A healthy carrot cake recipe made with whole wheat, apple sauce, less sugar and covered in the most delicious naturally sweetened yogurt and cream cheese frosting. It is the perfect birthday cake for carrot cake lovers who want less sugar.
Carrot cakes are most popular around Easter and springtime in the United States. The best carrot cakes are delicate moist and rich. This healthier take on carrot cake is as delicious, you'll never miss the extra sugar, fat or the white flour!
Healthy Carrot Cake
A lighter version of the traditional carrot cake, perfect sweetness, moist with a little molasses flavor. The healthier aspect of this carrot cake makes it a great recipe without the guilt of eating something so sugary or fatty!
I was not raised to carrot cakes and definitely not my husband too. I've known about carrot cakes only when we landed here in the US. Carrot cakes are America's favorite cake specially around this time of the year, obviously there is a strong relation between Easter bunny and carrots :).
My youngest is obsessed with carrot cakes and he always asks for one on his birthday. My oldest only likes chocolate cakes and the middle one eats carrot cakes only because of the cream cheese frosting!.
One of my concerns as a mom is my kids' health. I do believe that moderation is the key, too much sweets are not good and no sweets at all is also not good. But this time of the year, we have so many celebrations in my little family and this involves cakes almost every 10 days through April.
So I bet you can see now the need for a little healthier treats through this cake spree.
Does carrot cake have carrot in?
Yes, carrot cake is a cake that actually has carrot in the batter. Sometimes people add raisins, pineapples and nuts along with carrots.
Can I substitute applesauce for oil in carrot cake?
Actually in this recipe I did. While developing this recipe to be lighter some of the fats were substituted by apple sauce but still you'll find
Can you use extra virgin olive oil in carrot cake?
You can definitely do that if this is your thing. You see, I've made cakes before with olive oil but it just did not suite my taste or may be I did not have a good recipe. I felt EVOO was so overwhelming and really overpowered all the other flavors.
How to make a healthy carrot cake : step by step
This is a lovely and relatively uncomplicated recipe for carrot cake. I've tweaked the original carrot cake recipe to be healthier and it turned out great. I've also made a yogurt cream cheese frosting that paired very well with the cake.
- Beat eggs and vanilla then add both brown and white sugar and continue beating. Add oil then applesauce and mix well.
- In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix. Finally fold in the carrots and pecan if using.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and dust two 8 inch round cake pans or 9x13 inch pan. Divide cake batter into the pans and bake until done.
- Then make the cream cheese, yogurt and honey frosting. Fill in between the two cakes and decorate as you like or just dumb the frosting on top. Double the frosting if you feel the need to, the best part is it is not that super sweet and it is actually healthier.
Healthy carrot cake tips:
- The frosting is a little bit soft, If you need a more stiff frosting to make flowers and more decorative shapes, you'll need to add some powdered sugar. I've used a lot of icing as I've made a two tier birthday cake. You can bake in a 13x9 pan and only use half of the icing or just dust the top with some powdered sugar instead of frosting, or maybe even healthier and skip the frosting all together.
- Cake and frosting are not too sweet like the ones we usually get at the stores. For us it was just right and we did not even miss the extra sugar. I had leftover frosting which my kids put to a good use :). They scooped more on their cake pieces, but guess what? I was not freaking out and yelling at them to stop.
You may need
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If you are going to make a birthday cake these 8" baking pans. Wilton are known for their reliable baking pans and these are one of my favorite for making birthday cakes.
Other cake recipes on the blog
If you are looking for a gluten free carrot cake recipe, check out this recipe from Monique.
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Healthy carrot cake
For the cake:
- 4 eggs.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar.
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar.
- 3/4 cup apple sauce.
- 1/4 cup oil.
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour.
- 2 teaspoon baking soda.
- 2 teaspoon baking powder.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- 3 cups grated carrots.
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped (optional).
For the cream cheese frosting and filling**
- 1/2 cup raw honey.
- 2 8oz cream cheese, room temperature.
- 2 5oz vanilla greek yogurt cups.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and dust two 8 inch round cake pans or 9x13 inch pan.
- In a deep bowl, beat eggs and vanilla then add both brown and white sugar and continue beating.
- Add oil then apple sauce and mix well.
- In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix.
- Finally fold in the carrots and pecan if using.
- Bake in the prepared pan(s) until done.*
- Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a bowl beat cream cheese, yogurt and honey until well combined. Refrigerate until the cake is done and cooled.
- Cut the cake in two halves if you are going to fill it.
- Add half the filling over one half and cover with the other half
- Decorate with the rest of the frosting.
- Refrigerate to set for a couple of hours before serving.
** If you will not fill the cake and only will be icing it then use only half of the icing ingredients.