Carrot Orange Walnut Layer Cake

Carrot Cake with Orange, Walnut and Thyme Caramel Recipe

Carrot Orange Walnut Layer Cake

Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot cake is a definite classic and a flavour that I adore. We actually had carrot cake as one of the tiers in our wedding cake many years ago. Despite my love for carrot cake, I haven’t actually made it for a long time. I was delighted to revisit it recently however in the creation of this comforting layer cake recipe which I am so pleased to share with you. 

The Carrot Cake

This carrot cake recipe is one that I had been testing out for my ebook, Layer Cakes The Essential Collection. It didn’t however make the final edit as the book was focused on cakes that can be cut neatly into finger portions, something which is required for wedding and celebration cakes. Carrot cake recipes like this one tend to be a little crumbly due to their oil based structure and grated carrot pieces. This cake is hence not particularly suited to cutting into neat finger slices, but is however especially delicious and very much worth sharing!

Carrot Layer Cake Recipe

The Carrot Cake Details

This is a traditional carrot cake recipe with oil, brown sugar and aromatic spices such as cardamom and cinnamon. I have paired the cake with an orange and walnut praline buttercream and delicious thyme caramel. The thyme caramel is my favourite element in the recipe, adding a little bit of a decadent flavour twist.  I love using herbs in baking.  Thyme is the perfect partner for carrots in savoury dishes, and translates equally well as a pairing for a cake. You may have a little extra caramel from the quantity in the recipe which can be drizzled over the top or served in a jug with the cake.

Feel free to make your own variations too, other nuts such as pecan or pistachio would make great substitutions for the walnut for example. I have specified baking in two 6″ tins and cutting each layer in half horizontally to create a 4 layer cake, you could also bake in two 8″ tins for a 2 layer cake.

I hope you enjoy this cake, do tag us on social media @covecakedesign with your creations!

Suzanne x

Carrot cake recipe Cove Cake Design

Carrot Cake with Orange, Walnut and Thyme Caramel

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g light soft brown sugar
  • 185ml rapeseed (or other) oil
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 2tsp bicarbonate soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 300g grated carrot
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 1tsp ground cardamom
  • Grated zest of one orange (optional)
  • 1tsp freshly chopped thyme (optional)

Ingredients for Thyme Caramel:

  • 75ml cream
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g cold unsalted butter
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme
  • Pinch salt

Ingredients for the Walnut Praline

  • 50g walnuts
  • 50g caster sugar

Ingredients for the Buttercream Icing

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 175g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Finely grated zest of one orange


  1. Preheat the oven to 150⁰C/300F. Grease and line the base and sides of two 15cm/6” cake tins. 
  2. To make the cake, whisk together the eggs, sugars, oil and vanilla in a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the grated carrot, orange and chopped thyme (if using) and mix to combine.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, salt and spices into a separate bowl. 
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture and mix to combine. 
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two tins. 
  6. Bake for approximately 40-45 mins until springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in cling film and leave for at least a few hours or overnight before filling.
  7. To make the thyme caramel, heat the cream gently in a small saucepan and add the thyme, leaving to infuse.
  8. Put the sugar into a larger saucepan and heat on med–high until sugar starts dissolves and turns a golden caramel colour, swirling to ensure it is even.
  9. Remove from the heat and add in the butter a little bit at a time and stir until smooth (it will sizzle a bit when butter added).
  10. Slowly strain the heated cream into the caramel (take care as it sizzles) and stir again until smooth. Add the salt and stir.
  11. Pour the caramel into a small jar. You can put a fresh sprig of thyme in the jar to infuse further, remove before use.
  12. To make the walnut praline, toast the nuts for 8–10 minutes until golden. Chop finely.
  13. Heat the sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat until dissolved. Swirl gently but do not stir. Continue to heat gently until the sugar has turned to a caramel colour. Remove from the heat, add the nuts and stir with a spatula to coat.
  14. Quickly scrape out onto a piece of baking paper and leave to cool.
  15. Break up the praline in a small blender or pestle and mortar.
  16. To make the buttercream icing, place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment for 8–10 minutes, scraping down intermittently, until light and fluffy. Add the walnut praline (you may not need all of it) and mix to combine.
  17. To assemble the cake, trim the tops of each cake and cut in half horizontally. Place the base cake layer on a board or plate. Spread approximately 1/4 of the buttercream icing on top of the first cake layer and drizzle over the thyme caramel. Place the next cake layer on top and add a layer of buttercream and thyme caramel. Repeat for remaining cake layers, finishing with a layer of buttercream icing. Drizzle caramel over the top or serve the additional caramel in a jug.



Carrot Cardamom Loaf Cake Recipe Cove Cake Design

Carrot Cardamom Loaf Cake Recipe with Burnt Honey Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot cardamom loaf cake slice

Carrot Cardamom Loaf Cake

I have always loved carrot cake (I even had it as one tier of our wedding cake!). I tend to nowadays veer towards flavours that are new and interesting but there are times when the classics are called for and comforting. With the global shutdown for coronavirus currently confining us to our homes and lending an air of anxiety to our daily lives, I decided to make a classic carrot loaf cake (with a twist of course!) for an Easter treat.

Carrot Cardamom Loaf Cake

The Recipe

The Carrot Cardamom Cake

The recipe is based on standard carrot loaves, using oil instead of butter and brown sugar for depth of flavour. I used half plain and half wholemeal flour, but all plain flour will work too. I also used a mix of dark soft brown sugar and caster sugar, but for this type of rustic cake I think it is fine to play fast and loose with whatever sugar you have (espeically given the current shopping restrictions too!).  Cinnamon and mixed spice are typical additions to carrot cake, but I chose to add some cardamom too for an extra layer of flavour.

The Burnt Honey Frosting

Burnt honey was something I came across in my browsing of recipes and was a bit of a revelation! If you have a really good honey perhaps with citrus flavour this would work beautifully. I only had a standard honey in my cupboard which is perfectly fine too. The bicarbonate of soda aids in the caramelisation of the honey. The recipe makes extra honey but use this can be kept and used in any recipe or situation you use honey. If you don’t want to make burnt honey a little plain honey or as an alternative some citrus zest would also work well in the icing.

Happy Baking!

Suzanne x


Carrot Cardamom Loaf Cake with Burnt Honey Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 150ml rapeseed oil (or other oil), plus extra for greasing
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 100g dark soft brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 300g grated carrot
  • 90g plain flour
  • 90g wholemeal flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground cardamom
  • 1tsp mixed spice

Ingredients for Burnt honey:

  • 120ml honey
  • 1/8 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 30mls water

For the Cream Cheese Icing :

  • 50g butter
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 180g tub cream cheese
  • 3-4 tbsp burnt honey plus extra for drizzling


  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 160°C/320F.  Grease a loaf tin with some oil and line with baking parchment.
  2. Place the grated carrot, rapeseed oil, eggs and sugars into a large bowl and whisk to combine. .
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the carrot mixture and stir well to combine.
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin.
  6. Bake for approx 60mins, until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.
  7. Leave the tin to cool for 10mins before turning out onto a wire wrack to cool completely.
  8. To make the burnt honey, heat the honey in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it starts to bubble and turn a darker brown colour. Reduce heat to low and gently add they tiny amount of bicarbonate soda. Be careful as it will bubbble. Stir using a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and add the water, stirring to combine. Set aside to cool.
  9. To make the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together in a stand mixer. Add the cream cheese and beat again. Finally add burnt honey to taste.
  10. Once the cake is cool, spread with the icing and drizzle extra honey over the top.
  11. As this cake has a cream cheese icing store in the fridge.