Sweet, Snacks

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cardamom-Poached Carrots

At first glance, this dish looks a little like it's topped with smoked salmon! But fear not – it's actually delicious ribbons of carrot, lightly poached with cardamom. Otherwise, I haven‘t deviated from the classic recipe, as it's my view that is something ain't broke, don't fix it – and that includes delicious, moist carrot cake.

I've included some walnuts as usual, but also added some pumpkin seeds – I love them, plus they're so good for you, and they add some wonderful texture to the cake. I also like to use spelt flour for extra flavour. In this instance, I've used sprouted, but you could use light spelt or a 50/50 blend.

I tend to vary the frosting when I make this dish, from cashew cream to cream cheese, but here, I've used cashew cream.

The carrot ribbons are a new addition, but I've found they add a lovely texture and freshness to the finished cake – plus I just love cardamom! But of course, feel free to simply sprinkle the top with extra walnuts or seeds instead.



For the cashew-cream frosting

1½ cups cashew nuts, soaked for 30 mins in boiling water, or overnight

Juice of half a lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

Good pinch of salt

Scant ⅛-¼ cup maple syrup

Scant ⅛-¼ cup almond milk

For the poached carrot

2 medium carrots, ribboned using a peeler

2 cups water

1 cup caster sugar

6 cardamom pods, bashed open

Wet ingredients

1 cup oat, almond or other plant-based milk

½ cup light oil, such as groundnut or coconut

1 tbsp apple-cider vinegar or lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients

2 cups spelt flour – I used sprouted

1 cup soft brown or coconut sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g roughly chopped walnuts

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

½ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1½ tsp ground cinnamon

280g grated carrot


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4, and grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. First, make your cashew-cream frosting. Place the soaked cashew nuts in a high-powered blender with the lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Add ⅛ cup of the maple syrup, and ⅛ cup of the milk.
  3. Blitz until smooth and creamy, then taste and check for thickness. If it needs to be more sweet, add a little more maple syrup, and if it's a little thick, add more milk.
  4. Blend again until combined and smooth, decant into a bowl, and refrigerate until ready.
  5. Next, prepare your poached carrot. Add the carrot ribbons, water, sugar and cardamom pods to a small saucepan.
  6. Bring to the boil, and reduce to a simmer for a couple of mins. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  7. Combine the wet ingredients in one bowl, and the dry ingredients, apart from the carrot, in another.

  8. Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and fold together until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Add the carrot and fold again until just incorporated.

  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and place in the preheated oven for 40 mins.
  10. Check the cake with a skewer to make sure it's cooked through – it should come out clean. If not, give it another 5 mins and check again, repeating as needed.
  11. Once it's fully cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely before turning it out of the tin and onto a serving plate.
  12. Slather the top with your chilled cashew-cream frosting, then drain the carrots and pile them on top.
  13. If you have extra frosting and carrot ribbons, you can serve them alongside your cake.

Work with me.

Work with me.

Whether you’re looking for inspiring recipes, food photography, or professional styling, I’m open to hearing about your project. Find about more about working with me, or if you’d like to get in touch I’d love to hear from you.

Mailing list sign-up

Are you feeling passionate about plant-based food? Sign up to the NOURISH newsletter today, and get exclusive access to inspiring recipes, product news, and plant-based tips, delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing!