A More Wholesome Take on Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Sometimes a good old-fashioned carrot cake chock full of granulated sugar, canola oil and white flour and topped with cream cheese frosting is just the cake to celebrate a special occasion, but other times, a slimmed down version is what’s called for. Such was the case last week when I was looking for a recipe that had low or no sugar so Sam’s dad, who is diabetic, could enjoy it as a treat.

When I searched for “no sugar added carrot cake” on Google, I was directed to diabetic recipes that simply substituted the regular sugar with Splenda or another sugar substitute. I didn’t know much about the effect of sugar substitutes on diabetes, but I knew I wanted to take a more natural approach and not use sugar substitutes.

I was about to make a carrot cake and simply leave out the sugar, knowing full well that this would undoubtedly affect the tenderness and texture of the cake. It would be the first in a series of experimental cakes until I found a good solution to my no-sugar-added goal.

Luckily, I didn’t have to experiment at all. I found a Carrot Cake recipe on Heidi Swanson’s blog “101 Cookbooks” that uses bananas and dates instead of sugar to sweeten the cake slightly. Not only that, the recipe calls for whole grain pastry flour instead of white flour—an added bonus.

Sam’s dad liked the carrot cake and was happy to finally partake in dessert with the rest of us. Sam, his mom and I were equally pleased with the cake. This cake is not very sweet, so don’t expect it to taste like the traditional sugar-loaded carrot cake. We also found that the flavor and texture improved on the second day, meaning this is a great make-ahead item.

I’ve included a list of the ingredients below in case you’re curious what else goes into the cake. For the recipe, check out “101 Cookbooks.”


whole wheat pastry flour
baking powder
fine grain sea salt
unsalted butter
dried dates
ripe bananas
grated carrots
plain Greek yogurt

5 Thoughts on “A More Wholesome Take on Carrot Cake

  1. Megan Langford on July 6, 2011 at 5:37 PM said:

    Looks awesome! I may have to make some, even though that means turning on my beast of an oven and heating up the whole apartment!

  2. Michelle on July 6, 2011 at 10:25 PM said:

    I’m glad he could enjoy it!

  3. Erica on July 6, 2011 at 10:30 PM said:

    Cool- and I love that it uses Greek yogurt too… Love that stuff!

  4. Mmm… yum! A healthier carrot cake? Brilliant!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. andrealein on July 7, 2011 at 1:48 PM said:

    @Megan: Ha ha! I think this cake is worth turning on the oven. :) Hope you enjoy it if you make it!

    @Michelle: Yes! Most of the time Sam’s dad can’t eat what we’re eating for dessert, so it was definitely nice he could eat it.

    @Erica: Greek yogurt IS amazing stuff. :) What are your favorite ways to use it?

    @Katy: Gracias, Senorita! ;)

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