Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | Desserts With Benefits

Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting

This Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting is so soft, fluffy, and sweet, it doesn't taste guilt free, whole grain, and low sugar one bit!

When it comes to liking Carrot Cake, nobody is really “on the fence” if you know what I mean.  You either love it or you hate it.

To tell you the truth, I’ve always hated it.  The carrots always tasted raw to me, they were crunchy and its flavor was much too potent.  Whenever I came across a slice of carrot cake, I would simply scrape off the icing and eat that spoonful by spoonful, leaving the orange scraps on the plate.  And even though I currently hate carrots (yes, still), I absolutely loved this healthy carrot cake!

This Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting is so soft, fluffy, and sweet, it doesn't taste guilt free, whole grain, and low sugar one bit!

To be honest, the carrot flavor was not strong at all.  I don’t even remember tasting it!  I was a little too focused on the smooth, sweet frosting   😉

The cake itself is unbelievably moist, the raisins were plump, and the frosting in between the cake layers make your individual slice even more exciting!

This Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting is so soft, fluffy, and sweet, it doesn't taste guilt free, whole grain, and low sugar one bit!

The amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves is perfect.  This healthy carrot cake is not bland in any way, but not too spicy either.  It is just as sweet, just as rich and just as decadent as any bakery’s carrot cake.  The frosting adds both flavor and presentation too, but it’s not your typical, pastel white cream cheese frosting.

This frosting has a little secret!  Can you guess?

This Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting is so soft, fluffy, and sweet, it doesn't taste guilt free, whole grain, and low sugar one bit!

It’s tofu!  I originally wanted to make a cream cheese frosting but the selection at Whole Foods was particularly small, so I settled for blended tofu.

Don’t worry, you don’t taste it at all!  My mother hates tofu and when I told her the frosting’s secret ingredient she was shocked.  Trust me too, though, I hate tofu as well.

This Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting is so soft, fluffy, and sweet, it doesn't taste guilt free, whole grain, and low sugar one bit!

I’m really excited to share this recipe — the cake is so tender and moist it’s unbelievable, and the frosting just completes the dish.  I’m growing somewhat fond of that bright orange color…  Could this be it?  Are vegetables really making me this happy?

Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting
   
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake & Cupcakes
Servings: 2 9" cake layers
Calories: 320 kcal
Ingredients
Cake:
  • 240g (2 cups) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 48g (¼ cup) Pure Cane Sugar
  • 32g (¼ cup) Arrowroot Starch
  • 30g (1 scoop) Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • tsp Ground Cloves
  • tsp Double-Acting Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 170g (⅖ package) Organic Extra Firm Tofu (drained and rinsed)
  • 123g (½ cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 112g (½ cup) Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup 100% Orange Juice
  • 28g (2 tbs) Grapeseed Oil
  • 42g (2 tbs) Molasses
  • 2 tsp Liquid Stevia Extract
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • tsp Natural Butter Flavor
  • ½ tsp Lemon Flavor
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • cups Grated Carrots
  • ½ cup Raisins
Frosting:
Instructions
For the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray two 9" cake pans with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, sugar, starch, protein powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a blender, add the tofu, applesauce, yogurt, orange juice, oil, molasses, stevia, vanilla, butter flavor, and lemon flavor. Puree until smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients and fold together until MOSTLY mixed through.
  4. Add in the vinegar, carrots, and raisins, and fold together until mixed through, being careful not to overmix.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for ~33 minutes, or until the surface springs back when tapped. Flip cakes onto a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.
For the Frosting:
  1. In a blender, add the tofu, sugar, maple flavor, and stevia. Puree until smooth.
  2. While blending, add the coconut oil, then the protein powder, then the cinnamon.
  3. Frost the cake. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 320 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Sodium 240mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 54g 18%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 22g
Protein 14g 28%
Vitamin A 70%
Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 15%
Iron 20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting is so soft, fluffy, and sweet, it doesn't taste guilt free, whole grain, and low sugar one bit!

I decided to do a little “nutritional showdown” between my cake and the Most-Favorited carrot cake recipe on FoodGawker so far.

The Desserts with Benefit’s nutrition label is on the left (includes frosting), the other cake’s nutrition label is on the right (includes frosting but not pecans).  Prepare to be shocked:

This Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting is so soft, fluffy, and sweet, it doesn't taste guilt free, whole grain, and low sugar one bit!  UNHEALTHY Carrot Cake

In case you didn’t see, the label for my cake is for 1/8th of the recipe while the label for the other cake is for 1/16th of the recipe.  So, um, it goes without saying that my healthy carrot cake has less than HALF the calories as the other cake and for double the quantity!  My cake also contains less fat, sugar and cholesterol, while containing more fiber, protein, calcium and iron.

I was so surprised about the large discrepancy that I doubled-checked my nutrition label and triple-checked the other.  They are correct.  I think I’ll take two slices of my cake, please!  Yes, that is one quarter of the entire cake, but, it’s always nice having some more sugary goodness cake, right?  Yes.  It is.

So enjoy this healthy, flavorful, veggie-packed dessert without having to bring out the stretchy pants!

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With love and good eats,

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– Jess

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Be sure to follow @DessertsWithBenefits on Instagram!  If you try this recipe, make sure to snap a picture of it, tag me @DessertsWithBenefits, and hashtag #DessertsWithBenefits.  I’d love to see it and feature you on #FanFaveFridays!

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23 comments on “Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting”

  1. Oh my gosh this is incredible. You have no idea how much I’ve been craving carrot cake lately, so I’m totally gonna have to try to make this.

  2. Just what we need! It’s always nice to find low calorie cake ! 🙂

  3. I’ve always been shocked by the calorie and fat content of carrot cake, especially because so many people think it’s a ‘healthy option’ because of the carrots! Yours looks lovely though, and I particularly like your photos – simple and really stylish.

  4. Is there anything you can use to replace the whey and the tofu but keep it relatively low calorie still?

    • Thanks!! Will try it soon 🙂

    • Jessica | Desserts With Benefits

      I’m not sure if the whey can be replaced, but you can try using 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (not pastry flour) or 1/4 cup brown rice flour instead.
      To replace the tofu, you can try using 1) a whole egg and an egg white, or 2) two flax eggs.

      Just note that I have not tried these, but I’m crossing my fingers that they work!

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  7. Hi Jessica,

    I have just stumbled upon your blog, and my first impression is that I finally found what I’ve been looking for for many months.

    I follow a diet based on the glycemic index and wholesome ingredients (Montignac diet).
    I’ve always tried to prepare low-fat cakes (generally vegan) using whole wheat flour, but they have always come out as bricks… they were not fluffly or airy.

    Do you think I could replace arrowroot starch? I don’t know if it low-glycemic or not… Maybe soy flour, chickpea flour, guar gum, gluten?
    Also, I wonder what is the purpose of tofu in the recipe… does it act like a fat replacer? I really like the idea of increasing the protein contents in dessert recipes and I love tofu.

    Thanks for your help and time!

    Javi

    • I’m so glad you found my blog! Arrowroot starch is not considered low carb or low glycemic, but a very small amount is used in the recipe. The glycemic index of this cake is on the lower side because of the healthy fats, fiber and protein, which all slow digestion and absorption. The arrowroot starch helps provide a lighter and fluffier cake, so if you were to replace it the texture might be a little bit harder, which is undesirable in a cake. I wouldn’t recommend soy flour or chickpea flour because those ingredients absorb quite a bit of liquid.
      I would recommend replacing the arrowroot starch with more whole wheat pastry flour and adding another 2 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce to the recipe. Also, if you are concerned about the glycemic index of the cake, I would also recommend replacing the pure cane sugar with coconut sugar (low glycemic) or maple sugar (also low glycemic).
      The tofu in this recipe acts as an egg-/butter-replacer and binder 🙂
      Hope you like the cake!
      -Jess

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  9. I enjoy your site but could you also add a gluten free option? 

  10. I would never know its healthy! Yum!

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