Anytime of year is a good time for carrot cake in my opinion, but it’s especially in-season in the spring. Light, sweet, fresh and healthy, just like a 70 degree day after a long, heavy winter.
This cake is particularly healthy and particularly does not taste like it! It is moist and full of carrot cake flavor–cinnamon, ginger, walnuts, raisins, carrots, pineapple, coconut. YUM!
I recently made it for my husband’s grandmother’s 81st birthday. She can’t have dairy and was beyond thrilled to be able to enjoy a dairy-free cake. The whole family loved it and didn’t even seem to suspect it was “healthy.”
I wanted to make a white frosting for beauty’s sake, but most healthy sweeteners are brown. I used coconut sugar for the frosting, which gives it a darker color, but it is SO GOOD it’s worth it. You could, of course, compromise and use your favorite cream cheese frosting, but this frosting is much healthier and still delicious! The vinegar even adds a little tang like cream cheese.
This recipe makes two 8-inch round cakes, or 12 cupcakes/muffins. You could also easily double the recipe for an elegant 4-layer cake, since the layers are not very tall.
Use strips of wax paper under the cake while you frost it to keep the plate clean.
As for those cute carrot rosettes on top, just use a peeler to make some ribbons. Then roll them up and crowd them together in a small bowl of ice water. After about 10 minutes they will hold their shape pretty well, and the frosting of the cake also holds them in place.
Cupcakes are just as delicious and so cute! I recommend this for an Easter dessert (or breakfast or brunch—it’s healthy enough!), Mother’s Day for those health-conscious mothers in your life, or a regular Monday night. Good luck not eating it all in one sitting!
I’m a big fan of carrot cake things. If you are, too, check these out:
The perfectly moist and sweet carrot cake that is conveniently also full of carrots, pineapple, applesauce, walnuts, coconut and raisins.
- 1.5 cups grated carrot
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained (or 1 cup finely chopped mango + 3/4 cup fruit juice such as apple juice)
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds (optional)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar, maple syrup, or date sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for 30 minutes in hot water
- 1/3 cup coconut cream (thick part at the top of can of full-fat coconut milk)
- 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar (adds tanginess like cream cheese)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 tbsp powdered sugar, powered coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup (You can make powdered coconut sugar by blending up regular coconut sugar)
- 1/8 tsp salt
If making the frosting, start soaking the cashews.
Trace two 8-inch cake pans onto parchment paper and cut out. Line bottoms of pans with parchment and grease the sides. To make 12 cupcakes instead, grease a muffin pan. Set pans aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir wet ingredients together.
In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients, and stir until well-combined. Do not over-stir.
Pour batter evenly into the two cake pans. Bake at 350 for 28-30 minutes, until middle bounces back if you press on it with your finger.
Let cool completely and remove from pans. Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting, or the frosting listed below.
Decorate with chopped walnuts or pumpkin seeds, flaked coconut, grated carrots, or carrot curls.
While cake is baking, combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender or small bullet/twister jar and blend until very smooth. Let chill for 30 minutes, then blend again. The longer it chills, the less runny it will be. This frosting is slightly runny in nature, not ideal for piping, but delicious! Using coconut sugar or maple syrup will make the frosting a light brown color. Honey or regular powdered sugar makes it more white.