Carrot cake has long been one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Something about the cream cheese frosting coupled with the flavorful cake just makes it irresistible to me, and every time spring rolls around I find myself craving it.
As a general rule, when I make my healthy recipes I spend some time searching around to see what others have done. When it comes to carrot cake, I found that most healthy recipes involved minimizing the frosting or removing it altogether. To me, this is blasphemy. Carrot cake is nothing without its rich, decadent frosting. I resolved to make a carrot cake that’s light on the calories but still has a thick layer of frosting. To do this, my efforts mostly focused on reducing the calories in the cake itself. I did this by using whole wheat flour, reducing the sugar in the cake, and replacing the oil or butter in the cake with applesauce. The result is a very moist cake that’s not overly sweet, but that’s okay, because the frosting takes care of that for you.
Whole Wheat Carrot Cake
Servings: 16 · Serving Size: 1/16th · Calories: 250
Fat: 2 g · Cholesterol: 17 mg · Sodium: 412 mg · Carbs: 53 g · Fiber: 2 g · Sugar: 38 g · Protein: 4 g
For the cake:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs + 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-1/2 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup raisins
For the frosting:
- 4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 3.5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut two pieces of parchment to fit the bottom of two 9″ circular cake pans. Spray the pans with nonstick cooking spray and place the parchment circles in the bottom of each pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine.
Peel the carrots and grate them in your food processor, or with a hand grater. In a large bowl whisk the eggs until foamy, then add in the grated carrots, brown sugar, vanilla extract, applesauce, and crushed pineapple. Stir until everything is thoroughly mixed.
Add half of the dry mix into the wet mix and stir until combined, then add in the second half and the raisins, stir until everything is just combined.
Pour the batter evenly into each cake pan and bake for 45 minutes. When an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the tops are nice and golden brown, remove the cakes from the oven. Allow them to cool for 30 minutes before removing them from the pans.
To make the frosting, put the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and vanilla in your food processor or mixer and mix on low until its nice and creamy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix each in thoroughly before adding the next. Be sure to start your mixer on low or you’ll have powdered sugar flying everywhere. When the frosting is nice and thick, it’s ready to put on the cake.
Place your first cake round top side down on your cake stand (or plate, if you don’t have a cake stand–I don’t) and frost the top. Place your second cake round bottom (flat) side down on top of this. Frost the entire cake evenly with your frosting, including the sides.