Healthy Carrot Cake

Feb 2, 2021 | Desserts, Recipes

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The BEST healthy carrot cake- so delicious and nourishing! This gluten-free cake is made with oats and naturally sweetened with maple syrup, loaded with carrots and pecans, and topped with a light yogurt/cream cheese frosting. Try this cake and be amazed!

healthy carrot cake

Here is a carrot cake that you can feel good about eating and serving your loved ones. It’s loved by kids and adults alike, and they never guess that it’s made with oats instead of refined flour, and sweetened with maple syrup instead of refined sugar. It’s also packed with carrots, pecans, applesauce, and just a touch of coconut oil to keep it extra moist. Plus it’s so easy to make!

This is sure to be your favorite carrot cake recipe!

Let’s talk ingredients!

Healthy Carrot Cake Ingredients

cake ingredients
  • Oat Flour– Oat flour is sold in stores, but it’s also super easy to make at home. Simply blend old-fashioned oats in a high-speed blender until the oats become a fine powder (about 30 seconds to a minute). Store your oat flour in an air-tight container for up to three months. 
  • Tapioca Flour– Tapioca flour keeps this cake light and airy. I use this brand and it’s pretty easy to find.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda– To help the cake rise.
  • Salt– Don’t forget the salt. It helps to bring out the other flavors of the cake.
  • Spices– You have to have a little spice in a carrot cake. This recipe calls for cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg. Feel free to add more or omit any one of the spices as desired.
  • Stevia– Stevia is completely optional but it does add additional sweetness to the cake without adding extra calories.
  • Applesauce– Unsweetened applesauce adds additional moisture to the cake without all the fat.
  • Eggs– You need two large eggs for this recipe or flax eggs for vegan.
  • Maple Syrup– Maple syrup is wonderful in this recipe! You can sub honey or agave syrup if you choose.
  • Coconut Oil– Feel free to substitute a different vegetable oil such as canola.
  • Vanilla Extract– Pure vanilla extract is best, but imitation works as well.
  • Carrots– You can grate your carrots by hand or use a food processer, or even a high speed blender such as a Vitamix works.
  • Pecans– Chopped pecans are optional, but you won’t regret it.

How to make healthy carrot cake

carrot cake batter

To make this delicious and healthy cake, follow these instructions:

  • Prep oven and pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and and spray with oil.
  • Mix dry Ingredients. Whisk together the oat flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and stevia in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Mix wet ingredients. Whisk together the applesauce, eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract in a medium size bowl until well combined.
  • Mix wet with dry. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix together with a large spoon until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in the carrots and pecans.
  • Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Test the cake with a toothpick and if it comes out (mostly) clean then the cake is done.
  • Cool and frost. Allow the cake to cool completely in it’s pan on a wire rack before removing to frost with icing if desired.
healthy carrot cake

Frosting Ideas

We frosted this cake with a light cream cheese frosting that’s so easy to make! You will need:

  • 8 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (be sure it’s thick like Fage brand)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • optional 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional 3/4 teaspoon of stevia. I use the Sweetleaf brand in the shaker bottle. If you go with a different brand, add enough stevia to equal about 2 tablespoons worth of sugar, or to taste.

To make this healthy frosting, simply mix all the ingredients in a large bowl with a hand mixer or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Taste and add a bit more maple syrup, stevia, or confectioners’ sugar if desired. Note that too much maple syrup will make your frosting thinner. Frost your cooled cake immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Other topping ideas:

  • A drizzle of maple syrup or honey
  • Chocolate sauce
  • A dusting of confectioners sugar
  • Try it warm with a scoop of light ice cream or frozen yogurt

Any way you top it, it’s delicious!

healthy carrot cake

Tips/Storage

  • Aluminum cake pans work best for baking cakes. Aluminum heats up quickly and evenly, ensuring that your cakes come out perfectly every time.
  • Line your cake pans with parchment and grease the pan and the parchment paper. Parchment paper rounds guarantee the cakes won’t stick.
  • Use freshly grated carrots for the best results.
  • Store your cake covered at room temperature for up to a day or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • This unfrosted cake freezes well for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before decorating/serving.

Want more healthy desserts?

Check out these recipes:

Peanut Butter Protein Cookies

Skinny Red Velvet Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cookies

Light Vegan Cookie Dough Bites

Please let me know how you like the healthy carrot cake in the comments! I love to hear from you and your star ratings encourage others to give the recipe a try.

Enjoy!

Crystal

healthy carrot cake
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Healthy Carrot Cake

The BEST healthy carrot cake- so delicious and nourishing! This gluten-free cake is made with oats and naturally sweetened with maple syrup, loaded with carrots and pecans, and topped with a light yogurt/cream cheese frosting. Try this cake and be amazed!
Servings: 10
Calories: 243kcal
Author: Crystal Yentzen

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups oat flour*
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon stevia* optional
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and and spray with oil.
  • Whisk together the oat flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and stevia in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the applesauce, eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix together with a large spoon until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in the carrots and pecans.
  • Pout the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Test the cake with a toothpick and if it comes out (mostly) clean then the cake is done.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely in it's pan on a wire rack before removing to frost with icing if desired.
  • To make the light yogurt/cream cheese frosting mix 8 ounces light cream cheese, 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (be sure it's thick like Fage brand) ,1/4 cup maple syrup, optional 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and optional 3/4 teaspoon stevia in a large bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Taste and add a bit more maple syrup, stevia, or confectioners' sugar if desired. Note that too much maple syrup will make your frosting thinner. Frost your cooled cake immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. *see blog post for other topping ideas.

Notes

  1. Oat Flour– Oat flour is sold in stores, but it’s also super easy to make at home. Simply blend old-fashioned oats in a high-speed blender until the oats become a fine powder (about 30 seconds to a minute). Store your oat flour in an air-tight container for up to three months. 
  2. Tapioca Flour– Tapioca flour keeps this cake light and airy. I use this brand and it’s pretty easy to find.
  3. Stevia– Stevia is completely optional but it does add additional sweetness to the cake without additional calories. I use the Sweetleaf brand in the shaker bottle. If you go with a different brand, add enough stevia to equal about 2 tablespoons worth of sugar, or to taste. 
  4. Nutrition is based on the cake without the optional frosting. 

Nutrition

Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 211mg | Potassium: 277mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 3264IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg

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