Easy Carrot Cake Traybake Signature Challenge

After a month-long journey through Biscuit Week, December marks the start of Cake Week! This week I’m covering the signature challenge, which was to create 16 identical slices from a traybake for Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.

I decided to make my easy carrot cake traybake because earlier in the week I made roast vegetables and had an extra carrot laying around. I also had tons of ginger from when I made my iced gingerbread biscuits. But, since I only had one carrot, I halved the recipe you’ll see below. The cream cheese frosting, however, will cover the full recipe just fine as it’s only the height of the cake that’s affected not the surface area.

9 x 9-inch carrot cake traybake
This 9 x 9-inch carrot cake traybake is topped with Swiss meringue cream cheese frosting and dusted with cinnamon.

Carrot Cake Traybake Recipe

  • 2 large carrots
  • 50g sliced almonds
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 125g all purpose flour
  • 120ml canola oil (or corn or vegetable)


  • Do not check on the doneness of the cake until it’s been in the oven for at least half the cooking time. Opening the oven early could cause your cake to collapse in the middle.
  • This is a very moist cake. Do not skip adding the parchment paper at the bottom of the pan. Your cake may stick otherwise when you flip it over on a plate.
  • If you are halving the recipe, remember to halve the cooking time as well. Using half the amount, the cake should be finished at the 20-minute mark.
  • If you are going to ice this carrot cake with my Swiss meringue cream cheese frosting, take out the butter and cream cheese before you start preparing the cake. They should be left out in room temperature for about an hour.


  1. Preheat oven 350 deg F. Spray 9 x 9 metal tin with cooking spray and dust with flour. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Peel carrots and chop to large chunks. Peel ginger root and mince.
  3. Combine carrots, ginger and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until finely minced. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and pulse together for about 30 seconds.
  4. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir together. Add to the food processor. Drizzle in the oil as you pulse the mixture. You should have a loose batter at the end.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking tray and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. You can start checking the cake for doneness at the 30/35-minute mark.
  6. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then flip over on your serving plate. Remove parchment paper.

Carrot cake removed from the ovenTo balance out the sweetness of the carrot cake traybake, I decided to make a less sweet version of my usual cream cheese frosting made with icing sugar. I also had an extra egg white laying around from pasta dough I made earlier so win-win on using up all my ingredients! So, whilst the cake is cooling, prepare the icing.

Swiss Meringue Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 egg white
  • 50g sugar
  • 5 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Using a double boiler, whisk the sugar and egg whites together until the sugar is dissolved and mixture no longer feels grainy when rubbed between your fingers. (If you don’t want an arm workout, use a hand mixer with only one beater and set on 1 or low.) Remove from heat once dissolved.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, whisk the egg and sugar mixture until it becomes glossy and forms soft peaks. The bowl should also be cool to the touch.
  3. Start adding the butter 1 tbsp at a time and chopped into cubes. Allow the butter to be incorporated before adding the next tablespoon.
  4. Add the vanilla once the butter is all combined. Beat to combine.
  5. Add in the cream cheese about an ounce at a time until combine. Beat until smooth.

Dollop the frosting onto the cooled cake and spread with a silicon spatula or palette knife. Dust with cinnamon to finish off. Cut three, even vertical lines going across and three, even horizontal lines going top-to-bottom or vice versa, and you’ll have 16 even slices to satisfy Paul and Prue’s eagle eyes!

Sliced carrot cake tray bakeSlice of frosted carrot cake with fresh blueberries

img_27301Do you want a festive sweet bread recipe just in time for the holidays?

Sign up for the But First, Dessert email list and get access to an apricot and almond couronne recipe — a traditional French Christmas bread (pictured right).

Author: Jorina Fontelera

I love eating carbs, feeding people and watching the Great British Bake Off (aka in the US, the Great British Baking Show). I'll be chronicling my attempts at all the challenges per GBBO season.

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