retro recipes for the modern baker

Tag: easy (Page 1 of 6)

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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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 Orange Bread

Is it a bread? Is it a cake? Either way, this simple Date and Orange Bread is soft, crumbly and sweet. This time it doesn’t come from one of my many retro recipe books, it’s from a small newspaper clipping (although I can’t remember which newspaper) submitted by my childhood next-door neighbor.

It’s a straightforward method, just rub butter into the flour and then mix in the remaining ingredients and bake. The smell coming from this bread when I took it out of the oven took me back a year or two. And judging by the response from Mr Traybake and Little Miss Traybakes, I will have to make this more often! Date and Orange Bread is best eaten fresh from the oven while still warm (it does dry out a little after a day or two) but it’s also good with a smear of butter.

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Homemade Custard Creams

Why would you want to make Custard Creams at home, I hear you ask? Well, not all of live somewhere you can buy them easily at the grocery store and also, it turns out that they are very easy to make and really tasty.

It’s a shortbread recipe with added custard powder and buttercream filling. And as custard powder is essentially flavored cornflour, it helps give the cookies a nice snap and light texture.

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Brown Sugar Shortbread

I typically make shortbread with white sugar, but in the midst of our time at home, I have thrown caution to the wind and went with this recipe for Brown Sugar Shortbread.

And, it turns out, brown sugar adds a treacle-y, molasses-y flavor to the shortbread that works well.

Such a simple recipe – just flour, butter and sugar. Brown, obviously.

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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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Wheaten Bread

My Wheaten Bead recipe has evolved over the years. There was a time when I couldn’t get coarse wholemeal flour and I had to improvise by adding wheat bran. There have been times when I’ve wanted to bake and discover I have no buttermilk in the house, so I’ve used yogurt or milk+lemon juice. And after moving to the US, I started to add maple syrup and molasses to my recipe to get a darker, denser loaf. So what it has become today, is some sort of Ulster-American Wheaten Bread.

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