This Healthy Carrot Cake was born out of necessity. My husband was going through his “I want to be gluten free” phase and I absolutely needed—like truly needed—carrot cake. At that time, I was also experimenting with going “refined sugar free” (why???) and therefore, the cake (not the frosting) has no added refined sugar. I also replaced the vegan butter I would typically include with applesauce. Bottom line, this is probably one of the healthiest cakes I’ve ever developed.
And it still tasted AMAZING.
There used to be a restaurant across the street from my office that was famous for its carrot cake. Each thick slab would be lined with elegant cream cheese frosting, with a mini “carrot” piped on the top. The cake itself was moist and soft and carrot-y and was often times the perfect way to end lunch, before heading back to my billable hours.
The problem with this decadent cake, though, was that it always left me feeling slightly sick to my stomach. Not sure how much of this was caused by heavy frosting or the inevitable “food guilt,” but it was unpleasant enough that I steered clear of the carrot cake most lunches, even if it was my hands down favorite item on their menu.
This Healthy Carrot Cake kinda checks all the boxes—no refined flour, no refined sugar, no dairy, no eggs, no processed fat. Not to mention that it’s full of carrots and cinnamon, both of which will give you a shot of antioxidants. Not sure you can get any healthier than this and still call it a cake?
I am very sensitive to “aftertastes,” which is one of the reasons I cannot STAND using pre-mixed gluten free flours from the store. No matter what brand I used, I could always taste “something” that I shouldn’t. So, I came up with my own simple blend. It usually works out pretty well and it created a very moist and soft carrot cake. I honestly wasn’t expecting much when I decided to create a Healthy Carrot Cake, but was pleasantly surprised with these results.
Now, I didn’t include a frosting in this recipe because it’s hard to keep even this cake “healthy” with frosting. But, if you must have frosting with your carrot cake (I hear ya), I include an optional “frosting” recipe at the bottom. Enjoy!
- 2 Tablespoons vinegar
- 3/4 cup plant milk
- 1 1/2 cup sweet rice flour 170 grams
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup flax meal
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 300 grams shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 2/3 cup golden raisins
- 2/3 cup shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Spray 7-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
- Add vinegar to plant milk and set aside until it curdles.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sweet white rice flour, almond flour, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and raisins.
- Add shredded carrots, coconut, applesauce, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and curdled plant milk to dry ingredients and stir with whisk until well combined.
- Pour batter into cake pan and place into oven. Bake for ~50-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool completely (15-20 minutes) before attempting to remove from pan.
- For cream cheese frosting, add 2 cups of powdered sugar to stand mixer. Add 1 cup of vegan cream cheese + 2 tbsp vegan butter. Mix together on low speed with paddle attachment.