Whole Grain Carrot Spice Cake
Yields: about 12 servings Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hour
Reminiscent of a traditional carrot cake, this cake has many healthy swaps with ground oats and whole wheat flour, as well as applesauce and avocado oil replacing some sugar and added fat. A perfect combo of health and taste!
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground old fashioned oats (or oat flour)
3/4 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves
1 cup shredded carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
1/4 cup avocado oil
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup Neufchatel (1/3 less fat) cream cheese
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grind oats in a coffee grinder, or simply use oat flour. I prefer the grinder as I don’t have to buy separate oat flour and the oats are a bit fresher when ground on the spot.
3. Using a box grater on the smallest side, grate 1 cup of carrots.
4. In a bowl combine whole wheat flour, ground oats, cane sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and cloves. Mix until well combined.
5. Add in shredded carrots, avocado oil, eggs and applesauce and mix well.
6. Pour batter in a lightly greased (I simply use a light coating of avocado oil) 8 x 8 dish.
7. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until cake is cooked all the way through. Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting (otherwise frosting will just melt).
8. For the frosting, combine powdered sugar, cream cheese and maple syrup in a bowl and whip with a hand electric mixer.
9. When the cake is cooled, coat the top of the cake with the frosting. Store in the refrigerator.
I’m always looking for a dessert to bring to gatherings that is still somewhat healthy, yet is filled with flavor so others enjoy as well. This cake is a perfect compromise! Truly reminiscent of a traditional carrot cake, this dessert has so many healthy swaps, it boasts quite a bit of nutrition as well. Ground oats take the place of bleached white flour, and whole wheat pastry flour fills the spot where oats end. Unsweetened applesauce replaces sugar as well as added oil. And speaking of oil, avocado oil is used instead of butter or other fats that aren’t as heart healthy.
Of course there is still sugar, as it is cake. Yet, it really reflects my personal eating habits of not depriving ourselves of fat and sugar, and really focusing on healthy swaps. A cup of carrots provides fiber and antioxidants that naturally add nutritious elements. The spices add just enough of a kick to give a toasty flavor, but not too overwhelming for sensitive palates.
Overall, this dish is a great one to enjoy as a family dessert and also has enough of a special flare to serve to company – and still keeping health in mind!