If anyone ever makes the mistake of asking me what my favorite cake is, I can’t help but to burst out in laughter. When it comes to cake, I’m pretty sure that I’ve never met a flavor I didn’t like, but at this time of the year, my cake thoughts drift dreamily to carrot cake. Decadent and sweet, flecked with carrots and nuts with just enough spice and then cloaked in a thick dreamy robe of cream cheese frosting…what’s not to love about that kind of cake? Unfortunately, carrot cake often exceeds the limit in calories, fat, carbs and sugar; it’s notoriously built with a lot of vegetable oil, generous and overflowing handfuls of nuts and a few packs of cream cheese and several sticks of butter. Even I, consummate cake lover that I am, can feel an overwhelming sense of guilt while trying to enjoy a piece and as we all know, nothing ruins a good piece of cake like a little guilt.
To combat that, I decided to give my favorite carrot cake a makeover so that I could enjoy eating it in relative peace. So here it is: carrot cake made super healthy–an achievement in and of itself and so delicious, you’d never know all the oil and sugar were missing. I came up with this by sifting through a few recipe sites, making changes, and adding some frills and delicacies. Here’s to a cake we can all enjoy!
Mel’s Healthy Carrot Cake
Makes 16 servings
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 big pinches of cinnamon
1 big pinch of nutmeg, ginger, and ground cloves
1 small can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1/2 cup of no sugar applesauce
2 Tablespoons robust molasses
juice of one orange
zest of one orange
2 cups of shredded carrots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix together dry ingredients. Add applesauce, eggs, molasses and juice and zest of orange. Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, raisins and walnuts. Pour into a greased bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean (about 35-40 minutes). Set on a rack and cool for 8 minutes; immediately invert onto a cake stand or plate; cool, then ice.
Cream Cheese Icing
4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whip softened cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth and no lumps remain. Smooth onto cake with a spatula. Top iced cake with 1 Tablespoon chopped pistachios and 1 Tablespoon chopped candied ginger.