Say hello to the most delicious AND healthiest carrot cake you’ll ever meet.
For Father’s Day, the most obvious thing for me to do was bake my dad his favorite cake–carrot loaded with raisins.
Are we actually related?
One of the greatest feelings ever is when things turn out better than you expected, and this cake definitely delivered. Not only is it pretty (at least in my opinion), but it’s pretty darn healthy, too. As chronicled previously, my family is pretty intolerant when it comes to decadent desserts. But if there was ever a best of both worlds situation…this is it.
This cake recipe was drawn from a bunch of different recipes (like Cooking Light’s), but as far as I know, none of them are similar enough to be considered a direct source. So this JUST might be a Bianca original (excitement!).
I’ve never done this before, but I was curious about the nutrition facts. For the cake:
And the cream cheese frosting:
Compare this to Pillsbury Cream Cheese Frosting, which contains, per tablespoon (15 g):
3 g fat, 1 of which is trans fat
11 grams sugar
I’d say that’s pretty awesome. Compared to the typical cream cheese frosting recipe loaded with full-fat cream cheese and butter, this one is downright angelic. It is low-fat AND has a punch of protein from the Greek yogurt.
The one downside is that the addition of yogurt makes this a little softer than your average frosting, so pipe at your own risk. Swirling is the way to go.
Now if you are actually paying close attention, you might see some odd things going on here. First of all, that second picture of the slice of cake up there is single layered. And this cake right above us is cut down the middle. Why? Okay, full disclosure: I was being tricky. But only because my dad is picky.
Literally almost nothing passes his approval–things are too sweet, too dry, too everything. Frosting usually falls under the “my teeth hurt from this” category. As usual, I wanted my cake to be as pretty as it was delicious, but didn’t want to risk it all going uneaten if the frosting rendered it over the top sugary.
Obviously, I knew that the cream cheese frosting would be fabulous. But since it was father’s day and all…I decided to make half of the recipe into a frosted 2-layer cake and half into a plain sheet cake. I made the layer cake by cutting one layer in half and stacking them on top of each other!
Of course once my dad tasted the full cake and frosting combo, he conceded. Which I knew would happen all along…at which point I smothered frosting on the rest of the cake.
Moral of the story? Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting were made for each other. And if you find yourself with way too much cake than you need in the house, don’t let that keep you from making it. This is a sneaky way to have your pretty layer cake and eat it too 🙂
By the way, major accolades for this Father’s Day cake from the father himself. And that’s saying a lot.
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups shredded carrots
3/4 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 2 9-inch round cake pans. (I like to grease, lay down parchment paper, and flour, just for good measure)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, and applesauce until very smooth. Stir in flour mixture and mix only until just combined, with no streaks of flour remaining. Stir in carrots and raisins.
- Pour batter into prepared pans and spread into an even layer.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Mine were done at 25.
- Cool cake on wire rack (cake can be cooled in the pan or turned out; I cooled in the pan).
- Frost once it is completely cooled.
Lighter Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package Neufchâtel (⅓ less fat) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (or more, depending on your taste)
- Whip those babies up!
This might be just about enough for the whole cake, depending on your preferred frosting to cake ratio. But if you love your frosting (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t) I’d double it just to be safe.
I sprinkled some walnuts around the edges, but if I really had more time to decorate it exactly how I wanted…I’m going to confess that it’s always been a little dream of mine to make those tiny frosting carrots.