Healthier Carrot Cake Banana Bread — a cross between moist carrot cake and banana bread. Topped with a cream cheese frosting! This recipe is sponsored by Almond Breeze almondmilk.
Not sure if you guys remember when I first created this recipe, but if you’ve been fans of AK, you’d know that this bread is an old time reader favorite.
This time I revamped the recipe just a bit to make it just a tad bit more delicious. AND TRUST ME, it’s pretty epic. Just imagine a slice of banana bread infused with carrot cake flavor. Basically love at first bite.
There’s one thing I don’t like about carrot cake: how heavy I feel after a slice. Sometimes you wanna treat yourself, and sometimes you want to still be able to button your pants after a slice of cake. YA FEEL?
I’m already going to be stuffing 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. You too? K GREAT NOW WE BESTIES.
The first time I dreamt up this loaf, I was preparing to head to the grocery store and noticed the overly ripe bananas on the counter. An interesting idea came to me. What if I combined my love for banana bread + the lover everyone else has for carrot cake. 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 carrot cake banana 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 pastry flour: Instead of all-purpose, I used whole wheat pastry flour. I recommend using it for a lighter, less dense bread (than regular wheat). It’s really great in carrot cake because it gives it a little bit of a nutty flavor and adds fiber. I haven’t tested it with a gluten free flour, but I think a blend of chickpea flour + almond flour would work well.
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. I like to use quick oats. If you don’t have quick oats, simple place 1/2 cup oats in a blender and pulse for 20-30 seconds until the oats break down.
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).
Coconut sugar: This recipe only calls for a 1/2 cup of coconut sugar in the entire recipe. You could also use 1/3 cup honey.
Applesauce: Instead of using lots of oil, I replaced most of it with applesauce to keep this bread moist + add flavor.
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 Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla almondmilk.
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 walnuts to this bread but there are plenty of options you could try such as shredded coconut, raisins, or even pineapple. Go crazy! That’s usually what I 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.
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.
Remember to tag your Ambitious Kitchen creations on Instagram #ambitiouskitchen. I can’t wait to see if you make this!
See how to make the bread:
Chat soon! xoxo
- Serves: 12
- Serving size: 1 slice (based on 12 slices includes cream cheese frosting)
- Calories: 210
- Fat: 7.5g
- Saturated fat: 3.7g
- Carbohydrates: 33.2g
- Sugar: 14.9g
- Fiber: 4.6g
- Protein: 4.3g
- Dry Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour)
- 1/2 cup quick oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Wet ingredients
- 2 medium very ripe banana, mashed (¾ cup mashed banana)
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons melted and cooled coconut oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 large carrots)
- 1/3 cup Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
- Optional add-ins:
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 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 whole wheat pastry flour, quick oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together together mashed banana, coconut sugar, egg, and vanilla until well combined and creamy. Add in applesauce and almond milk, then fold in carrots. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined -- DO NOT OVERMIX. Gently fold in melted coconut oil and 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.
- Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached. Mine took about 55 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 pan on wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and place on wire rack to finish cooling completely.
- 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 walnuts or pecans. Cut into 10-12 slices and enjoy!
To make gluten free: I haven't tested it but I would suggest 1 cup almond flour and 1 cup chickpea flour OR 1 cup all purpose GF flour or 1 cup gluten free oat flour!
Bread can be made a day or two ahead of time, just wrap in plastic wrap to seal in moisture and frost before you serve. Banana bread is always best the next day.
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.
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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!