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Buckwheat carrot cake with brown sugar cream cheese icing

Serves: 10-12
timePrep time: 45 mins
timeTotal time:
Buckwheat carrot cake with brown sugar cream cheese icing
Recipe photograph by Martin Poole

Buckwheat carrot cake with brown sugar cream cheese icing

Buckwheat flour gives a distinctive, nutty taste to this showstopping carrot cake, while the brown sugar in the icing adds a lovely caramel note

Serves: 10-12
timePrep time: 45 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)


  • 80g raisins
  • 50ml orange juice
  • 220g buckwheat flour - use gluten-free if required
  • 65g ground almonds
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200ml vegetable oil, plus extra to grease
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g coarsely grated carrots
  • orange zest
For the icing
  • 100g soft butter
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 220g full-fat soft cheese (Philadelphia)

Step by step

Get ahead
The sponge layers can be frozen, well-wrapped. Defrost before icing. The iced cake will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  1. Combine the raisins and orange juice in a small jar or covered bowl and leave on your kitchen bench to plump up for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of 2 x 18cm round sponge tins with baking paper; set aside for now.
  3. Place the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and vanilla extract, then pour into the dry ingredients. Add the grated carrots and soaked raisins (including the juice) and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until combined. Scrape the mixture evenly into the prepared tins (ideally weigh the batter and divide it into two for accuracy). Place on the middle shelf of the oven.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the sponges in their tins for about 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the icing: put the soft butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until pale and airy. Add the soft cheese, a quarter at a time, and continue to beat for about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl once or twice, until the icing is smooth and thick.
  6. When the cakes are completely cool, place one of the layers on a serving plate. Using a small palette knife or spatula, spread half of the icing evenly over the top and extending a little over the edge. Stack the second cake on top and use a palette knife to smooth out the overflowing icing to fill in the gap between the layers. Spread the remaining icing on top of the cake and smooth it. Decorate with orange zest.


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