I came across a great book called Natural Baking by Carolin Strothe and Sebastian Keitel (DK, 2019). They use seasonal fruit and vegetables, natural sweeteners and healthier flours in their bakes. I've made many carrot cakes before, but it was nice to include all these wholesome ingredients and feed a large playground playdate with 7 kids and 4 adults.

2 eggs

1/2 c natural liquid sweetener (I used a maple and rice syrup mix)

75ml mild vegetable oil

1/4 tsp black cardamom seeds (or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom)

4 cloves (or 1/4 tsp ground cloves)

1 c (150g) wholemeal flour

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

300g grated carrots

60g dried apricots, chopped

40g pumpkin seeds

zest of half orange (about 2 tsp)


125g cream cheese, room temperature

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp lemon juice

orange zest or pumpkin seeds to decorate

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 20 or 22cm round cake tin with baking paper. You can also use a shallow rectangle brownie tin.

In a large bowl beat the eggs and maple syrup for a few minutes with an electric beater until frothy. Whisk in the oil.

Finely grind the cardamom and cloves using a mortar and pestle. Alternatively use ground spices. Sift in flour, spices, baking powder and salt and fold in till just combined. Fold in carrots, apricots and pumpkin seeds.

Transfer to your cake tin and bake for around 35 min until cooked through.

Leave in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Mix the icing ingredients together in a small bowl. Ice the cake when cooled and decorate as desired. Edible flowers would look nice too.