Carrot cake with dates and pecans (photograph by Tasha Seccombe)

Somehow I always feel a bit less guilty when indulging in carrot cake instead of chocolate cake, or any other cake for that matter. The carrots, raisins, dates and pecan nuts surely are very good for my health, I’d tell myself. And also, cream cheese icing must be full of calcium and general “dairy goodness”. Well, I suppose the happiness that a slice of carrot cake brings, far exceeds the kilojoules. 😉

So here is my recipe for a delicious, chunky, nutty, moist carrot cake, filled with the fruity goodness of raisins and dates. I top it with a rich cream cheese icing – almost the same that I use for my lemon and poppy seed cake – so versatile and utterly scrumptious.

This cake is even better on the second and third day, as it absorbs some of the wetness of the icing over time. Serve on it’s own, or with a dollop of freshly whipped cream (my Mother’s indulgent way).


  • 4 eggs
  • 375 ml (315 g) caster sugar
  • 250 ml vegetable oil
  • 500 ml (280 g) cake flour
  • 10 ml (2 t) baking powder
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 t) salt
  • 5 ml (1 t) fine cinnamon
  • 5 ml (1 t) fine ginger
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 t) fine nutmeg
  • 2,5 ml baking soda
  • 750 ml (375) grated carrot
  • 125 ml seedless raisins
  • 50 g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
  • 125 ml finely chopped dried dates  (about 10-12 dried dates)

Ingredients for cream cheese icing:

  • 230 g cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 100 g butter (at room temperature)
  • 500 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 50 g pecan nuts, chopped (to garnish on top)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add oil and mix well.
  4. Sift dry ingredients together, then fold into wet mixture with a metal spoon.
  5. Now fold in raisins, dates, pecans and carrots.
  6. Pour batter into 2 x 20 cm lined cake tins, then bake for 35-40 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven, then let it stand in the tins for about 15 minutes before turning out. Cool completely before icing.
  8. For icing: beat cream cheese and butter together until very light and creamy – about 10 minutes. Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat for a further 2 minutes until smooth and lump free. Spread on first layer, top with second layer, then ice the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with chopped pecan nuts.


This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

Share this:


  1. Do yourself a favour, leave the vanilla essence out of the icing and add a teaspoon (maybe two – that seems like a huge amount of icing!) of grated lemon rind instead. Heaven. (My recipe is 30g butter, softened; 80g cream cheese, softened; 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind.)
    1½ cups icing sugar

    1. Hi Fi, that sounds heavenly! Will certainly try that! 🙂

  2. What a lovely cake! I agree, carrot cake DOES seem a little healthier… or at least I’d like to think so. 🙂

    1. I’d like to think so too! Carrot cake for breakfast, carrot cake for lunch, carrot cake for dinner… 🙂

Comments are closed.

You may also like...