Healthy Carrot Cake

Every time my mom comes to town she makes Jack a carrot cake (although I think this was the third carrot cake she made for him (us) that week). It’s his favorite and I never make it. I find it messy to grind up the carrots and I opt for pumpkin baked goods because I think they taste so similar. It’s way easier to dump pumpkin out of a can than get messy with carrots. That being said, I did my part in helping inhale 3 carrot cakes within 6 days.*

This is a really healthy cake with not-as-healthy frosting. She uses next to no sugar in the cake since the frosting provides plenty. It’s made with whole spelt flour, agave syrup, and applesauce instead of their refined counterparts. It’s more like a bread or muffin until you slather it with frosting.

*We baked this mini cake (pictured) along side a regular batch because we thought the dish was cute. (“we” being my mom and I… Jack doesn’t call things cute and/or care what dishes look like.)


Healthy Carrot Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 16
Ingredients
For the Carrot Cake:
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup agave syrup
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 2 cups wheat or spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond milk, as needed
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, combine the eggs, agave, oil, applesauce, and yogurt. Pulse for 10-20 seconds. Using the shredder disk, shred the carrots into the egg mixture.
  3. Transfer the carrot mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix with a hand mixer until all ingredients are combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Spread the batter in a greased 8 x 11β€³ cake pan and bake 20-25 minutes, checking the center of the cake for doneness at 20 minutes. The cake will be very dense and should pull away from the sides of the pan when done.
  5. While the cake cools, make the frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar, adding almond milk as needed to thin to your desired consistency.
  6. When the cake is cooled, frost and serve.

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If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.

35 comments

  1. Buy Treadmills from toptreadmillsforhome.com on said:

    Glad to visit this blog, keep it going.

  2. This sounds and looks so good and moist!

  3. Emma Galloway from mydarlinglemonthyme.com on said:

    Yum, I love your addition of the apple sauce and yoghurt πŸ™‚ Happy New Years!

  4. Denise from tlt-thelittlethings.com on said:

    It sounds (and looks) delicious, wishing you a wonderful NYE!

  5. kat on said:

    Looks great. Question – bake at what degrees? And where’s the agave in the recipe? thanks.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Thanks for pointing these out… I just fixed those 2 items in the recipe. Temp is 350 degrees, and I meant to type agave syrup instead of sugar.

  6. Aimee on said:

    I made this yesterday, and the frosting was delicious! My whole family loved it, and the cake was gone in a day. πŸ™‚

  7. Christina from delacasa.wordpress.com on said:

    Just moved house (and country and hemisphere!) with my dearly beloved and we are in the process of replenishing the new pantry, with nutritious, unrefined baking goods. Have bookmarked a lot of your recipes, such as this (!) and plan to direct my baking (and thus my blog) towards such beautiful, healthful delights. Your site is gorgeous, keep up the incredible photos and recipes.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      thank you Christina!

  8. Annalee from tomarkttomarkt.com on said:

    Another yummy loaf. Did you use blue agave or light agave syrup?

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Annalee,

      Light agave, I usually buy the Whole Foods brand. Granulated sugar also works, I just happened to not have any that day πŸ™‚

  9. Christy on said:

    Thanks for the great recipe! I didn’t have apple sauce so I blended up a ripe peach and used 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup white flour. I was a little concerned with using all whole wheat but will try it next time. I also made muffins and think I’m going to make another batch with all whole wheat flour. Think some of my co-workers will like these since they aren’t sweet. Thanks so much! Glad I found your site.

  10. Sarah on said:

    I love carrot cake and was happy to see this healthier version. I just attempted this receipt and if I make it again I will definitely put more cinnamon in, maybe some other spices as well. I also opted out of the frosting and just put some greek yogurt on the slice I ate–I recommend it!

  11. Stephanie from figsinmybelly.com on said:

    This looks great! The mini cake you made, is that about the size of a loaf pan? Did you just halve the recipe you posted for it to fit?

  12. Rhi on said:

    I made this for a lazy Sunday afternoon, afternoon tea and it was enjoyed by all. Thank you. Great recipe!

  13. joanne on said:

    I just made this cake and the bake time was almost double what you posted. Took at least 40 minutes. Sure you didn’t post the time for the mini-cake????

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      What size pan did you bake it in? We bake ours in an 8×11 rectangle glass pan, so the cake (not the mini ones) is still only a few inches tall. If you used a deeper pan, I’m sure the timing would vary. And/or maybe my oven is hotter?

  14. cindy on said:

    hello!

    so i was planning on making this carrot cake without the frosting, and i was wondering whether it would be too try to eat it or too “healthy” because i’m not quite sure how sweet this cake is. would you suggest using more agave, or just try eating it by itself? would it be alright?

    haha thanks!

  15. Bree on said:

    Hi,

    what can I use instead of agrave syrup and the canola oil?

  16. Maria on said:

    Can I make this gluten free?)

  17. Kari McMullin on said:

    How do you make the frosting? Just combine everything?

    • Sorry! mix with a hand mixer or a standing kitchen mixer.

      • Kari McMullin on said:

        No worries – thanks for the quick reply. I’m going to make a vegan version tomorrow for Easter! Also baking your Vegan Carrot Cake. I’ll let you know how it turns out. πŸ˜€

    • more specifically – mix the butter and cream cheese until creamy, then sift in the powdered sugar so that it’s not clumpy and continue mixing.

      • Kari McMullin on said:

        Perfect, thanks!

  18. Allison Smith on said:

    I hope you don’t mind, but PLEASE don’t ever use Canola oil, it is a non food if you need to know more look up this website: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/canola-oil
    Apart from that I do love your recipes and I have my favourites, these biscuits (which I will be using maple syrup instead of the agave and mild olive oil instead of the dreaded Canola oil) will more than likely end up as one of my favourites.
    I recently purchased your cookbook and I just love it!

    • Hi Allison, thank you, I hope you love the book!

      I do usually use olive oil and maple syrup – this recipe was from 7 years ago(!), (one of the first we ever posted) when agave was considered a health food. Things change!

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