Delightful Carrot Cake Traybake with Ricotta Frosting


Embracing the spirit of spring, the carrot cake traybake emerges as a favorite among bakers seeking a delightful, seasonal treat. This unique recipe not only features the customary warming spices and orange zest but also introduces a twist with a ricotta frosting that adds a deliciously light and tangy dimension to the classic cream cheese topping. Unconventional yet harmonious, the addition of thyme provides a subtle herbal undertone, creating a cake that is not only visually appealing but also a symphony of flavors.

Ingredients for Carrot Cake

The Foundation of Flavor

The first step towards crafting this delectable carrot cake involves gathering a set of quality ingredients. The combination of these elements plays a crucial role in achieving the perfect balance of sweetness, spiciness, and herbal notes. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soft butter for greasing
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 200 g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 200 g peeled and coarsely grated carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
  • 100 g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 200 ml vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, beaten

Crafting the Foundation

To prepare the cake base, meticulous attention is required to combine these ingredients effectively. The process involves a careful orchestration of flavors and textures:

Step 1: Mixing and Baking

  1. Preheat the oven: Begin by preheating the oven to 180 ºC (160º Fan) mark 4. Prepare a 20cm x 30cm x 5cm deep baking tin by greasing and lining it.
  2. Combine the ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, blend all the cake ingredients thoroughly using a large metal spoon or spatula until a well-combined batter is achieved.
  3. Transfer to the tin: Place the batter into the lined tin and ensure it is evenly spread into the corners.

Step 2: Baking Perfection

  1. Bake: Allow the cake to bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes. The desired result is a golden, well-risen cake with a clean skewer test indicating its readiness.
  2. Cooling Process: Once baked, let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then, carefully transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Crafting the Ricotta Frosting

The crowning glory of this carrot cake traybake lies in its ricotta frosting, a luscious blend of textures and flavors that elevate the dessert experience.

Ingredients for Ricotta Frosting

  • 250 g tub ricotta
  • 100 g soft unsalted butter
  • Zest of ½ orange, plus extra to decorate
  • 175 g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, picked and finely chopped

Step-by-Step Frosting Magic

Step 3: Preparing the Frosting

  1. Frosting creation: While the cake bakes, focus on crafting the ricotta frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ricotta, soft unsalted butter, orange zest, icing sugar, and half the thyme.
  2. Beating to perfection: Employ an electric mixer to beat the ingredients until well combined and fluffy, typically taking 2-3 minutes. Despite its initial looseness, the mixture will firm up upon chilling.

Step 4: Final Flourish

  1. Chill the frosting: Cover and chill the frosting for about an hour to allow it to firm up slightly.
  2. Assembling the masterpiece: Once the cake has cooled completely, generously spread the ricotta frosting over it, creating a smooth and tantalizing surface.
  3. Finishing touches: Scatter the remaining thyme and additional orange zest over the frosting, adding a visual and aromatic finale to this springtime masterpiece.

Storage Tips

To ensure the longevity of this delectable creation, it is recommended to follow these storage guidelines:

  • Refrigeration: Cover and store the cake in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, maintaining its freshness and preserving the rich flavors.


In summary, the carrot cake traybake with ricotta frosting presents itself as a delightful culinary journey. From the carefully chosen ingredients to the meticulous preparation of the cake and the exquisite ricotta frosting, every step contributes to a symphony of flavors and textures. This recipe not only caters to the taste buds but also serves as a testament to the creativity and versatility that can be infused into traditional bakes. Perfect for springtime celebrations or as a comforting treat, this carrot cake traybake with ricotta frosting is a masterpiece waiting to be savored.


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