retro recipes for the modern baker

Category: Cake

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!

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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Paris Buns

Paris Buns. It’s not a cake. It’s not a scone. It’s something in-between. Best eaten fresh from the oven with a cup of tea. I’d also recommend eating these on the day they are made as they don’t keep that well, but I didn’t find that to be a problem in our house.

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Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake

Straying from my no-bake traybake territory this week with an easy Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake. This cake is soft and moist in the center, filled with walnuts and smothered with a coffee flavored buttercream.

If you can get hold of Camp Coffee Essence, then you can use that to flavor your cake. If you can’t, then dissolve 1 tbsp of instant coffee in 1 tbsp of warm water and use that instead. Or, if you prefer a stronger coffee taste, you can use 2 tbsp coffee to 1 tbsp water.

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Queen Cakes

Queen Cakes are a simple, straightforward bake, essentially a fairy cake/wee bun with raisins. If you don’t have raisins, then any dried fruit will do. Or even chocolate chips, which was the addition of choice for Little Miss Traybakes.

Now, as you can see from the photographs, my bun cases are a little larger than I needed for these Queen Cakes. I guess they are US cupcake sized. The recipe makes 12 traditional sized cakes and my bun cases were about half-full before they went into the oven. You probably want to aim for three-quarters full if you have larger cases and want the buns to fill them completely. But, hey, no one complained in our house!

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Yogurt Cake

I have fond memories of making this Yogurt Cake as a child. In fact, the old recipe I found for this in the kitchen cabinet at Mummy Traybakes’ house was handwritten (very carefully) in my writing. It’s a great cake to bake with children and they can easily help with the measuring and mixing.

I used to make this in a 2lb loaf tin and tried that again with Little Miss Traybakes when we made it together. Now, either my loaf tin is smaller than the one I used to use, or yogurt pots have grown. Personally, I think that the yogurts in my fridge are probably larger than what we had when I was younger, so I decided to remake the cake in a round 8″ cake tin and that worked perfectly. If your yogurt pot is on the smaller size (4oz or thereabouts) then the loaf tin will work. For anything larger, like the 5.3oz/150g pots we had in our fridge, then a larger tin is the way forward.

You can use plain yogurt or flavored yogurt, it really doesn’t matter. And some of those ‘fruit on the bottom’ yogurts will add a nice bit of interest to the finished cake. However, I’m quite partial to a plain yogurt cake. It has a subtle tang, moist texture and it keeps really well.

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Ginger Cake

The festive season is well and truly upon us here at Traybakes HQ. The tree is up and covered in an array of ornaments, bought and homemade, and there are even a few presents underneath (Little Miss Traybakes has been very well behaved and isn’t shaking hers too much!). We’ve had our first snowfall and first sledding expedition. We’re introducing more Americans to the wonders of a good homemade mince pie and while we’re waiting for the Christmas cake to be iced, we’ve been enjoying this rich, spiced Ginger Cake.

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Lemon Butter Cake

This is a very easy cake to bake.  It’s tangy and moist and you can throw it together very quickly.  Not literally.  Don’t throw cakes.  It’s a waste of cake.

This was a recipe in one of my ‘retro’ Northern Irish traybake books.  Yes, I know, it’s not a traybake, but reading through the books, I spotted this and thought it looked interesting.

It pretty much is a Lemon Drizzle Cake and requires you to do very little work.  You melt some butter and mix it with sugar, eggs and flour.  It’s that simple!  Then, when cooked, you top it with lemon juice and sugar.

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