Indian Carrot Cake

by | Sep 7, 2012 | 29 comments

A robust carrot cake for afternoon tea, inspired by the famous Indian dessert Gajar Ka Halwa (Sweet Carrot Pudding). My Indian Carrot Cake is baked with macadamia oil, lots of spices, sultanas and toasted pecans. A delightful cake that tastes even better the next day after the spices have developed in flavour.

Indian Carrot Cake - Cook Republic Indian Carrot Cake - Cook Republic

2012 / Death Of A Beloved Oven

A few weeks ago my oven caught on fire, literally. Gone, departed, finished! I turned the switch off to stop the sparking and flames. I felt nothing. That night I ordered a replacement to fill the hole in my rather primitive kitchen - same model, nothing fancy. I felt nothing. The next day I started getting grumpy. I chalked it off to withdrawal from baking and cooking. After all, it had been 24 hours and I hadn't done either. The day after that my chest started hurting and I was a tiny bit alarmed. I was alone at home and not getting any younger. Minor heart attack? Nahh, I thought as I went back to the kitchen and stared at the now dead oven just sitting there, covered in oil splatters and scratches, looking well, - dead! I had this terrible urge to punch something - anything!


I am a very "hug everyone", "smile all the time" kind of a person, so this feeling was even more alarming than my chest pain. On the third day, I was walking around the house moping, sulking, procrastinating. The new oven would only get home the following week and meanwhile, the old one just sat there being useless. At this point, I was like an addict without the means to feed my addiction. Nothing to cook and bake with. In a desperate attempt to feel useful, I cranked up my slow cooker and chucked in a cherry cake and some potatoes to roast. Then as an afterthought, I started cleaning my dead oven. Five minutes into cleaning it, I felt incredibly sad. Before I knew it, the tears came and I was glad to be alone at home because I wailed.


Just like that in three days, I had been through the three stages of grief without knowing it. Denial, anger and finally acceptance. I had used my old oven every single day since we bought our home nearly seven years ago. It was a tiny little thing but it fed hoards. It kept us nourished and content. It saw us through family dinners, a wedding, birthday parties, annual barbecues, and Christmas celebrations. It was a friend and it had served us well. But just like spring, it was time for new beginnings. A new chapter with a new companion. The new oven is the exact same model as my old one and after 2 weeks of cooking and baking, it feels like I am spending time with my old friend. Like nothing has changed.

Indian Carrot Cake - Cook Republic

Indian Carrot Cake - Cook Republic

The Challenges Of A 40-Year-Old Kitchen And My Solution

Now don't you look at that kitchen and feel sorry for me yet, I have created a cooking and photography workspace in our family room and here is what it looks like! That little wooden crate against those big doors at the back is where I shoot all my photos. This steel bench bought from a hospitality and catering supply company has been a Godsend. Finally, a flat surface to roll my pizza dough or prevent my chopping board from rocking like a boat. It doesn't matter that the floor is usually covered with toys most of the time, and little boys are pushing their choo -choo trains and their hot wheel cars around my legs as I try and circumvent them to get that hero shot. We have all learned to coexist and make the most of the space and the situation.


And now I have a new oven! This carrot cake was the first thing I baked in it. It is a family favourite and is inspired by my beloved Indian dessert Gajar Ka Halwa which is a sweet spice and nut-laden slow-cooked Carrot Pudding. This delightful cake is unbelievably light, packed with flavour and super moist. When I am feeling incredibly festive, I frost it with some simple lemon-infused cream cheese frosting. But for the most bit, we love it plain with a smattering of icing sugar. Toasts like a dream and freezes well too.


2022 / A Kitchen Update And A Spiced Indian Carrot Cake

Its 2022 and I am writing to you from a new kitchen, well sort of. Back in 2012 when I shared my original kitchen, so many of you couldn't believe that I actually cooked, worked and ran a food blog from that limited, primitive space. What is more amazing to me now is that I actually tested, wrote, shot and created my cookbook Tasty Express in that old kitchen. But even back then with its numerous limitations, I loved it. It was my space and it was where my creativity and love for cooking and feeding people thrived.

In 2014, a mere two years after sharing my old kitchen photos, I had written a cookbook and won a national blogging and writer's competition. It was time to renovate the kitchen space. So we demolished the kitchen and family room/shooting area and created the kitchen of my dreams. And this is what it looks like now. A space that feed

Indian Carrot Cake - Cook Republic


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A classic healthy carrot cake baked with fragrant cardamom, macadamia oil and pecan nuts. Inspired by the Indian dessert Gajar Ka Halwa, this beautiful cake makes a great afternoon dairy-free treat!
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Author: Sneh
Course // Baking
Cuisine // Dairy Free, Indian, Modern Australian, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 3/4 cup (115 g) rapadura sugar, Note 1
  • 3/4 cup (160 ml) macadamia oil, Note 2
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (225 g) spelt flour, Note 3
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) pecan nuts, toasted and chopped, Note 4
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) sultanas
  • 3 cups (350 g) grated carrot


  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line a 9-inch round springform tin (or a 23cm X 14cm loaf tin) with baking paper.
  • Place the sugar and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat for another few minutes. Sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg over the sugar mixture. Add carrot, pecan nuts and sultanas. Mix with a silicone spoon until well combined.
  • Pour cake batter into the prepared tin. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 55-60 minutes until golden and cooked through the middle when tested with a skewer. (If the cake is still a bit wet in the middle, cover it with foil and continue baking for another 5-8 minutes.) When done, turn off the oven and allow the cake to rest in the oven for 5 minutes before pulling it out and cooling completely in the tin.
  • Slice and serve. Great toasted for breakfast or warmed in microwave and served with a dollop of ice cream for dessert. Cake slices freezes well wrapped in baking paper and packed in freezer safe bags/container. Will keep at room temperature in a cool corner of your kitchen for 2 days (upto a week if stored in the fridge).


  1. Rapadura Sugar - Rapadura sugar is unrefined palm sugar. It is brown and has a rich caramel tone and flavour. It can be replaced with coconut sugar or regular brown sugar.
  2. Macadamia Oil - This is a beautiful nutty oil that is great for baking. Can be substituted with rice bran oil or light-flavoured olive oil.
  3. Spelt Flour - Bleached or unbleached spelt flour renders a rustic quality to the bake. Can be substituted with regular flour.
  4. Pecan Nuts - These go really well in this cake along with the spices. Other good nut substitutes are almonds, pistachios or brazil nuts.
  5.  Troubleshooting An Undercooked Cake - With this cake, because the fat and liquid content is quite high, sometimes when the carrots are extremely fresh or the eggs are larger, I find the cake to be a tiny bit wet in the middle at the 55-min mark. In this case, I continue baking it for another 10 minutes by covering the top with foil to avoid it from getting too brown. If you have baked for the said amount (55 minutes) and pulled out the cake, checked for doneness, let it cool and it still had a wet spot; don't worry. Slice the cake up, pop it back in the tin with the baking paper and bake for 5-10 minutes with a foil on top to even out the wet spots. Works like a charm every time!
Did you make my recipe?I'd love to hear how you went! Tag me on Instagram @cookrepublic




I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. Kiran @

    Won't lie, you have my dream vintage kitchen. Really 🙂

  2. Ambika Choudhary Mahajan

    You are right, Sneh.
    There are some gadgets and tools without which the kitchen is almost unimaginable- with the oven, microwave, hand mixer and my food processor topping the list.
    I wonder how they ever managed a kitchen without these.
    And thanks for sharing this recipe. No fuss recipe with all the basic ingredients available right in your kitchen. (By the way, is brown sugar healthier than the normal, white sugar we eat??. I have no idea about that, and thought I'd ask you.
    Looking forward to more of such simple recipes.
    All the best!

  3. Martyna @ Wholesome Cook

    I find your kitchen super cute! When we lived in an old terrace in Woolloomooloo our kitchen looked very similar and I'd grown to love it. The cake looks fab too, I love a good moist carrot cake!

  4. Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice

    Oh, Sneh, what an amazing share. There are so many things running through my mind after reading that, and yet I'm finding it hard to articulate my thoughts. Just know that I feel I've gotten to know you a little better, and it's a testament to your candidness and honesty.

    Your cake looks like just the remedy for those difficult few days!

  5. marla

    Sneh, this is such a beautiful carrot cake!

  6. suzanne Perazzini

    Condolences on the loss of your oven. I wish I could boot mine out but it is an expensive Smeg with too much quirkiness for me. Everything burns on the outside bfore cooking on the inside. We figure it must be that the door doesn't shut properly and so the elements are permanently on trying to heat it.
    Anyway I am sure you will love your new oven. Change is good.

  7. Petra

    With the gorgeous photo treatment of your kitchen, it gets a whole new rustic look 🙂 I am always amazed what magic you are working in your kitchen - now expecting even bigger things with your new oven!

  8. Julia {The Roasted Root}

    Carrot cake is a favorite in my family and my boyfriend's family! We're always trying new carrot cake recipes for birthdays and since both of our families are pretty health-conscious, a healthier carrot cake sounds perfect for the next celebration! Beautiful and inviting!

  9. Kirsty

    I love your photography and outside workspace Sneh! Unfortunately my entire house lacks natural sunlight, I may need to create a 'photo workshop' in my driveway! I personally couldn't wait to get rid of my old oven, although it was tough being without while the new one was to be fitted. I'm glad you got a new oven and it feels like old times again. The cake looks and sounds lovely

  10. Eha

    Sneh - exactly when did you sneak in to photograph my itty-bitty working space 🙂 ? But comfort has been there and good meals have emanated to friends and self . . . and, after all, one sees all these showhome kitchens with no love ON show . . . and one smiles and says 'thank you for the understanding'!

  11. jas

    before we moved to Melbourne I knew our kitchen would need renovating from the tiny sink (that a ful size plate didn't fit in let alone a frypan) and the blue tiles and wait for it, fold out wooden ironing table - yes in the KITCHEN! I saved my pennies for some time and now have a gorgeous kitchen that I appreciate so much because of the one that stood in its place before. So, yay for new ovens and a delicious carrot cake, I cna't wait to try it.

  12. Colette

    PS-We love Milo, too!

  13. Colette

    Love your kitchen. So much character. And you really do work magic. Just goes to show that it's not the appliances that matter, but the person using them who makes the food so gorgeous.

    And, I know how you feel....even an oven can take on sentimental value.
    Cheers, love!

  14. Kankana

    You inspire me at every post and I am not saying this just because I like you so very much! Your writing Sneh ... you make me visualize .. you take me there! That workspace is so gorgeous and I love your studio.
    One quick question, can I use olive oil instead for the cake ?

  15. Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    So sorry about your oven! As bakers we come to know the habits of our ovens quite instinctively, I think! What a lovely cake - I'd love a slice now with my morning tea.

  16. LunaJune

    I hear your grief and I totally understand.. I went 5 months without an oven...but thankfully it was only me that I needed to feed, and that moment of the first baking again.. filling the house with beautiful aromas... no words really can express that feeling.

    Carrot cake is a staple I do all the time... actually it is a pumpkin bread recipe that I use but just alter the flavouring of and I use a cast iron gigantic pan.... I love the addition of cardamom will have to try that next time.

    thanks for always exciting me to what you are baking :~)

    I'm actually about to go make lemon curd for tarts ... well and to just eat out of the jar :~)

  17. thelittleloaf

    This looks gorgeous, and a bonus that it's healthy! I constantly dream about redesigning my day, one day 🙂

  18. Swati Sapna

    I love how you have created separate working and photography spaces outside your kitchen! I have a problem with a dark kitchen too 🙁 and most of my cooking happens at night! so by default my pictures are mostly badly lit 🙁
    congratulations on the new oven! I know how it feels when you replace an old, loyal thing... we just sold our 5yr old car and there were so many memories attached... I thought it wouldnt be a big deal, its just a car after all! But 2 days later i was cranky and depressed and close to tears :'(
    But hey, here's hoping you make many new memories with the brand new oven too!

    • Sneh

      oh you poor thing! I totally get that. We have even named our car and are so so attached to it.

  19. Valeria

    I adore carrot cake and I love it without icing, too --I have never been a fan of sugary icings. I am sorry for your oven, as I feel the same attachment for such piece of furniture. I changed house many times in the past few years and I had to go through the same acquainting process with the new oven --adjusting temperature, time etc. But it's OK, the oven will always be my favorite, new or old, as it allows me to take some time for myself and bake something good. Like this one, which I will make soon.

    • Sneh

      Right? Plain cakes are the best. You can actually taste them 🙂

  20. Vintage Macaroon

    Your oven looks very similar to my rental one! People are amazed when I tell them how small my bench space is, ( a tad smaller than yours) but where there is determination there is a way.

    That carrot cake looks delicious! I might give it a whirl in my little oven 🙂

    • Sneh

      Absolutely! Couldn't have said it better Deb. Hope you like the cake!

  21. Rosa

    My old oven also broke down lately and I know too well how frustrating it is to not be able to bake... Thankfully, I received my new baby and it works awesomely.

    Thanks for showing us where all the magic happens! A lovely house.

    That cake looks delicious and so moist!



    • Sneh

      I remember chatting with you about your oven on Twitter. Glad you got it and it works great!

  22. Meeta

    A lovely candid post Sneh. I think I would have partied! I want a new oven/cooking range and would not mind if my old one caught fire! LOL! The cake looks incredibly moist and divine!

  23. john@heneedsfood

    Oh no! Just over a year ago I discovered termites in my old kitchen walls and it was that discovery that led to ripping out the rear of our house, installing new bifold doors and a gorgeous new kitchen. An expensive exercise but one that just had to be done. I was almost wailing, like you with your oven, when I stood and watched a guy rip the old one apart and leave an empty shell of a kitchen. Now I'm happy again!

    • Sneh

      Yes, I remember stalking your Instagram pictures and seeing your Smartstone bench, was it? Oh I bet you are happy. I can't wait to get mine done.


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