Morocco modern: Ras el hanout carrot cake with cream cheese frosting 

Among the first things I discovered when I moved to London was carrot cake. Somehow, I had never come across this massively delicious classic. I finally developed my own version – my perfect, never-fail carrot cake with a Moroccan twist. My friends can’t believe how simple it is to prepare and how good it tastes.



200g plain flour

1½ tsp baking powder

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1½ tsp ras el hanout seasoning (bought or see the book for homemade)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

200g caster sugar

180ml sunflower oil, plus extra for oiling

1 tbsp vanilla extract

4 large eggs

150g freshly grated carrots

60g walnuts, chopped


150g full-fat cream cheese

100g icing sugar

70g unsalted butter, softened

❤ Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 5. Oil a 20cm deep round cake tin, then line with baking paper.

❤ Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ras el hanout, cinammon and salt together in a large bowl. Place the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and eggs in a separate large bowl and stir together with a whisk or fork until well blended.

❤ Add the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture and stir just to combine – be careful not to overmix as this will make the cake too dense. Then add the grated carrots and walnuts and stir to combine.

❤ Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 35–40 minutes until the top is golden brown, the cake feels spongy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out dry.

❤ Meanwhile, make the frosting. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and use a hand-held electric whisk to slowly beat them together until smooth and fluffy. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

❤ Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer from the tin to a wire rack to finish cooling. Once your cake is completely cool, cover the top with the frosting and serve.