Great British Bake Off star Maggie's gluten free Easter carrot cake recipe

Round cake covered in pale green icing decorated with white rabbits and orange carrots

Easter carrot cake decorated with pale green sugar paste and decorated with white rabbits and 11 carrots to represent the 11 apostles - an alternative to simnel cake - Credit:

Maggie Richardson, aka Maggie the Seaside Baker, The Great British Bake Off's first ever Dorset contestant, shares her recipe for a gluten free Easter inspired carrot cake. So let's join GBBO's Maggie in her Poole kitchen and get baking  

If fruit cake isn’t your thing, then this carrot cake is a brilliant alternative, it also works really well as a gluten free cake – I have given the alternative ingredients for the gluten free option at the end of the cake ingredients section. The carrot cake, without its decorations, freezes well for up to a month. Defrost and then decorate with the cream cheese frosting and sugar paste.     


175g dark brown sugar 

175mls sunflower oil) 

3 large eggs (approx. weight 150 grams) 

140g grated carrot 

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100g dried fruit – I use a mix of 75g raisins and 25g sultanas 

zest of a large orange 

175 g self raising flour 

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 

1.5 teaspoons mixed spice 

Making it gluten free: Gluten free cakes tend to be a bit heavier and drier, so I have increased the carrot and dried fruit content of this cake. Increase the grated carrot to 175g and the dried fruit to 125g and of course use gluten free flour. 

For the cream cheese frosting 

75g unsalted butter softened 

75g icing sugar 

150g cream cheese 

tablespoon of orange juice – optional 

To decorate 

sugar paste, food colouring and Easter cutters 


1 Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan / gas mark 4. Line an 18cm cake tin with parchment or a preformed cake liner 

2 Mix the sugar, oil and eggs until well combined. Stir in the carrots, dried fruit and orange zest 

3 Sieve the flour and spices and bicarbonate of soda together and add to the mixture making sure that they are well mixed 

4 Pour into the tin and cook for 40/45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.  

5 Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out onto a cooling tray and allow to cool completely before decorating. 

6 Although this cake doesn’t actually need any decoration, it’s such fun to do especially with younger bakers. Make the cream cheese frosting by beating the butter and icing sugar together until smooth, then add the cream cheese and orange juice. I then mixed in a few drops of green food colouring, but this is optional.   

Round cake covered in pale green icing decorated with white rabbits and orange carrots

Easter carrot cake with its topping of 11 carrots to represent the 11 apostles - Credit:

7 Cover the cake in a thin layer of frosting, pop into the fridge to chill and then do a second layer. I then covered the top with a layer of ready-made sugar paste, coloured pale green, and wrapped a collar of sugar paste around the cake. I cut out some sugar paste rabbits with a cutter, for the side of the cake and made 11 carrots (to represent the 11 apostles) to go on the top of the cake as well as some simple flowers with an orange-coloured sugar paste, then I piped the words Happy Easter. It doesn’t need to be perfect – it’s a fun cake! Or simply go with the cream cheese frosting – and decorate with some mini-Easter eggs.  

Follow Maggie on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Read her monthly column Maggie The Seaside Baker in Dorset magazine 

Maggie the Seaside Baker and Dorset GBBO contestant with Simnel cake

Maggie Richardson aka Maggie the Seaside Baker with her homemade Simnel cake - Credit:

Click here for Maggie's Simnel Cake recipe 

Click here for Maggie's Dorset Apple Cake recipe