An incredibly moist Carrot Cake Banana Bread made healthy with whole wheat flour and applesauce instead of lots of butter or oil. Don’t forget the low-fat cream cheese frosting — it’s to die for!
I never really enjoyed carrot cake until about a year ago.
It started when I was living in Los Angeles; there was an incredible cupcake shop in Manhattan Beach that I used to stop in after a beach walk in the evenings. They sold a variety of mini cupcakes and for some reason I decided to try their carrot cake version. After one bite, I was in heaven. Now I’m on some sort of quest to find the best carrot cake out there. Any suggestions?
When it comes to cake, the only thing that can compete with carrot is my Dad’s yellow cake with chocolate buttercream – and that one is pretty hard to master. I’m still working on the recipe after 7 years. Maybe one day.
There’s one thing I don’t like about carrot cake: all of those calories. And I’m already going to be eating everything else in my face during Easter, including at least three of those Reese’s Eggs and probably way too much wine. Yes, I try to make every holiday as awesome as Thanksgiving.
Anyway as I was preparing to head to the grocery store staring at overly ripe bananas on the counter, an interesting thought came to me. What if I combined the two? You know, my love for carrot cake + banana bread. Could this be a thing?
In my mind, absolutely.
Now the only thing I’m wondering is why didn’t I do this sooner? This bread needs to be in my life at all times.
The biggest challenge was figuring out how to make this bread healthy, but still make it feel a little indulgent and taste really incredible, too! Somehow I pulled it off and the recipe just works beautifully. The taste is deliciously moist, perfectly spiced, and it feels like an actual treat.
Here are some key ingredients used in this recipe:
Whole wheat flour: Instead of all-purpose, I used white whole wheat flour. I recommend using this or whole wheat pastry flour for a lighter, less dense bread with more nutrition. It’s really great in carrot cake because it gives it a little bit of a nutty flavor and adds fiber! Because of all of the spices in the bread, you can’t even tell it’s made with whole wheat!
Oats: I only used 1/2 cup, but it gives the bread a little tint of chewy texture. It’s amazing what oats can do. Plus they are a great source of fiber.
Bananas: The bananas are great in this recipe because they actually make it so you don’t have to add as much sugar as you normally would. Make sure you use extra ripe bananas (the ones with lots of black spots).
Dark brown sugar: This recipe only calls for a 1/2 cup of brown sugar in the entire recipe!
Applesauce: Instead of using lots of oil, I replaced most of it with applesauce to keep this bread both low-fat and moist.
Almond Milk: Since this recipe calls for whole wheat flour, you’ll need to add additional moisture to replace the lack of fat. Almond milk is a great low-calorie choice and it adds amazing flavor to the bread, along with some calcium and good nutrition. I always use Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.
Carrots: The carrots also give the bread additional sweetness and moisture. They truly make this bread special and I absolutely love them when they are combined with the banana flavor.
Add-ins: I added chopped pecans to this bread but there are plenty of options you could try such as shredded coconut, raisins, or even pineapple! Go crazy. That’s what I usually do.
And let’s not forget about the frosting either. In my opinion it kind of makes the bread extra special. It’s thick with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon, yet still maintains that perfect cream cheese flavor. Oh and it’s low-fat too! Yes, I’m a baking wizard.
FYI: Just because it’s low-fat does not mean it’s okay to consume with a spoon out of the bowl. Not saying that’s what I did though.
Try this bread out for Easter on your family. Better yet if you double it and keep a whole loaf for yourself. Trust me, you’ll want to!
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This is a sponsored post brought to you by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, however all opinions within this post are my own. Thanks for continuing to support Ambitious Kitchen!
- Serves: 12
- Serving size: 1 slice
- Calories: 172
- Fat: 4.5g
- Carbohydrates: 29g
- Sugar: 14.7g
- Fiber: 2.8g
- Protein: 4.3g
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup quick oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 medium ripe banana, mashed
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce (or sub extra coconut oil)
- 1 cup shredded carrots (about 3 large carrots)
- 1/3 cup Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- 1/4 cup pecans, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
- For the frosting:
- 4 oz whipped or reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8x4 or 9x5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, quick oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed banana, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until well combined and creamy. Add in coconut oil, applesauce and almond milk, then fold in carrots. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in 1/4 cup of pecans.
- Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached. Mine took exactly 50 minutes in an 8x4 inch loaf pan. If you use a 9x5 inch pan, you may need to check the bread at 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and place on wire rack to finish cooling.
- To make cinnamon cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon together on medium speed for a minute or until smooth. Spread over cooled bread. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped pecans. Cut into 12 slices and enjoy!
You can make this recipe into muffins/cupcakes. You'll need to adjust your baking time, but I suggest checking them between 15-18 minutes.
Feel free to add in other favorites such as: shredded coconut flakes, raisins, walnuts instead of pecans, or pineapple.