Finished healthy carrot cake

EASY AND HEALTHY CARROT CAKE

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This healthy carrot cake recipe is delicious and super easy to make! Growing up, one of my fondest memories of Easter besides the Easter baskets and the Easter egg hunts was my mother’s amazing carrot cake. I knew her carrot cake would be my inspiration behind this lightened-up version of her original carrot cake.

So, I called her for the recipe and I jotted it down knowing that I was going to have to revamp the 2 cups of sugar, oil, and 2 sticks of butter! I love her carrot cake so my goal was to recreate the flavors of that carrot cake without all of the fat! It took 3 test runs but I believe I have nailed it. It is moist, delicious, perfectly balanced, and I promise that it delivers a classic carrot cake without butter or oil.

Also, I have given you two options. You can make this carrot cake with sugar or you can use your favorite sugar alternative. Additionally, you can use light or fat-free cream cheese. I love to give you options! We hope you enjoy this carrot cake this Easter and many more to come!

Why You Will Love This Carrot Cake

  • It is lightened up and made with healthier ingredients.
  • There is no oil or butter in this recipe.
  • The cream cheese frosting is incredibly delicious.
  • This carrot cake is easy to make and turns out moist.
  • You can make a carrot cake loaf, muffins, or cupcakes with this recipe.

Ingredients Needed For Healthy Carrot Cake

Ingredients for healthy carrot cake
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour in this recipe.
  • Sugar: Sweeten this carrot cake with sugar or a 1:1 sugar-free sweetener.
  • Baking Soda & Baking Powder: Use both baking soda and baking powder to allow the carrot cake to come together and rise.
  • Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon adds flavor to this carrot cake.
  • Nutmeg: Add two pinches of nutmeg for flavor.
  • Salt: Add a small amount of salt.
  • Carrots: Buy whole carrots and grate them yourself for this recipe.
  • Eggs: Use two eggs in this recipe.
  • Crushed Pineapple: Use crushed pineapple in its own juice. Drain the juice from the pineapple.
  • Applesauce: Use unsweetened applesauce in this recipe. The applesauce lightens up this recipe instead of using oil or butter.
  • Vanilla: A splash of vanilla extract for flavor. Add vanilla to the batter and the frosting.
  • Cream Cheese: Use light or fat-free cream cheese for the base of the cream cheese frosting.
  • Lemon Zest: Add a small amount of lemon zest to the frosting.
  • Powdered Sugar: Use powdered sugar or a 1:1 sugar-free powdered sugar in the frosting.

What Is Carrot Cake?

Carrot cake is a classic! It is a moist cake made with grated carrots as one of the primary ingredients. This carrot cake is spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg for flavor. Also, it contains crushed pineapple, which contributes to its moist texture. Carrot cake is traditionally topped with cream cheese frosting. We have made a delicious lightened up carrot cake and a cream cheese frosting to go with it! This healthy carrot cake is perfect for Easter or anytime you want!

How To Make Healthy Carrot Cake

Step 1: Grate the carrots, don’t use pre-shredded carrots.

Step 2: Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to a bowl. Then, mix until thoroughly combined.

Step 3: In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients. Add the freshly-grated carrots, whisked eggs, drained crushed pineapple, unsweetened applesauce, and vanilla extract to the bowl. After that, thoroughly mix all the wet ingredients.

Step 4: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little bit at a time. Thoroughly mix until all of the dry and wet ingredients are combined.

Step 5: Lightly spray your muffin pan or loaf pan with oil. Then, pour the carrot cake batter into the muffin pan or loaf pan. If you are making carrot cake muffins with this recipe a 1/4 measuring cup is helpful to evenly distribute the carrot cake batter in the muffin pan. Or, make a carrot cake loaf in a 9×5 loaf pan. Next, bake the carrot cake and let it cool before frosting it.

How To Make The Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting

Step 6: To make the delicious cream cheese frosting, mix the light or fat-free cream cheese, vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and lemon zest until smooth. After that, spread the frosting on top of the carrot cake or use a piping bag.

Ways to Shred Carrots

Shred the carrots yourself for this recipe. Pre-shredded carrots do not provide the same texture in this recipe. Here are two ways to shred carrots:

  • Use a Food Processor: A food processor works well to shred carrots quickly and without a mess.
  • Use a Box Grater: The large side of a box grater works perfectly to grate the carrots for this recipe if you don’t have a food processor.

Expert Tips

  • Shred The Carrots Yourself: Make sure not to buy pre-shredded carrots. It is very important to buy whole carrots and grate them yourself because the consistency of freshly grated carrots is finer and cooks better in the muffin.
  • Drain The Pineapple: Use crushed pineapple in its own juices and make sure to drain the juice before adding the crushed pineapple to the bowl with the wet ingredients.
  • Use Unsweetened Applesauce: Use unsweetened applesauce with no added sugar.
  • Cool Before Frosting: Let the carrot cake completely cool before frosting it.
  • Check If Done: To check if your carrot cake is done and cooked, insert a toothpick into the center. It is done when the toothpick comes out clean.
  • Parchment Liners: If you are making carrot cake cupcakes, we recommend using these parchment paper cupcake liners so the batter doesn’t stick.

How to Store Healthy Carrot Cake

Store this carrot cake with cream cheese frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Bring the carrot cake to room temperature before enjoying it again.

Variations

  • Sweeteners You Can Use: Everyone has different tastes and preferences, so I wanted to give you the option to use sugar or a 1:1 sugar-free sweetener alternative in this recipe.
  • Cream Cheese To Use: You can make the cream cheese frosting with full-fat cream cheese, or for a lighter option, use fat-free or light cream cheese.
  • Powdered Sugar In Frosting: Add powdered sugar to the cream cheese to create the frosting or use a 1:1 sugar-free powdered sugar.
  • Add Nuts: You can add chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds over top of the frosted carrot cake or fold some into the batter.
  • Raisins: You can mix some raisins into the batter or sprinkle them on top once frosted.
  • Make A Loaf Or Cupcakes: You can make a carrot cake loaf in a 9×5 loaf pan with this recipe. Or, you can pour the batter into a muffin pan or cupcake liners to make muffins or cupcakes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Carrot Cake Healthy?

This carrot cake is a healthier alternative to many. There is no butter or oil in this carrot cake. Instead, we used ingredients such as unsweetened applesauce. Also, you can lighten up the cream cheese frosting by using light or fat-free cream cheese.

How Long Does This Carrot Cake Last?

This carrot cake will last up to three days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Can I Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes With This Recipe?

Yes, you can use the batter to make carrot cake cupcakes, muffins, or a loaf. We love making individual carrot cake cupcakes with this recipe and topping them with cream cheese frosting!

More Recipes To Try Next!

If you try this recipe please be sure to leave us a comment and star rating ★★★★★ letting us know how it turns out for you.

EASY AND HEALTHY CARROT CAKE

Recipe by Shawna
4.4 from 31 votes
Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

9

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Calories

135

kcal

This healthy carrot cake recipe is delicious and super easy to make! It is moist, delicious, perfectly balanced, and I promise that it delivers a classic carrot cake without butter or oil.

Cook Mode

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 CUPS all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 CUP sugar or monk fruit

  • 1/2 TSP baking soda

  • 1 TSP baking powder

  • 1 1/2 TSP cinnamon

  • 1/8 TSP nutmeg

  • 1/4 TSP salt

  • 1 1/2 CUPS grated carrots

  • 2 eggs

  • 4 oz crushed pineapple in its own juice

  • 1/2 CUP unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 TSP vanilla extract

  • Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz bar fat-free or light cream cheese

  • 1/8 TSP lemon zest

  • 1 TSP vanilla extract

  • 1/3 CUP powdered sugar or powdered monk fruit

Directions

  • Grate the carrots yourself for this recipe, don’t use pre-shredded carrots, as the texture won’t be the same. First, peel the carrots and then use the large side of a box grater to grate them.
  • Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to a bowl. Thoroughly combine the dry ingredients in the bowl.
  • To another bowl, add the grated carrots, eggs, drained crushed pineapple (don’t add the juice), unsweetened applesauce, and vanilla extract. Thoroughly mix all of the wet ingredients.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients a little at a time. Mix until all of the dry and wet ingredients are combined.
  • Lightly spray your baking pan with oil so the carrot cake doesn’t stick. We like to make carrot cake muffins and use a 1/4 measuring cup to pour the carrot cake batter into the muffin pan. Bake the carrot cake muffins at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. Let them cool before frosting them. Or, make a carrot cake loaf in a 9×5 loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • For the cream cheese frosting, add the light or fat-free cream cheese to a bowl. Then, add the lemon zest, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Mix the ingredients until they are thoroughly combined and the frosting is smooth. Spread the frosting on top of the carrot cake or use a piping bag. Enjoy!

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • The WW points are per serving and this recipe makes 9 servings.
  • WW Points™: 3 points  *if you use a sugar-free sweetener
  • To see your WW Points™ in the WW app for this recipe click here! Or, please manually add the ingredients to the recipe builder.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently. It could vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used.

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Nutrition Facts

9 servings per container


  • Amount Per ServingCalories135
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 1.5g 2%
    • Saturated Fat 0.6g 0%
  • Cholesterol 38mg 13%
  • Sodium 301mg 13%
  • Total Carbohydrate 22.2g 8%
    • Dietary Fiber 1.4g 4%
    • Sugars 3.4g
  • Protein 7.3g 15%

    * The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

    13 Comments

    1. Hi! I follow you on WW. I see this makes 9 servings. I would like to make this as a 2 layer, 8” or 9” cake for Easter. Do I follow the recipe as is or do I need to double it? I’m not a “baker” so not sure how big your 9 servings would be. Thank you!!

      • Hi Kara, Thank you for the support! We are so glad you are here! I would definitely double the recipe in order to make two layers. Also, depending on the thickness of each layer be mindful of the cooking time. I would do the toothpick test for around 25 min and go from there to make sure it does not burn. Also, consider doubling the frosting since you will have a larger cake to cover and you may want to add some frosting between the layers. If you need anything else please let me know. I hope you enjoy it!

    2. Where is a list of ingredient amounts. Can’t see it.

      • Hi Laura, the list of ingredients along with the amounts are on the recipe card. Also, we have a step-by-step recipe tutorial on our YouTube channel that is included in the recipe card. The recipe card with the ingredient amounts is printable as well. Hopefully this helps, let me know if you need anything else!

    3. One way that ‘might’ help readers to know not to use “store bought shredded carrots” is to describe them as “grated” carrots in your ingredients list since stores usually refer to them as “shredded.

    4. Could I do this with gluten free flour?

      • We have not tested this recipe with gluten-free flour, but you could try using gluten-free all-purpose flour in place of the all-purpose flour. However, since there is no gluten, the texture may be different and the batter may not bind together as well. Also, you may need to add more liquid if the consistency of the batter is dry. In that case, you may need to add more unsweetened applesauce. I hope you have a wonderful Easter!

    5. Can I use self rising flour and omit the baking powder and baking soda or still add it?

      • Hello, we have not tested this out. However, since self-rising flour already contains baking powder and salt, you do not need to add any more of those. I would recommend still adding the 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, though. If your 1 ½ cups of self-rising flour contains more than 1 teaspoon of baking powder, it will not be an exact match to our recipe. If there is more baking powder added as a result of using self-rising flour, it may not rise properly. If possible, flour along with baking powder and baking soda will be best so you can control the amounts. If you do give it a try with self-rising flour please let me know what happens.

    6. The muffins came out perfectly using the self-rising flour. They look just as good as a bakery carrot cake muffin. I decorated them with your Delicious cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts. I can’t wait to dig into them tomorrow for Easter. I love your recipes and videos. Keep them coming.

      • Hi Michele, thank you so much for the feedback, that will definitely help other people! I am so happy they worked out with self-rising flour! I hope you have a wonderful Easter, thank you so much for your support!

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