I love carrot cake. I’m not a huge sweets-person and most things that others enjoy for dessert I find too sweet. My husband looks at me cross-eyed most of the time when I say this – it simply doesn’t compute for him. I’m also not a fan of chocolate (I know, blasphemy!). So when it comes to a dessert, I really prefer spiciness and richness over cloying sweetness.
Enter, The Carrot Cake. Except that most carrot cakes only nod at nutrition – they have carrots and that’s about all it for “healthy contents.” I had a hankering for carrot cake last week after seeing carrot cupcakes in the grocery store and knowing that although they were probably delicious, they weren’t terribly good for me. I’m not really a food-cop to myself or my family, but wanting to stay healthy this year and reduce my inflammation-factor, I try to avoid many processed foodstuffs. So I came home and started perusing recipes.
Some were nixed because they had the traditional “nod” at health with carrots – others were ditched because they had pineapple in them and I hadn’t picked up any at the store. I finally found a recipe that worked – no pineapple or other things I didn’t have on hand, but I found myself tweaking it quite a bit for leavening-action and density.
The resulting recipe is moist (wow, is it moist!), and dense, but not dense like a brick in your stomach. It’s actually healthy enough to eat for breakfast, and giving in to a bit of sweetness with a fluffy cream-cheese frosting absolutely made this a-maz-ing. Enjoy!
Sue’s Whole Wheat Carrot Cake
- 3 cups grated carrots (a pound of carrots, trimmed & washed = 3 c. packed in my food processor)
- 4 eggs
- 1 c. melted coconut oil
- 2 c. sucanat or brown sugar
- 2 t. vanilla
- 2 c. whole wheat flour
- 4 t. baking soda
- 4 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. sea salt
- 2 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
- 1 cup raisins
Preheat your oven to 350F and wash & cut the ends off of your carrots. I didn’t peel my carrots because they were lovely, but you can peel yours if desired. Grate carrots.
Place wet ingredients (carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla) in the mixer’s bowl and mix well – about 3 minutes on low speed. Gently add flour, a half-cup at a time, until well-incorporated. Add leavening agents, spices & raisins and continue to mix on low for 3 minutes or so.
Grease your cake pan with coconut oil & pour contents in pan (this recipe fills a 9×13 pan readily). Place in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes (set the timer for 40″ and check done-ness with a toothpick) or until completely done. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 stick of butter, softened (but not liquified)
- 1 block of cream cheese (straight from the fridge is fine)
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- 2 t. vanilla
In a stand mixer’s bowl (you can do this with a hand mixer, but it’s more labour-intensive), place butter, cream cheese, & vanilla. Beat on medium speed for a minimum of 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low or “stir” on the mixer and add powdered sugar a half-cup at a time, incorporating well between batches of sugar. Once all the sugar is combined, beat on high for 3 minutes longer. The final texture of the frosting is much lighter, creamier, and tastier than any other cream cheese recipe I’ve tried – and unlike commercially prepared cream cheese frostings, it doesn’t rely on hydrogenated fats to attain its creaminess. If the weather is warm, put the finished frosting in the fridge to allow it to firm up a bit before spreading it, otherwise room temperature is fine.
Spread this frosting on the cooled cake and enjoy.