Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake Recipe

Last updated on March 7, 2024

Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 50 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 10 Mins

Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake is a delicious and easy dessert, featuring a moist and tender carrot cake topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. It’s perfect for feeding a crowd, as it can be cut into slices and served from the tray. It’s also great for picnics, parties, or afternoon tea.

In this article, I will show you how to make Mary Berry’s Carrot Cake Tray Bake step by step, with tips and tricks along the way.

What is Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake Recipe?

Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake is a delightful adaptation of the traditional carrot cake, baked in a tray for ease and convenience. It blends the moist, spiced flavor of classic carrot cake with the added texture of nuts and raisins, all topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. This recipe showcases Mary Berry’s signature approach to baking, emphasizing simplicity, flavor, and foolproof techniques. It’s an ideal dessert for gatherings, offering the perfect balance of sweetness and spice in a format that’s simple to serve and enjoy.

This recipe serves 12-16 people and can be prepared in approximately 1 hour.

_Carrot Cake Tray Bake Recipe Mary Berry

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

There are many reasons to love this recipe, such as:

  • Simplicity: Requiring basic kitchen tools, this recipe is straightforward, making it accessible to bakers of all levels.
  • Customizable: Tailor the recipe to your taste by adjusting nut and raisin varieties or experimenting with spices for a personalized touch.
  • Delicious: The cake promises a moist and tender crumb, enriched with natural sweetness from carrots and a hint of citrus from orange zest.
  • Versatile: Suitable for various occasions, from casual picnics to formal afternoon teas, and easily serves a crowd.

Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake

To make Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake, you will need the following ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 250 g (9 oz) self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150 g (5 oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 50 g (2 oz) chopped walnuts
  • 100 g (4 oz) raisins
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 250 g (9 oz) carrots, peeled and grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For the frosting:

  • 50 g (2 oz) butter, softened
  • 250 g (9 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 150 g (5 oz) icing sugar, sifted
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions to Make Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake

To make this recipe, follow these steps:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the tray

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan, gas mark 4).
  • Grease a 30 x 23 cm (12 x 9 in) tray or tin and line it with baking parchment.

Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients

  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
  • Add the sugar, walnuts, raisins, and orange zest and stir well to combine.
  • Make a well in the center of the mixture.

Step 3: Mix the wet ingredients

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil until well blended.
  • Add the grated carrots and stir well to coat them with the liquid.

Step 4: Combine the wet and dry ingredients

  • Pour the wet mixture into the well of the dry mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not overmix, as this will make the cake tough.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared tray or tin and spread it evenly with a spatula.

Step 5: Bake the cake

  • Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch.
  • A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean, with no wet crumbs attached.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool slightly in the tray or tin, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 6: Make the frosting

  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the cream cheese and beat until well combined.
  • Gradually add the icing sugar and lemon juice and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Step 7: Frost the cake

  • When the cake is completely cool, spread the frosting over the top with a spatula or a palette knife.
  • Cut into slices and enjoy!

Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake

What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake?

Some of the options to serve with this cake are:

  • Tea or Coffee: The cake pairs wonderfully with hot beverages, making it a splendid choice for afternoon tea or coffee breaks.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream: A scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside the cake offers a delightful contrast in temperatures and textures.
  • Whipped Cream: For an extra touch of indulgence, serve with a dollop of whipped cream, enhancing the cake’s flavors and adding a luxurious element.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake

Here are some tips and tricks to make this recipe even better:

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: The quality of ingredients, especially the carrots and cream cheese, significantly affects the cake’s flavor and texture.
  • Finely Grate the Carrots: This ensures even distribution throughout the cake, contributing to its moistness.
  • Avoid Overmixing: To keep the cake light and tender, mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined.
  • Bake Until Just Done: Overbaking can dry out the cake. Start checking for doneness a few minutes before the recipe suggests, looking for a springy touch and a skewer that comes out clean.
  • Cool Completely Before Frosting: This prevents the frosting from melting and ensures it spreads smoothly for a professional finish.

Variations of Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake

You can also try these variations of this recipe, to make it more interesting and fun:

  • Pineapple Twist: Add crushed, well-drained pineapple to the batter for a moist cake with a tangy flavor profile.
  • Nut-Free Version: Omit the walnuts for those with nut allergies, or substitute with seeds like pumpkin or sunflower for added texture.
  • Spice It Up: Incorporate additional spices such as ginger or cloves to elevate the warming spice flavors.
  • Vegan Adaptation: Use flax eggs, vegan cream cheese, and butter substitutes to cater to vegan dietary preferences.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Substitute the self-raising flour with a gluten-free flour blend and ensure baking powder is gluten-free.

How do I Store Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake Leftovers?

In the Refrigerator

  • Cool Completely: Ensure the cake is entirely cool to avoid condensation in the storage container.
  • Airtight Container: Store in an airtight container to maintain freshness and prevent the cake from absorbing fridge odors.
  • Layer Wisely: If stacking slices, use parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking.
  • Duration: Properly stored, the cake will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Freezing for Longer Storage

  • Wrap Tightly: Wrap individual slices or the entire cake tightly in plastic wrap, then again in foil to protect against freezer burn.
  • Freeze: Place the wrapped cake in the freezer, ensuring it’s flat to maintain its shape.
  • Duration: Can be frozen for up to 3 months.

How do I Reheat Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake Leftovers?

Oven Method

  • Preheat Oven: Warm the oven to 160°C (320°F) or 140°C (284°F) for fan ovens.
  • Prepare the Cake: If the cake is frozen, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Wrap the cake or slices in aluminum foil to prevent drying out.
  • Heat: Place the wrapped cake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until warm throughout.

Microwave Method

  • Single Slices: For a quick warm-up, microwave a single slice on a microwave-safe plate for 10-15 seconds on high. Check and heat in additional 5-second bursts if needed.
  • Caution: Be careful not to overheat, as the frosting can melt and the cake can become too soft.

Nutrition value:

The nutrition value per 115 g slice of this cake is as follows:

  • Energy: 423 kcal
  • Fat: 25 g (of which saturates 5 g)
  • Carbohydrates: 38 g (of which sugars 22 g)
  • Protein: 8.5 g
  • Salt: 0.56 g


Can I Make Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can prepare Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake in advance, making it a convenient option for events or gatherings. Bake the cake as directed and allow it to cool completely. If you’re making it a day ahead, keep it in an airtight container at room temperature. For longer storage, wrap the cake well and refrigerate or freeze it without the frosting. Apply the cream cheese frosting on the day you plan to serve it to ensure the best texture and taste.

How Can I Ensure My Carrot Cake Tray Bake Stays Moist?

To keep your carrot cake tray bake moist, follow these tips:

  • Use fresh carrots, as they provide natural moisture to the cake.
  • Do not overbake; check the cake a few minutes before the recommended baking time ends.
  • Store the cake properly by covering it with a layer of cling film and then aluminum foil if keeping it in the refrigerator, which helps to lock in moisture.
  • Apply the cream cheese frosting while the cake is cool but not cold, as it acts as a seal to keep moisture within the cake.

Can I Substitute Oil with Butter in the Recipe?

While the original recipe calls for sunflower oil, you can substitute butter for a richer flavor. To do so, use the same volume (200 ml) of melted butter as you would oil. Remember that butter will introduce a denser texture and a slightly different moisture content to the cake, so the end result may be a bit richer and less light compared to using oil.

What Are the Best Ways to Serve Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake?

Mary Berry Carrot Cake Tray Bake can be served in various delightful ways:

  • As a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side for added creaminess.
  • With a hot beverage, such as tea or coffee, making it perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
  • For a special touch, garnish with chopped nuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon, or orange zest to enhance the cake’s flavors before serving.

Why Do You Use Oil Instead of Butter in Carrot Cake?

Oil is preferred over butter in carrot cake recipes for several reasons. Firstly, oil provides a superior moistness to the cake, ensuring that it remains tender and moist for days. Unlike butter, which solidifies at cooler temperatures, oil keeps the cake soft even when refrigerated. Additionally, oil blends more easily into the batter, creating an even texture throughout the cake. This moisture retention is crucial for carrot cake, which is celebrated for its dense, moist crumb.

Why Does My Homemade Carrot Cake Fall in the Middle?

A carrot cake may fall in the middle for a few reasons. Overmixing the batter can introduce too much air, leading to a rise in the oven that collapses when cooling. Insufficient leavening, from expired baking powder or soda, may not provide enough lift, causing the center to sink. Opening the oven door too early can let in cold air, affecting the cake’s structure. Finally, too much moisture from ingredients like carrots or pineapple can make the batter too wet, leading to a dense center that doesn’t fully set.

What Makes a Cake More Moist, Oil or Butter?

Oil generally makes a cake more moist than butter. This is because oil remains liquid at room temperature, contributing to a softer, more tender texture in the finished cake. Butter, which solidifies at cooler temperatures, can make a cake firm up in the fridge. Furthermore, oil is distributed more uniformly through the batter, ensuring each bite is equally moist. For cakes intended to stay moist for several days, such as carrot cake, oil is often the preferred fat for its ability to keep the crumb exceptionally tender.

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned how to make Mary Berry’s Carrot Cake Tray Bake. This is a simple, versatile, and delicious recipe that you can make for any occasion. It’s moist, tender, and full of flavor, thanks to the carrots, orange zest, spices, nuts, and raisins. It’s also topped with a creamy, smooth, and tangy cream cheese frosting, that makes it irresistible.

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you and help you with your baking journey.

Thank you for reading and happy baking!

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