Healthy carrot cake

Healthy carrot cake

healthy carrot cake cross section

Happy weekend, guys! Hope you have some good things planned? We are having our guest bedroom floor sanded on Saturday, whoop whoop. From 8 am in the morning though so that’s less cool, but we are very excited as it means that we will soon have at least one room that’s completely renovated and we will be able to assemble our bed and no longer have to sleep on the floor. Exciting! We will move into the guest bedroom for the time being until we have the energy and money (let’s be real) to renovate the main bedroom.

At the beginning of a new project, I tend to get really enthusiastic and ‘burn bright’, as Duncan lovingly puts it (what he really means is that I am being annoying 😛 ) and this house malarkey was no different. I definitely had an unrealistic expectation as to how quickly we will be able to put our own stamp on this place. In practice, everything is taking ages and with the roof needing an essential and expensive (I’m still mourning this) repair, I am learning to appreciate what every long-time house owner has said to me over the years – taking care of a house is a lifelong project.

So there won’t be new kitchen (or the kitchen extension that I was dreaming of) happening any time soon and I am okay with that. In fact, I am exploring how to turn the existing kitchen (which is perfectly functional) into something I actually like and I have lots of ideas already. It will certainly be more cost-effective, satisfying and environmentally friendly so I am down with all of that.

Although our weekend looks to be fairly uneventful, I’ve baked a cake to celebrate two days off work. Duncan has been working really hard lately so we will probably just sleep in, chill, assemble a bed and go for a run. This is a carrot cake, but with a difference. It’s a deliciously moist and fragrant with spices carrot cake, yet it is oil-free and contains no refined sugar either, which I know that some of you will appreciate. I tested it last weekend on our friends, Melanie and Josh, and while it was a touch dry then (the temperature indicators on my oven have worn out) and the coconut frosting I attempted was not as smooth and creamy as I was hoping – they put brave faces on and hoovered it up.

Now that I finally bit the bullet and put new temperature stickers on my oven (Melanie empowered me with a great tip to wet the surface before applying the sticker so that you can re-position it easily), I did another test and this time the cake was a success – moist, with a good crumb, fragrant with cinnamon and cardamon and topped with a thick and creamy cashew frosting. It’s easy to make and a crowd pleaser so I do hope you’ll make and enjoy it too! x

healthy carrot cake

healthy carrot cake icing

healthy carrot cake pistachios

makes
2 lb / 1kg
PREP
20 min
COOKING
45 min
makes
2 lb / 1kg
PREPARATION
20 min
COOKING
45 min
INGREDIENTS
CARROT CAKE

WET INGREDIENTS

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 210 g / 1¾ cup all purpose flour or GF all purpose flour mix (I use this one)
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon + 1/3 tsp cardamom (5 pods) OR 2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

CASHEW FROSTING (makes 1½ cups)

  • 30-45 ml / 2-3 tbsp coconut milk (I use this brand) or thin plant milk
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup, adjust to taste
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 195 g / 1½ cups raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
  • chopped nuts, for decoration

METHOD
CAKE

  1. Set the oven to 180° C / 355° F. Grease a 1kg / 2lb cake tin with a bit of oil or line it with a piece of baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl mix together maple syrup and almond butter until smooth. Mix in apple sauce (if using chunky, shop-bought apple sauce, I recommend blending it smooth first).
  3. Next, mix in grated carrots.
  4. Place a sieve over the bowl with wet ingredients and sift all dry ingredients through it. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones using a spatula and a gentle clockwise folding motion until no flour pockets remain. If you use wheat flour, be careful not to over mix.
  5. Transfer the batter into the baking tin. Bake for 45 mins (depending on your oven). It’s done when a toothpick comes out fairly clean. Let it cool down completely before removing from the tin and icing.
  6. Once cool, remove from the tin and decorate with chilled frosting and chopped nuts.

CASHEW FROSTING (I recommend making the day ahead!)

  1. Place all the liquids at the bottom of your blender. Start off with 2 tbsp of plant milk, add the 3rd one later (if needed).
  2. Add about half of the drained and rinsed cashews. Blend until smooth, adding more cashews as the mixture gets thicker and thicker.
  3. At some point, the mixture will become very thick and heavy and your blender may struggle to turn. To remedy this, start making circles on the surface of your mixture (in the direction of the turning blades) with a spatula to prevent air pockets forming under the mixture’s surface. Be careful not to dip the spatula in too deep as you don’t want to accidentally touch the turning blades. If you follow the technique I’ve described above, there is enough moisture in this recipe not to have to use any more liquid, which means you’ll end up with a smooth, creamy and thick frosting.
  4. Place the mixture in the refrigerator (or freezer for 30 mins or so if in a rush) for a few hours to firm up.
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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
293
15%
sugars
20 g
22%
fats
12 g
18%
saturates
3 g
13%
proteins
6 g
12%
carbs
42 g
16%
*per serving
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5.0
5 reviews, 30 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Claret:
Hi, I've spotted a small error in recipe step 1. The oven temperature says 180 deg C / 355 deg C. The second "C" should of course be F. I can't see any comments from anyone saying they incinerated the cake(!) and domestic ovens don't go up that high anyway. However for the sake of accuracy would you mind correcting this? Thank you.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Claret,
    Thanks for letting me know, I shall correct now although I am pretty sure most people instantly know it's simply a typo! Ania
Elizabeth Crewe:
Absolutely divine! I added chunks of mango and orange juice instead of maple syrup. Worked a treat.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Elizabeth! Delighted that you enjoyed it. I love the sound of your additions and impressed by the fact that you dispensed with sugar all together - I can only dream of this level of willpower ;) x Ania
Gina:
Hi, I’d like to try this recipe as it looks delicious. What could I substitute for the apple sauce? I’m dairy , egg free.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Gina,
    You should be fine to use the same volume of ripe mashed up banana (if you don't mind the flavour), pineapple puree or a vegan yoghurt should work well too, but as their moisture content may differ a little form apple puree, you may need to adjust the baking time. Hope this helps! x Ania
Anne:
I had totally forgotten which Carrot Cake recipe i previously used, so today I decided to go for this one! What I like most about these recipes is (apart from that they are REALLY good) that we automatically always have these ingrediënts.
My friend who came over for my almost no-visit corona birthday enjoyed it very much, and so did I!
Thanks again for your great recipes. I look forward to a possible future of lazycatkitchen recipe books to gift to people.
Love from the Netherlands, Groningen.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Anne,
    Aw, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm so happy to hear that both you and your friend enjoyed this cake! And thank you for your book writing encouragement, I am thinking about it but I don't feel ready to take the plunge yet. Maybe one day...Stay safe and full of cake ;) x Ania
Can I swap almond butter for peanut butter?
Mari:
I made this cake, it took more flour, and less liquid, and still the dough was liquid... have your nuts been ground into flour? or shredded? I can't understand the reason for the liquid test
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Mari,
    I must say I don't understand what you are asking me - what liquid test? Please follow the recipe as stated - not every cake batter is the same so there is no need for extra flour if all the ingredients are measured correctly, trust me. This cake contains no nuts other than the ones in the frosting. I would love to help but not sure what the issue is. Ania
Anastasiia:
Thank you !)))))
It’s so tasty!!))
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Anastasiia! So happy to hear that you enjoyed this cake and thanks for taking the time to let me know! Ania
Sara:
How would you recommend storing this. Also my cake is too dense I don’t know what I’m doing wrong
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Sara,
    The best way to store a cake is in an air-tight container or under a glass cloche (so that it doesn't dry out) in the fridge. Density problem might be due to inaccurate measuring of the flour, for example. It can happen when ppl use cups rather than scales. Or it could have been overbaked - oven runs high, too long in the oven. Hope this helps! Ania
Candice:
What's a good replacer of all-purpose flour/wheat flour for this? Will almond flour work?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Candice,
    If you are after a gluten-free option, a good GF flour mix (containing a few flours including starches) like I tested this one should work well. Otherwise perhaps oat or buckwheat flour (although I have not tested it in this particular case) and a flax egg to keep it together. I don't think that almond flour on its own will cut it though as it's not really a flour and therefore may need some adjustments to the recipe's liquid content unless you feel like risking it. Ania
Lynne:
Hi Ania
I was thinking about trying this in muffin tins so that I get individual servings. How long do you reckon I should cook them for? Thanks
with best wishes
Lynne
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lynne,
    My guess is 25-30 minutes, but keep on checking with a toothpick from 25 minutes onwards. Hope that helps! Ania
Lynne:
I forgot to add a star rating!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Lynne - much appreciated! x Ania
Lynne:
I made this the other day and added a handful of sultanas to the mix. It was really delicious and had a fantastic texture.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Lynne! I am so happy to hear that! x Ania
Silvi:
Hi Ania,
I did it and it was a hit (as usual with your recipes). I just substituted the tahini/almond butter with cashew butter because that's what I had on hand. Really light, moist crumb and complex flavour thanks to the cardamom. I served it with coconut whipped cream and everybody loved it.
I can always depend on you, thank you! :-D
    Ania
    Ania:
    I am delighted to hear that, Silvi! And thank you for taking the time to leave me such nice feedback too! Much appreciated! Ania
Laura:
I have a question, do you have any recommendations for coconut milk brands in the UK for coconut cream? Everytime we try it splits straight away!
Thank you :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Laura,
    The only brand I use is Aroy-D - it contains only just coconut and water and it does not split for me, ever! Also, you want to minimise splitting in general, heat up your coconut milk gently before adding it to something hot. Hope that helps! Ania
Laura:
This looks delicious! But I can't eat apples, do you think dairy free yogurt would work instead?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Laura,
    I have not tried in this case, but I am fairly confident it would work just as well. Hope you'll enjoyed it. Ania
Eve:
Hmm, this sounds wonderful. We're having an afternoon tea next week and this sounds perfect for it :) Thank you
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure :) I hope you'll enjoy it! x Ania
Anne:
This looks delicious! I’m wondering what an alternative glaze or icing might be, since we have nut allergies here. Does it need the frosting?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Anne,
    It's up to you. It is nicer with a frosting, I think, but you can do without it also. What I would do is to serve it with a dollop of thick coconut (I assume you are not allergic to coconut) yoghurt. It's will provide a nice tangy and creamy flavour and texture contrast. You could then spoon some finely chopped candied ginger (in syrup) on the slices just before serving for some extra sweetness. I hope that helps! Ania
carol:
Looks delicious! I'll try it tomorrow. Thank you x
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Carol. I hope you'll like it! Ania
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