Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy ...
150 ml (5fl oz) sunflower or vegetable oil
200 g (7oz) soft light brown sugar
300 g (11oz) peeled and grated carrots (weight when grated)
75 g (3oz) pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
175 g (6oz) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
pinch of salt
for the icing
100 g (31/2 oz) cream cheese
finely grated zest of 1 orange
200 g (7oz) icing sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2), and line the base and sides of the loaf tin (900g/2lb) with baking parchment, with the paper coming above the sides of the tin to enable the cake to be lifted out easily.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl to break them up, then whisk in the oil, sugar, grated carrots and chopped nuts.
Sift in the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture together using a wooden or large metal spoon.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, smoothing the surface with a palette knife, and bake in the oven for between 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then carefully lift the cake out of the tin with the lining paper. Peel away the baking parchment and place on a wire rack to cool down fully before you ice it.
While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Beat all the ingredients together, then use a palette knife to spread evenly over the cake.