Pretty sure you should bake this cake for Easter because it just so happens to be one of the BEST I’ve ever made. I’m not saying that because I really want you to make it; I’m telling you because this wonderful version is incredibly moist, full of nutritious, healthier ingredients and is gluten free. Cue jumping on couches Tom Cruise style.
Could you call this a healthy carrot cake? I’m going to say YES. But how, you ask?!
Well, typically carrot cakes are laden with butter and/or oil and unnecessary amounts of sugar. I’m not saying that the occasional indulgence is terrible for you, however you might find yourself wanting to bake a better for you treat and your loved ones.
My version is made with nutritious flours (almond & oat) and the cake is naturally sweetened with maple syrup. All that butter and oil isn’t necessary in this beauty! Seriously, I’m obsessed with this cake. We brought it over to a party and everyone devoured it. I mean actually devoured without napkins or forks. Only hands, face and cake.
That should pretty much convince you that it’s worth a try.
When it comes to carrot cake, we must discuss your preferences: Are you the type of person who loves tidbits of pineapple? What about nuts? Raisins? Coconut?! Something else?
I feel like it’s an ongoing debate between us carrot cake lovers. I say yes to all the things, but know that if you want to leave out the add-ins, this cake will still have unbelievable flavor and texture.
This is a recipe I promise you’ll come back to, year after year. I’ve also included how to bake them into cupcakes/muffins in the notes section below so you can feel free to bake it as you so choose. Please let me know if you give this recipe a try by commenting below or tagging #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram, I always love hearing from you. xo!
This recipes comes to you in partnership with Peapod. You can find a few of my recipes over on their recipe site FromthePod.com. This week we ordered our groceries from Peapod because I knew it was going to be a hectic week for Tony and I. If Peapod offer services near you, I highly recommend trying it out!
- Serves: 14
- Serving size: 1 slice (based on 14)
- Calories: 284
- Fat: 14.5g
- Saturated fat: 4.2g
- Carbohydrates: 28g
- Sugar: 13.2g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 6.2g
- 2 cups oat flour (I used store-bought)
- 1 3/4 cup almond meal
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups finely shredded carrots (from about 3 large carrots)
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- ½ cup pure maple syrup or organic coconut palm syrup
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (coconut milk also works)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Optional stir-ins:
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- ½ cup finely chopped pineapple
- For the cream cheese frosting:
- 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- ½ cup organic powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Extra pecans and shredded coconut, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and generously spray with nonstick cooking spray. The parchment paper makes it easy to remove the cakes from the pan. Tip: I recommend turning the pans upside down and placing parchment paper on top. Use a pencil to trace the cake pan, then cut out the outline with a scissors and place parchment in each pan. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together oat flour, almond meal, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer (or you can mix by hand), add in carrots, eggs, maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla extract, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Beat on medium low speed until ingredients are well combined and smooth. Add in half of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. Add in the other half of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed again until just combined. If desired, fold in any of the following with a wooden spoon: raisins, coconut, nuts or chopped pineapple.
- Divide batter evenly among the two prepared cake pans and smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 23-27 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached. Cool cake in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert cakes on a wire rack, removing from the pans and allowing to cool completely. At this point you can remove and discard the parchment paper.
- Once cakes have cooled completely (about 2 hours), you can prepare the frosting. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and mix on low speed until well combined. Divide frosting in half and spread over each cake. Once frosted, place one cake on top of the other and sprinkle with extra pecans and coconut, if desired. Serves 12 (12 large slices). Cake should be kept covered in the fridge for optimal freshness and will stay good for 4-5 days.
To make the cake vegan: I have not tested this, but I think flax eggs would work very well in this recipe. (It would be 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal + 9 tablespoons of water.)
If you want to make vegan frosting you could try using a vegan cream cheese in place of the regular cream cheese.
I have not tested this cake with homemade oat flour, only the store-bought version. If you decided to make it with homemade oat flour, please make sure that it is very finely ground.
This cake also works well when baked in a 9x13 inch pan. You may need to bake slightly longer, but I would still check it at the suggested time. It’s a great party cake!
You can also make these into carrot cake cupcakes (or muffins without the frosting). They will make about 16 cupcakes as you should only fill the cupcake pan 3/4 of the way full.
The frosting isn’t excessive at all, but if you want to make this for a special occasion or a birthday, feel free to double the frosting!
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Photography by: Sarah Fennel
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