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Ready Steady Bake: Cake

Once again it’s time for the country to be gripped by whether someone’s bake will rise, will the gingerbread structure collapse, and all importantly – will there be any soggy bottoms?

Here at HSL we love the taste of freshly baked goods (did you know everyone gets free tea and biscuits when visiting our Comfort Stores?) and so we thought we’d follow along with the Bake Off this year by sharing a healthier twist on each week’s theme.

Cake Week

Did you know that historically cake in England was essentially bread cooked in a slightly different way? The most obvious differences were the round, flat shape of the “cakes”, and the cooking method. They would turn the “cakes” over once whilst cooking, whereas bread was left upright throughout the baking process. Thankfully, we’ve moved on since then and developed some absolutely amazing cake recipes over the years.

Healthier Carrot Cake
Not-So-Naughty Carrot Cake*

Who doesn’t love a nice moist carrot cake? Despite the protests that “surely it’s one of your 5-a-day?” sadly it can be around 680 kcal per serving. Instead, by making just a few changes, you can have the same delicious taste at only 217 kcal per serving.

Good to know: This is such a tasty recipe that many people enjoy it without icing, and it is even lower calorie that way.


For the cake

  • 1 medium orange
  • 140g raisins
  • 125ml rapeseed oil
  • 115g plain wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder, plus an extra pinch
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 140g dark muscovado sugar
  • 280g finely grated carrot (about 375- 400g carrots before peeling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 115g self-raising flour

For the icing

  • 100g light soft cheese, straight from the fridge
  • 100g quark
  • 3 tbsp sifted icing sugar
  • ½ tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice


To make the cake: Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 and lightly oil and line the base of a deep 20cm square cake tin.

Finely grate the zest from your orange and then squeeze out 3 tbsp of juice. Pour this juice over the raisins in a bowl, stir in the zest, and leave this to soak while you make rest of the cake.

Mix the flours with 1 tsp of the baking powder, as well as your bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and mixed spice.

Separate one of the eggs. Put the egg white in a small bowl and set aside. Put the yolk in a large bowl and add the other egg. Tip in the sugar. Whisk these together for 1-2 mins until thick and foamy. Slowly pour in your oil and continue to whisk on a low speed until well mixed. Tip in the flour mixture – just half at a time, gently stirring it into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula or big spoon. This mixture will be quite stiff.

Next, fetch your egg white bowl and put in the extra pinch of baking powder. Whisk this to soft peaks.

Fold the grated carrot, raisins (and any liquid left in them) into the flour mixture. Very gently, fold in the whisked egg white, and pour the whole mixture into the tin. Shake the tin gently to level it.

Bake for 1 hour until nicely risen and firm or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave it to cool in the tin for 5 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack. You’ll then need to peel off the paper, and leave until cold.

To make the icing (if you’re using it): Stir the soft cheese, quark, icing sugar and orange zest together – make sure you don’t overbeat otherwise it will become too wet. Stir in your lemon juice. Swirl the icing over the cake and cut it into 16 squares.

This cake is even better if you leave it well wrapped for a day or two before you add the icing. It will keep up to 5 days (without icing) in an airtight container. If you have iced it, then pop it into the fridge to help it keep for a few more days.

If you fancy trying something new: reduce the amount of carrot used, and substitute it with the same weight of grated apples and pears.

We hope you enjoy making this recipe – perhaps one to share with the kids or grandkids. If you take any pictures, we’d love to see them; please share them with us on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.

Baking With A Grandchild

*Please note, the image used here is from stock photography. For a link to the original recipe and their picture, please click here.

Tested. Trusted. Recommended.

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