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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Recipe: Healthy Carrot Cake

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe

I've always been a carrot cake lover. Moist cake, filled with spices, topped with cream cheese frosting - and even better if it has walnuts of pecans mixed throughout. 

But that said... I'm a carrot cake perfectionist (I'm an everything perfectionist... but that's beside the point). It has to be just right - so I've been testing a thousand and one different versions, adding things here, taking away things there and I have created the ultimate healthy carrot cake recipe - and by jove, is it good!

I almost called it the just carrot cake - because it has just the right amount of moisture, spice and flavour. It's spot on - and we're in love. If you ask Jesse what the best part of the blog is - he'd probably say the recipe testing, because I'm always asking him and my family to try different cakes or cupcakes or muffins or dinner recipes to see if they're blogable (because I can't rely on my opinion alone!) 

Low Fat Carrot Cake Recipe - Gluten Free, Vegan

The Best Healthy Carrot Cake makes 10 cupcakes or 1 cake
low fat, gluten free, vegan options, clean eating friendly
2 2/3 cups grated carrot (about 300g or 2 large/4 small carrots)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup egg whites or 1 egg or 1/4 cup applesauce or 1 flax egg
1/4 cup milk of your choice 
1/4 cup honey (I used a little less as I don't like things too sweet - if making this vegan, use sugar or maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp mixed spice 
1 1/3 cup flour (see list below for options)
Optional: nuts of your choice (I like walnuts or pecans best!) 

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
Prepare muffin tins by greasing/lining or grease and/or line a small cake tin.
In a bowl, combine your grated carrot, applesauce, egg whites or substitute, milk, honey and vanilla. 
In a separate bowl, mix together your flours, baking powder, baking soda and spices. 
Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. 
Divide your mixture amongst muffin pans or pour into cake tin.
Bake for 15-20 minutes for cupcakes or 30-45 minutes for a cake - or until your cake is cooked through and a skewer inserted removes clean. 
Cool before taking out of tins. 
If frosting, cool completely or cool before storing in a container or freezing for later on.

Flour Options: 
Gluten Free: 
I like using 2/3 cup Buckwheat Flour and 2/3 cup Gluten Free Self Raising Flour. Alternatively you can use gluten free plain or self raising flour (a little extra rise never hurts gluten free baked goods!)

Non-Gluten Free:
Use plain or wholewheat flour (a mix of plain and wholewheat will give you the best results)

Our Favourite "Frosting": when it's just us eating cakes/muffins/cupcakes we usually freeze them or they'll get wasted - so we make a quick batch of "frosting" whenever we want to eat them. Just mix a spoonful of reduced fat cream cheese with maple syrup to taste and there you go. 

So tell me, what's your favourite kind of cake - and why do you like it so much? 
My second favourite cake is banana cake because a family friend gave us her famous recipe (in our recipe folder as Fay's Famous Banana Cake) and it was always a crowd pleaser. 

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  1. I love carrot cake - and this version looks divine!

  2. Just made your muffins but I added 1/8 t. salt to your dry mixture.

  3. I just found your blog through Pinterest...your recipes look wonderful! I can't wait to try these Carrot Cakes. Thank you for creating healthy recipes with substitution options. I am majorly changing the way I am eating to lose weight and make myself healthier for my kids and myself. I was looking for great looking recipes to try (also trying to cook more) and am excited to try your recipes. Making the carrot cake today.

    1. Thank you, Shannon! You're so sweet!

      You'll have to let me know how the carrot cake goes - and be sure to snap a picture so I can add it to our reader showcase! xx

  4. Hallo - I made this cake last night and it is gorgeous! :D Simple, healthy, nom!

    Thanks for this tasty treat!

    1. Yay! So glad you loved it - checking out your post now! xx

    2. Hilo! Quick question - I'm making this next weekend for a gluten-free party (well, someone's gluten-free so they figured vegan is close enough and I should make the treats) - do you think I could sub the flour for brown rice flour and something else? Not sure what the chances of getting gf self-raising flour this side on the bargain side of the wallet. I'm still learning about how different flours react, so not sure if that would work? Some of these gf flours tend to become very "absorbent" and basically drain the liquid soul of any mixture.

      ...if that makes sense! Sorry for the insane rambling question :D

    3. Hi there, I tend to steer clear of rice flour in baked goods as it gives you the typical crumbly dry gluten free baked good most hate. I've used half gluten free oat flour and half buckwheat flour and it worked fine - but a gluten free flour or self raising flour mix is your best bet as it also has added starches to give the best results

      Otherwise you could try making your own mix with things like brown rice flour, tapioca starch, sorghum flour etx. There are lots of different versions on the web and you may be able to find a mix which you already have the ingredients for!

  5. Do i have to use applesauce? Is there a subsitute?

    1. Applesauce gives the carrot cake a really nice flavour and keeps it moist. If you don't want to use it, you could substitute butter/oil or possibly yogurt - but I can't vouch for the texture or taste.

  6. Can I use oat, almond or coconut flour instead? And would the measurement still be the same?

    1. Hi there, I definitely wouldn't suggest using almond or coconut flour as they'll be crumbly and possibly dry as well. You could try the same amount of oat flour, however, the texture may be different so I can't vouch for the results

  7. Hi Kristy, which option typically gives the best results? In terms of flour, egg whites....? Thanks!

    1. We usually use egg whites as we almost always have a carton open - when I make it gluten free, I use the buckwheat/GF self raising mix and when I'm making it just for my family, I'll use wholewheat flour as they like the flavour/texture

  8. Hey! I loved these! Is it okay if I link this recipe in my blog?

    1. Thank you so much! :D :D loved this I look forward to seeing what other goodies you have in your blog!

    2. This recipe is one of my favourites so I'm so glad you liked it too! Xx

  9. These look so amazing! Just found your blog. I've been looking for a place like this for all my dietary needs. How in the world do you come up with these recipes?? All in your head? So excited to try them!

    1. Hey Tim and Jenn, my brain is pretty much constantly thinking about cooking/baking - if you asked Jesse, he'd tell you I'm insane - but I bake so much that it just comes naturally to me. I've had to adapt so many recipes for my own allergies and intolerances that now it's second nature - once you get the ratios right, you're good to go!

  10. Do you have any nutritional info on this recipe (calories, carbs, etc?) Thank you!

    1. I don't have the nutritional information for this recipe, however, you can use an app like My Fitness Pal to work out the exact nutritional information for the ingredients you use :)


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