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.