Carrot and Coconut Loaf Cake

Before I made this lovely cake I hadn’t realised how well carrot and coconut go together. When combined, they have a really nice flavour and produce a texture that’s light, moist and “nicely crumbly” (I hope that makes sense). The addition of orange adds much to the overall flavour too.

Makes: 12 slices

Time: 30 mins hands on + 60 mins baking + cooling + 15 mins for topping

Level: Easy

Need: A standard 1kg/2lb Loaf tin

Cake ingredients (with GF option)

  • 250g/9oz carrots, finely grated
  • 100g/3½oz raisins or sultanas or a mixture
  • 100g/3½oz desiccated coconut
  • 275g/9½oz Plain flour (or GF plain flour if going gluten free)
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum powder (only if baking GF)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (most baking powder is GF, but if concerned, use GF type)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 large orange (use half here, keep the other half intact for the topping)
  • 225ml/8fl oz sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping ingredients

  • 30g/1oz desiccated coconut (only for the easy alternate topping – see 5a)
  • 85g/3oz unsalted butter*
  • 85g/3oz full fat cream cheese* (e.g. Philadelphia Original)
  • 200g/7oz – 250g/9oz icing sugar
  • The remaining orange half

* Ideally at room temperature


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / Fan 160°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Wet the loaf tin and line with baking parchment, leaving no gaps in the corners.**

(**I used to grease all my tins, but now I merely wet them and insert baking parchment. It works fine and gives me a much easier time when I wash the tins.)

2. Put the grated carrots in a medium bowl and add the dried fruit and desiccated coconut. Set aside until later.

3. Sift the flour, xanthan gum powder (if using), baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix it all together. Set aside.

4. Whisk the eggs, just for a few minutes. Add the zest and juice from half of the orange and mix for another few minutes. Stir in the sunflower oil and vanilla extract. (Wrap the second orange half in cling film and keep intact for using later.)

5. Gently, fold the wet mixture into the dry then fold in the carrots, dried fruit and coconut. Make sure everything is evenly distributed.

Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients

5a. Below, at 7, is the first choice topping method, but if you want a quick and easy alternative, simply scatter desiccated coconut on the top now, before baking. (NB I’m yet to try this, but if you do, I’d recommend having some baking foil handy in case the coconut begins to burn near the end of the baking time.)

6. Bake for about 55 – 60 minutes. Test with a skewer inserted into the middle. If baked, it will come out clean. Leave in the tin for about 5 – 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

A split top is not unusual – don’t worry, we can deal with it.

7. For the topping, whisk together the butter and cream cheese then sift over the icing sugar. Gently squeeze over the orange juice. (Keep the outer firm so that it can be grated later) Stir it all first, to avoid a cloud of icing sugar, then whisk until you achieve a consistency suitable for the topping – i.e. thick enough to spread, not too runny).

8. Spoon, brush or pipe the topping onto the cooled cake then add orange zest.

If you want more loaf cake recipes click here. But first, let me recommend a couple of my favourites: my Bara Brith and my Chocolate and Orange Marbled Loaf Cake.

For cakes in general try this link. To make a comment or ask a question, go to the contact page.

Happy Baking