with icing and the other sponge layer, as in the recipe. This will give you a flat, sharp upper surface for icing the top and sides.
The iced cake will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge in a sealed container.
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