Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Make It Natural: Carrot-Oat Cake

By Alana Sugar, March 24, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
2686_carrot_oat_cake Carrot cake is a big hit any time of the year, but especially in the springtime. Yet a slice of traditional carrot cake with cream cheese frosting could pack more than 450 calories and almost 30 grams of fat — definitely something to consider before taking a bite! Susan, a Whole Story reader, requested a healthy carrot cake recipe, and we hopped (like an Easter bunny) to the challenge. First off, we decided to simplify things and make a straightforward square cake — a single layer, without frosting. Our version isn’t meant to replace that typical triple-layer, frosted-to-the max carrot cake. Instead, ours is more of a delicious snack that you can feel good about! Old-fashioned rolled oats and whole wheat pastry flour team up for a hearty texture while currants, coconut and maple syrup complement the natural sweetness of the carrot. You can check out our complete recipe, as well as leave comments and ratings, on our Carrot-Oat Cake recipe page. Here’s how we chose the ingredients for our makeover:
  • Whole wheat pastry flour (instead of refined and processed white flour) made from whole grain wheat is a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese, along with some magnesium too. Make this substitution in all of your baked goods!
  • Old-fashioned rolled oats contribute hearty flavor as well as texture. And this whole grain ingredient is a good choice for added protein, soluble fiber, vitamin B1, manganese, selenium, magnesium and phosphorus.
  • Walnuts are naturally packed with omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, important for supporting healthy brain, immune and nervous system function. They also provide dietary fiber and manganese, not to mention texture and rich flavor.
  • Currants, unsweetened coconut and pure, real maple syrup enhance the carrot’s natural sweetness. Remember, even real maple syrup still contains sucrose (sugar) just like most sweeteners, so it should be used in moderation.  However, unlike processed, refined sweeteners, it does have some good things going for it, such as calcium, potassium and even small amounts of other minerals.
  • A standard carrot cake is made with plenty of oil and/or butter, and the frosting includes cream cheese, butter and plenty of sugar.  Our version doesn’t have any of that! Its moistness comes from the carrots themselves, and the addition of coconut and walnuts lends a slightly rich, delicious flavor.
All this adds up to a simple, easy-to-prepare little cake with 3 grams of fiber, just 6 grams of fat (from the nuts and coconut) and only 190 calories per serving. Did you miss the recipe link above? Here is the complete Carrot-Oat Cake recipe. Got a recipe that needs a natural makeover? Post it in the comments section below! If we select your recipe and publish the improved version on our website, we’ll send you a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card.
Category: Make It Natural




b.woz says ...
The link to the recipe page is broken. i need to make those! they look amazing. can you fix the link so i can get fix that cake? thnx.
03/24/2010 7:27:46 AM CDT
paig292 says ...
@b.woz Thanks for the heads up! We got it fixed and you should be able to get to the recipe now.
03/24/2010 8:21:12 AM CDT
Christina Eckhart says ...
Can I make this recipe as carrot cake muffins? That way they're already take-along sized. Recipe makeover ideas: Spinach Artichoke Dip Macaroni and Cheese Chocolate Cake Chocolate Chip Cookies
03/24/2010 8:37:32 AM CDT
Lori says ...
Sounds delicious. However, I am avoiding wheat (sensitivity) and I wonder if you know if another flour would work just as well, such as coconut flour?
03/24/2010 8:50:47 AM CDT
Karla Armendairz says ...
Hi Whole Foods! I was wondering if there is a healthy version of marshmallows available? I have looked but haven't been lucky. thanks so much! You guys are fabulous!
03/24/2010 8:57:47 AM CDT
hsiaw says ...
Hey Lori, we did not develop this recipe with a gluten-free alternative in mind; however, we encourage you to experiment to see what works best for you. To start off, it might be easiest to substitute a gluten-free bake mix designed to mimic all-purpose flour in place of the whole wheat flour. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
03/24/2010 1:21:50 PM CDT
hsiaw says ...
Hey Karla, some of our stores carry a vegan variety of marshmallows, as well as varieties made from all natural ingredients. While they should still be consumed in moderation, these options are better alternatives to conventional marshmallows.
03/24/2010 1:22:57 PM CDT
Rose says ...
Re: Gluten Free I have been making gluten free muffins, cookies, etc. that people can't tell are different from the usual wheat flours. For most recipes I have been able to substitute a mix of garbanzo, brown rice & tapioca flours and just doubling the amount of baking powder. If you use the amount of baking powder called for in a regular recipe that end product seems to be heavy and dense. Good luck in exploring gluten free.
03/25/2010 9:40:42 AM CDT
Erica G. says ...
@Christina Eckhart - Carrot Cake muffins sound great! I might actually try that. Recipes to makeover: Traditional take-out stir fry Brownie or Blondie bars Pizza Traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich Rice Crispy's bars Traditional Pasta Salad
03/27/2010 10:00:12 AM CDT
Karina says ...
I have a recipe for gluten free, fat-free, sugar free banana nut bread, that i would love to share. But how about you try you hand at making over banana bread.
03/27/2010 1:52:29 PM CDT
Sowmya Palam says ...
That sounds delish! I love brownies and am always looking for healthier alternatives and here's one for the $25! ;) Healthier Fudgy Brownies: 1/2 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla greeek yogurt 1 large egg 2 egg white 1 cup organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar 1/2 tsp fine sea salt 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp instant coffee granules 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional) It has lesser calories than traditional brownies and healthier fats! Cheers, Sowmya
03/27/2010 10:36:05 PM CDT
Laura says ...
This is a great recipe and was a big hit!!
03/28/2010 9:54:13 AM CDT
Leesh says ...
How about an easy Lasanga make over,or how about a good hearty, healthy dinner roll
03/29/2010 12:41:21 PM CDT
Sandra Moore says ...
Does anyone have a natural makeover for Cappuccino Brownies? Here's the original- CAPPUCCINO BROWNIES 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped 1 1/2 stick butter 2 T. instant espresso dissolved in 1 T. boiling water 1 1/2 c. sugar 2 t. vanilla 4 large eggs 1 c. all purpose flour 1/2 t. salt 1 c. walnuts CREAM CHEESE FROSTING 8 oz. cream cheese, softened 3/4 stick butter 1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar 1 t. vanilla 1 t. cinnamon GLAZE- 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate 2 T. butter 1/2 c. heavy cream 1 1/2 T. instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 T. boiling water Make brownie layer. In metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Melt chocolate with butter. and espresso mixture. Stir until smooth. Remove bowl from heat let mixture cool to lukewarm. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs. Stir well. Stir in flour, salt, walnuts. Pour mixture into buttered and floured 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Smooth top. Bake 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes. Cool completely. CREAM CHEESE FROSTING- In bowl mix cream cheese & butter until fluffy. Add confectioners sugar, (sifted) vanilla, cinnamon, beat frosting, spread over brownie layer. Chill for 1 hour. GLAZE- In a metal bowl set over pan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, cream, espresso. Stir until smooth. Remove bowl from heat & let glaze cool to room temperature. Spread over frosting layer, chill brownies. Cover for 3 hours or overnight. Cut brownies while cold. Makes 24. Keep covered and chilled 3 days.
03/30/2010 6:12:37 PM CDT
AnnA says ...
These are delicious. Have made them several times. Carrot cake without the guilt!
04/01/2010 6:43:55 AM CDT
Nadia says ...
Is there a way to make over key lime pie? I'd be much obliged!
04/01/2010 7:39:57 AM CDT
Pam Herrlein says ...
This sounds good....will you be selling the cake as a retail item in your stores? What a good way to try it before baking.
04/01/2010 11:33:04 AM CDT
vaughnm says ...
Product selection and availability varies from store to store, but you can try requesting it at your local one! http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/all/index.php
04/02/2010 8:51:58 AM CDT
Diane M says ...
Banana Walnut Bread • 2 cups flour • 1 tsp baking soda • 1 1/8 c sugar • 1 ⁄2 c vegetable oil (egg whites can be substituted) • 3 ripe medium-large bananas (mashed) • pinch of salt • 1 egg • 1 ⁄2 tsp vanilla extract (not necessary) • 1⁄2 c + 1⁄3 c chopped walnuts Pre-heat the oven to 325. Blend together the flour, ̊baking soda and salt and set aside. In another bowl, mix together the egg, add the egg whites and mashed bananas and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Fold in 1 ⁄2 c chopped walnuts and pour batter into prepared loaf pan (grease with flour). Top batter with remaining 1 ⁄3 c chopped walnuts. Bake for 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pan.
04/12/2010 4:21:32 PM CDT