Sunday, 13 October 2013

Coconut carrot traybake


I’m always drawn to recipes that are familiar but with a new twist to them – this is a perfect example; it’s a carrot traybake but unlike most carrot cake recipes it’s a butter cake rather than an oil based recipe.  It also has a crunchy coconut topping rather than cream cheese frosting.  Both were really good ‘tweaks’.

This is such a light cake, amazingly so.  I thought the whole point of using oil in carrot cakes was to achieve lightness of sponge but this recipe produced the softest, fluffiest carrot cake I’ve ever eaten.  Without a doubt it will be my ‘go to’ carrot cake recipe from now on.

I added sultanas because, frankly, everything’s better with sultanas but you could replace them with nuts or simply omit them if they’re not your thing.  Sultanas add such a sweet, juicy little pop of joy to everything and it works very well against this cake’s crunchy topping.

The topping turns crunchy and toasted in the oven and adds a new texture to carrot cake.  I didn’t even miss the cream cheese frosting...and that’s saying something!  It definitely gave the whole cake a lighter feel.

Grating carrot has to be one of my least favourite tasks in baking.  I see people grate things on TV and it looks so easy, but my carrot was spraying everywhere and I couldn’t get a proper grip on it.  Of course, my food processor has grating discs, and I even have a plug in kitchen grater.  But did I use them?  No.  I used my metal grater so I could moan about it!


For the cake:
250g unsalted butter
300g light muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
200g self raising flour
50g desiccated coconut
200g grated carrot (about 3 medium carrots)
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Optional: 150g sultanas

For the topping:
50g unsalted butter, melted
85g desiccated coconut
25g light muscovado sugar


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven  160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Grease a 30cm x 20cm traybake pan or roasting tin.

Start by making the cake: melt the butter gently in a large pan (it needs to be big enough to take all the cake ingredients); take your time with this as you do not want the butter to brown.

Leave to cool for five minutes.

Beat in the sugar, vanilla and eggs.  Make sure the mix is smooth and the eggs are well incorporated.

Stir in the flour, coconut, carrot, spice and sultanas (if using).

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes (or until virtually baked).

Meanwhile, make the topping: melt the butter and stir the coconut and sugar into it.

If it dries out while you’re waiting for the cake to cook, a dash of milk will moisten it up – but only a tiny amount; less than a teaspoon.

Take the cake from the oven and gently spread the topping over it.  I found the best way to do this was the back of a wooden spoon and my fingers.

Bake for a further ten minutes until the topping is golden.

Leave in the tin to cool before cutting into squares.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Choclette said...

Fascinated by the crunchy coconut topping and obviously everything is better with butter in it ;-)

Know what you mean about grating carrots, or courgettes, it's a pain, but feels even more of a pain hunting around for the grater attachment and then having to wash up the food processor - not sure which is worse!

Charlene F said...

Looks lovely and moist :-) x

Gloria Baker said...

look absolutely delicious!!!xo

Lucy said...

I always struggle with carrot cakes being too oily so this sounds ideal. Love the idea of a lighter topping as well - makes endless snacking a bit less guilt ridden!

Sally Sellwood said...

I have had 2 carrot cakes pop in my to read/to bake list this afternoon. I love a good carrot cake and definitely interested in the coconut topping

Kezia said...

I'm a bit obsessed with coconut at the moment so this sounds delicious! I've actually always made carrot cake with butter but they can sometimes be a bit stodgy - this doesn't look the case with yours at all!

Baking Addict said...

I'm baking a carrot cake later today and have just seen 2 other carrot cakes on the blogosphere. I am intrigued by a butter sponge for carrot cake - never tried that before. Not a fan of coconut but I can see it's appeal especially when its crunchy. PS I moan about grating carrots too - I don't use the fancy equipment but do it by hand and moan about it!

Stuart Vettese said...

Amazing CC - looks very light and moist even minus the oil!

Katie said...

Haha I agree with you about grating the carrot! This looks lovely and I like the idea of the crisp coconut topping. A great twist on the classic

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Haha, I'm like you and never use my food processor for things like carrots. It just seems like more work to get the food processor out.

Brittany said...

These sound so good! I love coconut on everything!

Anne Szadorska said...

Oh oh oh it looks delicious, I love everything about your cake! Only trouble is I don't own a traybake tin, maybe if I scale it down to my square cake pan it might work.. I have some neglected carrots in the fridge so will be a perfect use for them!

P.s. I hate grating too, if the boyfriend is home its his job!

Jo said...

Love the idea of a coconut crumble topping. May have to bookmark this one!

I'll be moaning about carrot grating this evening as I'm baking a carrot cake for my dad's birthday tomorrow. I hate it when the carrot slips and I grate my finger instead. Hopefully that won't happen tonight!

snowy said...

Great idea to have a coconut topping.
Carrot cake is one of my faves, and yours looks so good.
Agree about grating the carrots - such a chore.