(courtesy of Delia Smith’s How To Cook Book One)

I have been making carrot cake for years, and each time it seems to improve with a little tinkering here and there. A few years ago I attempted a low-fat version rather reluctantly, not believing it was possible. Now I have to admit it’s become one of my favourites. It’s also one of the quickest, easiest cakes ever. –Delia Smith

(Sir Oliver: nce you’ve made this a few times you can adjust the oil and sugar accordingly. it works fine with 100 ml of oil and 150 grams of sugar, and sultanas are optional, of course.)


Serves 12



  • 6 oz (150 g) dark brown soft sugar, sifted
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 4 fl oz (120 ml) sunflower oil
  • 7 oz (200 g) wholemeal self-raising flour

    (Sir Oliver: You can add one fourth to one third whole wheat)


    • 1½ level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
    • 3 rounded teaspoons mixed spice
    • grated zest 1 orange
    • 7 oz (200 g) carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
    • 6 oz (175 g) sultanas

      For the topping: (Sir Oliver: Optional)


      • 9 oz (250 g) Quark (skimmed-milk soft cheese)
      • ¾ oz (20 g) caster sugar
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      • 1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus a little extra for dusting

        For the syrup glaze: (Sir Oliver: Optional)


        • juice ½ small orange
        • 1 dessertspoon lemon juice
        • 1½ oz (40 g) dark brown soft sugar

          Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C).

          You will also need a non-stick oblong cake tin measuring 6½ x 10 inches (16 x 25.5 cm), top measurement 7 x 10½ inches (18 x 26.5 cm),1½ inches (4 cm) deep, the base lined with silicone paper (parchment).

          Begin by whisking the 6 oz (175 g) sugar, eggs and oil together in a bowl using an electric hand whisk for 2-3 minutes. Then sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the mixed spice into the bowl, tipping in all the bits of bran that are left in the sieve. Now stir all this together, then fold in the orange zest, carrots and sultanas. After that pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until it is well risen and feels firm and springy to the touch when lightly pressed in the centre.

          While the cake is cooking, make the topping by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl until light and fluffy, then cover with clingfilm and chill for 1-2 hours or until needed.

          Now you need to make the syrup glaze, and to do this whisk together the fruit juices and sugar in a bowl. Then, when the cake comes out of the oven, stab it all over with a skewer and quickly spoon the syrup over as evenly as possible. Now leave the cake on one side to cool in the tin, during which time the syrup will be absorbed. Then, when the cake is completely cold, remove it from the tin, spread the topping over, cut it into 12 squares and dust with a little more cinnamon.