Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and orange zest until well combined. Mix in the carrots until combined.
½ cup vegetable oil, 1 ¼ cups soft brown sugar, 3 medium eggs, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, 2 cups peeled and grated carrots
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and fine sea salt.
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently fold in until just combined. Gently fold in the chopped pecans or walnuts and chocolate chunks.
½ cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped, ½ cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Start checking for doneness after 35 minutes - you want a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake to come out clean, it will also be springy to the touch. If it’s not ready, return to the oven and continue to check in 5 minute intervals. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Whilst the carrot cake is cooling, make the frosting. Beat together the cream cheese and butter until uniform and well combined. Add the powdered sugar, melted white chocolate and salt and continue to beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides if needed.
10 tablespoons cream cheese spread, 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, 3 cups powdered sugar, 50 g white chocolate chips, pinch fine sea salt
Once cool, frost the top of the cake with the white chocolate cream cheese frosting. If desired, top with dark chocolate shavings to decorate. Makes 16 squares.