traybakes & more

retro recipes for the modern baker

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I like to keep things as simple as possible here on ‘traybakes & more’. So, this Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting fits the bill! You don’t need a mixer, you only need one bowl. OK, so you need a bowl for the frosting as well, but you only need one bowl at a time. Just beat everything together, pour it into your tin and bake. No fancy tin needed – I even used my regular traybake tin for this. Which bakes faster, so you get cake sooner. It’s a win-win situation really.

And it’s delicious (of course). Really light and moist, with a hint of spice and crunch from the walnuts. It’s not the sweetest cake you’ll make, but the cream cheese frosting really helps to balance the flavors. This disappeared very quickly in our house. And Little Miss Traybakes even ate the walnuts! She’s not usually a fan, but apparently walnuts dipped in cream cheese frosting are a big improvement.

If you’re not a fan of walnuts and don’t even want to risk trying them with the cream cheese frosting, then you can either leave them out, or you could add raisins to the mix instead.

I don’t have a lot of baking advice for you for this Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. I will say to make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature before you make the frosting. If it’s still on the cold side, it may go a little lumpy on you. You should be able to fix this (if it does happen) by zapping the frosting in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time and then beating well. Just don’t overdo it in the microwave!



6 fl oz/175 ml vegetable oil (like corn or sunflower oil)

6oz/175g dark brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

8oz/225g carrots, grated

4oz/110g walnuts, chopped

6oz/175g plain flour/all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda

0.5 tsp grated nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp salt


6oz/175g cream cheese, at room temperature

4oz/110g butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

8oz/225g icing sugar/powdered sugar

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/175C and line an 8 inch/20cm square tin with baking parchment.
  2. Place the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the grated carrot and walnut and stir to incorporate.
  4. Sift the flour with salt, spices, baking powder and baking soda and then mix into the wet ingredients.
  5. Pour into your prepared tin and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then lift out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Then sift in the icing sugar and beat well until you have a smooth, creamy frosting.
  8. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and sprinkle with walnuts. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Mini Egg Blondies

These Mini Egg Blondies are essentially just my Butterscotch Squares recipe with Mini Eggs instead of nuts. I wanted to bake something for Easter and as everyone loves Mini Eggs, or at least everyone in the Traybakes’ household, this seemed the perfect modification. I’ve added Mini Eggs to my Toffee Rice Krispie Treats recipe in the past, and that has worked well, and is a great recipe if you want to really see the Mini Eggs in your bake. With these Mini Egg Blondies, they do tend to lose their color as they bake. But you are still left with large chunks of chocolate studded throughout each slice.

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Viennese Fingers

Viennese Fingers. Or you can pipe them in swirls and call them Viennese Whirls. Either way, this is a delicate, buttery, vanilla-scented shortbread biscuit. I chose to dip mine in chocolate, but you can also sandwich these together with buttercream. Or jam. Or jam and buttercream.

It’s taken me a while to get this recipe to work because, so many times before, I got a great tasting biscuit, but it just would not hold its shape when baked. Finally, I got it to work and these Viennese Fingers don’t (shouldn’t!) spread when in the oven and taste great too.

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Mars Bar Krispie Caramel Squares

Mars Bar Buns are great but have you tried adding caramel to make Mars Bar Krispie Caramel Squares? Because everything is better with caramel. Or is that sprinkles? Anyway, this no-bake traybake takes a regular Mars Bar Traybake and adds a layer of caramel between the Rice Krispie layer and the chocolate topping, which ends up making it taste more like a Mars Bar. Everyone’s a winner!

Or more like a Milky Way, if like me, you’re in the US. Yes, almost 14 years living in the US and it still feels strange to be using a Milky Way bar when I need a Mars Bar for these Mars Bar Rice Krispie Caramel Squares.

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Marshmallow Crunch Traybake

Sometimes I wonder if many of these traybakes are just people taking the main ingredients in Fifteens and using them just a little bit differently, like in this Marshmallow Crunch Traybake. You have digestive biscuits, coconut, cherries and marshmallows, plus a few other standard baking ingredients.

Now, although this is called Marshmallow Crunch, it’s not actually all that crunchy. The base is a little crisp and the topping is sticky and gooey. Maybe, if you use a different sort of toffee it might come out a little crunchier, but whatever the case, it’s sticky and gooey and crisp and delicious! And not dissimilar to my Marshmallow Fudge Traybake, which is more caramel with a bit of marshmallow, rather than marshmallow with a bit of caramel – see, there are a lot of similar themes running through these recipes!

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Brandy Alexander Traybake

This Brandy Alexander Traybake is one for the grown-ups. I don’t have a lot of recipes with alcohol in them – my Iced Christmas Pudding perhaps being the only other one, so far – but now that I think about it, cocktail based traybakes could be the next big thing! But for now, this Brandy Alexander Traybake will be the beginning.

It’s a simple shortbread base with a very creamy, slightly boozy topping, flavored with brandy and chocolate liqueur. The topping sets well enough that the slices hold their shape, but it’s still soft and not at all rubbery! And the crumbled Flake bar on top is suitably retro. I was able to get hold of a couple of Flakes at my local Indian grocery store which saved a longer trip to the British/Irish import store, but if you can’t get one, then some chocolate shavings would work just as well.

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Almond Shortbread

I was making this Almond Shortbread and realized that I don’t have a regular shortbread recipe on the blog. I have a Brown Sugar Shortbread recipe and lots of traybakes with a shortbread base, but I have no idea how I have got this far without something as simple as plain shortbread. I will rectify that soon, but for today, it’s all about the Almond Shortbread.

The almonds in this come from the addition of ground almonds. I mean, if you want, you could add a drop or two of almond extract to amplify the almond taste, but it works like this. There’s a subtle almond taste and the coarser texture of the almonds adds a little more interest to the shortbread.

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Date and Ginger Slab

Date and Ginger Slab. It’s a dark, sticky, sweet, cake-like traybake. A little like a gingerbread but not as heavily spiced. And very dark and sticky from all the treacle. I have a recipe for Ginger Cake on the blog already and multiple recipes for traybakes with dates and traybakes with ginger and even some traybakes with dates and ginger like these Date and Ginger Crunchies, so this Date and Ginger Slab is in good company!

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Traditional Potato Farls

These traditional potato farls are remarkably versatile. While they truly shine at breakfast as part of an Ulster Fry (which is difficult to recreate here in the US, but I do try!), they also make a great snack with butter. And Little Miss Traybakes was spotted slathering a very thick layer of raspberry jam on a few of these and then devouring them! If you wanted to be fancy about it, you could cut these into smaller squares, spread with cream cheese and top with smoked salmon and a squeeze of lemon. So, really quite versatile and similar to Soda Farls, another great breakfast/snack/’slathered with jam’ staple.

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