Can you have your cake and eat it? Not really – and definitely not if you’re aiming for healthy eating. But we’re all about moderation – and cake is one of life’s great pleasures after all, so Mich Turner’s Have Your Cake And Eat It comes highly recommended. A baker who has created ‘couture cakes’ for everyone from the Queen and Madonna to the Beckhams and Gordon Ramsay, it’s fair to say that when it comes to baking, Ms Turner knows her stuff. For her latest book, she’s turned her attention to how to create healthier, more nutritious versions of favourite cakes that are still just as pleasurable to enjoy/devour with a cup of tea. Mich Turner is actually a trained food scientist, so her understanding of the complexities of how cakes and baking function means that she’s not throwing healthy ingredients in there that just won’t work. A healthy chocolate cake is lovely in theory, but it still needs to rise properly – and taste right too!

Recipes are boosted with added nuts, seeds and dried fruits for long-lasting energy, while healthier fats and sugars mean that the bakes are better for you as well. Sometimes you will find butter, cream and sugar in recipes though – as substitutes just don’t work – but there’s an extensive explanation of all of the ingredients too. Have Your Cake And Eat It‘s selection of cakes is fantastic though – and there’s something to please everyone, for every occasion, from muffins and meringues to biscuits and brownies. Raspberry, Rose and Pistachio Cupcakes, Chocolate Chunk Cookies, a showstopping Chocolate Roulade and a stunning Red Velvet Cake – baking enthusiasts will LOVE this book. We’re delighted to share Mich Turner’s recipe for Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting & Walnut Praline here… Enjoy!

This is the recipe I created for the wedding of Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith. It is wonderfully moist, with a delicious blend of carrots, fruit and spices. Because the cake is made with sunflower oil it is naturally dairy free and can be served chilled. I have decorated it here with a velvet soft cream cheese frosting and caramelized walnut praline for added flavour, texture, sweetness and crunch.

4 large eggs
300ml (10fl oz) sunflower oil
150g (5½oz) golden caster sugar
150g (5½oz) soft light brown sugar
350g (12oz) plain flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

40g (1½oz) stem ginger
Grated zest of 2 oranges
Grated zest of 2 lemons
100g (3½oz) walnuts, chopped
100g (3½oz) desiccated coconut
200g (7oz) sultanas soaked in
50ml (2fl oz) rum for 1 hour
350g (12oz) carrots, peeled and grated


FOR THE SYRUP

150g (5½oz) soft light brown sugar
Juice of 2 lemons

Juice of 2 oranges

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

75g (2¾oz) unsalted butter, slightly softened
450g (1lb) icing sugar

190g (6¾oz) full fat cream cheese, chilled
Grated zest of 1 orange

FOR THE WALNUT PRALINE

150g (5½oz) golden caster sugar               100g (3½oz) walnuts, roughly chopped and roasted

Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2. Line the base and sides of a deep sided 20cm (8 inch) cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. Blend together the eggs, oil and sugars until well mixed. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda together and stir into the oil mixture to create a smooth batter.

Add the remaining ingredients until well mixed and spoon into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 2 hours until well risen, golden brown and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. As soon as the cake is in the oven, prepare the syrup. Measure the ingredients into a jug and stir until dissolved.

Once the cake is baked, place it on a wire rack, spike over the entire cake with a skewer and pour over all the syrup. Leave the cake to completely cool in the tin.

To make the cream cheese frosting, rub the butter into the icing sugar to resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add the chilled cream cheese and beat until smooth. Stir in the orange zest.

To make the praline, line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment. Put the sugar in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat until the sugar melts and turns a warm caramel colour. Add the roasted walnuts, stir until well coated, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Leave to cool, then blitz in a food processor or blender, or chop with a knife, into small bite-sized pieces.

Turn the cooled cake out of the tin and use a palette knife to surround the top and sides of the cake with the cream cheese frosting. Use a side scraper to professionally smooth the sides of the cake. Sprinkle the top with the walnut praline and refrigerate to set.

You can replace the orange zest with 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste for a vanilla cream cheese frosting. Or use a dairy-free buttercream made from soya spread and icing sugar flavoured with fresh orange zest for a totally dairy-free cake. Store for up to 7 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature. This cake is suitable for freezing.

Published by Jacqui Small, Mich Turner’s Have Your Cake and Eat It is available to buy online here.