Sweet & Healthy Carrot Cake
Carrots with cream cheese sounds unappetizing at first. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is an entirely different story. It’s almost magical how two seemingly incompatible ingredients, when combined with the right amounts of sugar and flour, morph into one of our favorite dessert recipes.
Carrots were first used in cakes in the Middle Ages, when sugar was scarce, and the sweet vegetable was able to add both texture and flavor. Nowadays, we still love carrot cake for the sweetness, and we can also appreciate the added benefit of vitamin A and beta-carotene in our dessert. Not many treats can claim that.
Here are some of our favorite carrot cake recipes, each of which showcases the moist, crumbly cake beautifully while also giving some new twists. We’ve got a great quick-and-easy recipe that uses gluten-free cake mix and another one for gingered carrot cake. For the more adventurous cook, we love the individual spiced carrot cakes with candied carrots as a garnish. We’ve even got a carrot cake trifle that dazzles in both presentation and taste. For the truly health-conscious, we have a recipe featuring not only carrots, but also crushed pineapple. It really is amazing what happens when you take carrots our of your salad and put them into your dessert!
This layer cake serves 12 to 14 people, making it perfect for a party. Your guests will love the smoky sweetness vanilla gives the classic cream cheese frosting.
Carrot cake, meet fruitcake. This clever variation on the classic adds both dried fruit and zingy fresh ginger for a exciting new flavor combination. Don’t worry if you can’t find fresh ginger; ground ginger is a fine substitute.
Gluten-free cake mix makes this recipe great for people with food allergies. We love the pecans for crunch, and adding coconut gives the cake even more texture and flavor.
These individual cakes are both beautiful and sophisticated. Candied carrots replace traditional frosting, and the use of star anise and allspice in the cakes themselves gives the cakes a complex, exotic flavor.
Trifles are a great make-ahead dessert, and this version doesn’t disappoint. With fresh pineapple and orange rind alongside an easy carrot cake mix, the bright, fresh flavors of this trifle are perfect for summertime.
Non-fat buttermilk and crushed pineapple ensure this cake is as moist and flavorful as the original, though it comes in at just 342 calories. Though butter is excluded from the cream cheese frosting in this version, it still comes out light, and pairs especially well with toasted coconut as a garnish.
Don’t stop now. Make these other healthy dessert recipes!