Carrot cake tray bake Recipe

This is a really easy tray-bake way of making carrot cake. Putting a marzipan carrot on each little cube makes them look extra-sweet. This recipe serves 15 people and will take around 1hr and 15 mins to make. Once you've perfected this tray bake you'll want to make it time and time again. This delicious cake can be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 2 days.

Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins (-1 h)
Total time: 1 hr 15 mins (plus cooling time)
Skill level: Easy peasy
Costs: Mid-price

For the cake:

  • 175g (6oz) butter, softened
  • 175g (6oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 250g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 100g packet walnuts, chopped
  • 350g (12oz) carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

For the topping:

  • 300g carton cream cheese
  • 2tbsp icing sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 15 marzipan carrots 
  • 26 x 16.5cm (10¼ in x 6½ in) tray-bake tin, lined with baking parchment

Top tip: The cake, without topping, can be wrapped in a freezer bag and frozen for up to one month. Defrost overnight before serving.


  1. To make the cake, place all the ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth. Spoon into the lined cake tin and level the surface.
  2. Bake in centre of a preheated oven at 160°C (320°F, gas mark 3) for 45 mins to 1 hr, or until risen and a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into cake. Remove from oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 mins, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. To make the topping, beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon zest. Spread over the top of the cake.
  4. Cut the cake into 15 squares and decorate each with a marzipan carrot. The cake will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to three days.