This simple healthy carrot cake is made with the classic deliciousness of moist, rich carrot cake without refined flour or sugar.
Hello friends! I can’t believe Easter is THIS weekend! Somehow, I’ve got presents and stuff for an Easter egg hunt even with the move. They are not handmade, they are not uber special, but I got them. It makes me appreciate that I never overdid holidays before KJ wasn’t really old enough to know what was going on. Now I can go gangbusters for the next ten or so years until the boys get too old to care.
Anyways, this spring, I’ve been busy over here bathing in carrot cake recipes. I’m living it up because carrot cake is by far my favorite dessert of all time.
My Oat Flour Carrot Cake Recipe has been very popular this season, so I thought I’d try out a version using a more traditional flour for those who don’t need to avoid gluten. I used white whole wheat flour and was careful to ensure that this recipe is just as moist and fluffy as traditional carrot cake.
Mr. Hungry said it was the best carrot cake he’s had in his whole life, so clearly, I did something right!
At this point, I would consider myself a carrot cake expert and advocate of traditional add-ins—no pineapple or coconut for me. Just carrots, walnuts, and raisins, thank you.
This cake is representative of that simplicity. It’s just one easy layer (if you want more layers, instructions are below) and simple decorations. It’s for those who want something that tastes delicious but is healthier than grocery store carrot cake. But, at the same time, you don’t want to spend six years piping carrots and bunnies on top of the cake that probably won’t look like carrots or bunnies anyway.
If that sounds about right, then this healthy carrot cake is for you!
How to Make Healthy Carrot Cake
I kept this recipe very simple to make. It’s your standard “quick bread” recipe (but don’t worry, it comes out like a cake, not bread!) First, you mix your dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine.
Make sure not to overmix when you combine. What is overmixing? Mixing beyond the point of evenly combining can cause your cake to become VERY crumbly and dry as it disrupts the protein formation and adds too much air. (Look at me pretending to be a real baker, haha. However, I have picked up some tips and tricks over almost a decade of food blogging.)
Then, you’ll fold in your carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Again, be careful to get them incorporated but don’t overdo it. That’s why I like to mix them all in at once. Now, let’s talk swaps and substitutions.
Swaps and Substitutions
White Whole Wheat Flour – You can sub regular whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. Please do not substitute any alternative gluten-free flours. If you are looking for a gluten-free carrot cake, I suggest my UBER popular oat flour carrot cake.
Baking powder, baking soda, and salt – do not omit or substitute.
Spices & Vanilla – feel free to adjust as desired. Just know it will change the flavor of the final cake.
Coconut Sugar – swap regular cane sugar or any other DRY sweetener.
Maple Syrup – swap any other liquid sweetener such as agave syrup or honey.
Unsweetened Applesauce – you could use more oil instead of applesauce. The applesauce cuts down on the oil used while adding a little sweetness.
Coconut Oil – swap butter or palm oil would be the best swaps. You could probably use avocado oil or canola oil, but I haven’t tried it.
You could probably sub two flax eggs, but I haven’t tried it.
Shredded Carrots – make sure to shred your own. Pre-shredded carrots at the store are HARD and yucky in dessert recipes. Trust me. I made that mistake before.
Walnuts – feel free to sub pecans if you are a pecans in carrot cake fan.
Is it even carrot cake if you do something with the raisins?
Cream cheese frosting – if you want to make your own healthy frosting, I suggest the dairy-free version I use on my carrot cake-baked oatmeal. However, I buy my go-to Miss Jones Cream Cheese frosting most of the time and move on!
Can you make this healthy carrot cake in layers?
Yes, you could! You could split the batter between two cake pans for very thin laters (reduce cooking time.) Or you could double or triple recipes to make two or three layers.
Can I use a 9-inch cake pan?
Yes! Your cake will just be wider and thinner. You’ll likely need less baking time as well.
Is Carrot Cake Healthy?
It’s still cake, but this cake is better for you because it’s made without refined flour or sugar. Plus, by themselves, carrots, walnuts, and raisins are very nutrient-dense foods! So don’t make carrot cake your primary source of nutrition, and I think everything will probably be okay there.
MORE CARROT CAKE RECIPES
- Carrot Cake Quinoa Muffins with frosting
- Carrot Cake Greek Yogurt Pancakes
- Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl
- Oat Flour Carrot Cake
- Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
Healthy Carrot Cake
- 1.25 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup freshly shredded carrots do not buy pre-shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 6 ounces cream cheese frosting I like Miss jones Dairy Free Brand
- Preheat the oven to 350F, line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper, and then grease.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.1.25 cup white whole wheat flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, 1/8 tsp ginger, 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- Whisk wet ingredients together.1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until well combined, do not over mix. Fold in carrots, raisins, and walnuts.1 cup freshly shredded carrots, 1/2 cup walnut pieces, 1/3 cup raisins
- Add to the cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool completely, transfer to a serving platter, and add frosting. Garnish with walnuts around the perimeter of the cake and one in the center.6 ounces cream cheese frosting