How to make hummingbird carrot cake, an traditional favourite with a twist

This delicious carrot cake recipe with a tropical twist comes from our kitchen garden cook Melanie Johnson.

This isn’t simply a carrot cake, it’s a deliciously tropical pineapple-and-coconut carrot cake that will brighten any afternoon tea.

Carrot hummingbird cake

Serves 8


For the sponge

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1tspn baking powder
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 2tspn ground cinnamon
  • 220ml vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten separately
  • 2tspn vanilla-bean paste
  • 300g grated carrots
  • 100g desiccated coconut (plus extra to decorate)
  • 125g chopped walnuts
  • 250g chopped pineapple
  • 100ml pineapple juice

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For the icing

  • 125g cream cheese
  • 50g unsalted butter (soft, but not greasy)
  • 300g icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 9in spring-form cake tin.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, beaten eggs and vanilla-bean paste. Mix well, then fold in the grated carrots, desiccated coconut, chopped walnuts, chopped pineapple and juice.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool the cake for 20 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Mix together the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar with electric beaters. Spread the icing over the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle over desiccated coconut.

More ways with carrots

hummingbird carrot cakeBuddha bowls with carrot-and-Parmesan hearts

Grate a large carrot into a bowl, add a splash of water, cover with cling-film and microwave for 2 minutes. Drain well and squeeze out any excess water. Add 2tbspn of plain flour, 1 beaten egg, 30g of grated cheddar and 30g of grated Parmesan and mix well. Spoon the mixture into heart-shaped biscuit cutters on a silicone mat and sprinkle over a little more grated Parmesan. Bake in a moderately hot oven for 15 minutes or until lightly brown. To create your Buddha bowl, assemble fresh salad ingredients, hummus, avocado and grains, then top with a carrot-and-cheese heart.

Honey and lemon-thyme roasted carrots

Combine in a bowl 75ml of olive oil, 30ml of runny honey, a squeeze of lemon juice, seasoning and 8 lemon-thyme sprigs. Toss whole baby carrots in the mixture then roast in a moderately hot oven for about 25–30 minutes. Serve alongside roasted meats.

Carrot, apple and sultana salad with orange-reduction dressing

Using a mandolin, julienne 6 large carrots and a crisp green apple into a bowl. Add 100g of chopped walnuts. Slowly heat 200ml of orange juice in a saucepan until it has reduced by half. Stir in 1tspn of honey, 100ml of olive oil and seasoning. Add 70g of sultanas and leave to swell for 5 minutes. Pour the dressing and sultanas over the salad, mix well and serve.