healthy maple carrot sheet cake
This insanely delicious healthy carrot cake is only 254 calories per serving, and it is so sweet and moist and loaded with carrots, raisins, walnuts and pineapple. It is totally refined-sugar free. It has a simple maple cream cheese and coconut frosting that you can make without a mixer.
And the best part is the maple and fruit and carrots make this easy carrot cake so incredibly moist!! It keeps in the fridge for days and it is even better on day two so it is a great make-ahead dessert for a large group.
Phew, that was a lot to get into a teaser wasn’t it?
I am not going to even attempt to be humble about this recipe. Because this healthy carrot cake has got it goin’ ooooonnnnn! And I have some major bragging to do about it.
This maple carrot sheet cake is top shelf, my healthy recipe loving people. I’m putting it on the Best of List, and mark my words, if you are/were one of the people who was fanatical about my maple sweetened pumpkin chocolate chip bread, you will also become fanatical about this homemade carrot cake.
You may just end up calling it “my carrot cake.” As in, “I can bring my famous carrot cake.” Like, the one you’re known for that is so good people ask you for the recipe. Just sayin’, it’s going to happen. 😉
Okay. So let’s talk recipe notes, shall we?
How to Make This Healthy Carrot Cake
1. For best results measure your flour the way I do. When I worked in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, we measured our flour in the following manner: Stir the flour with a spoon to fluff it up. Then spoon it into a dry measuring cup. Next level it off with a knife. This method does not require a kitchen scale, something which many home cooks do not have. I’m not saying that this way is necessarily “right” and other ways are wrong. I am saying that in order for your results to be like mine we should measure our flour the same way. That way, as long as you always do this, and I do too, we should get the same results. Sound like a plan?
2. I use white whole-wheat flour because it is just as nutritious as regular whole-wheat flour but has a less pronounced flavor, which works well in baking. You can order it from King Arthur Flour.
3. I use a blend of spices for classic carrot cake flavor. Sometimes using spices overwhelms the flavor of maple, but in this case I felt it was important to have a balance of warm spices.
4. I tested this recipe several times, and I tried to make it with butter, coconut oil and avocado oil. I ended up going with avocado oil because it was the best texture on day one. And it was also good when the cake was refrigerated on subsequent days. The saturated fat in the butter and coconut oil made the cake dry when cold. I also ended up increasing the amount of oil to one full cup which is a lot for one of my recipes, but this serves 24 people, so you end up getting less than a tablespoon of oil per serving.
5. I used dark pure maple syrup from our family maple syrup business, Little Hill Sugarworks. It gives the best strongest maple flavor. You can read more here about why the way we make our maple syrup is better and order a bottle to try for yourself.
6. I added a ton of goodies to this cake. I wanted this to be chock full of carrots and other classic carrot cake additions like raisins, nuts and pineapple. I really love that there is some in every bite! Tip: for better flavor toast your walnuts before stirring them into the batter. That will increase the flavor even more.
7. I used an 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple. Make sure you drain it well folks. Do this in a fine mesh sieve to get the liquid out. Otherwise the cake will have too much water in it and it won’t rise correctly.
8. I used a splash of Maple Sapling Liquor. It is made from pure maple syrup and boosts the maple flavor of the cake. If you cannot find it, you can use dark rum or you can skip it if you prefer.
9. This frosting is amazingly easy and delicious. By using whipped cream cheese, you don’t even need to soften the cream cheese or use an electric mixer. You can mix it by hand with a silicone spatula! I’ll admit that there is not a ton of frosting, but I was trying to shave calories off of the cake. I asked my tasters if they wanted more frosting and they said no. The good news is that means each serving is only 254 calories! If this is a special occasion, you’re interested in more frosting and you are not super concerned about the calories you can double the frosting and you’ll have a very generous amount.
Don’t miss this Ultimate Guide to Carrots!Print
This healthy carrot cake is only 254 calories per serving, and it is so sweet and moist. Loaded with carrots, raisins, walnuts, and pineapple.
For the cake
- 1 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cup pure maple syrup, dark or amber
- 1 cup avocado oil or organic canola oil
- 2 tablespoons maple liquor or dark rum, optional
- 2 cups shredded carrots, from about 3 medium peeled carrots
- 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained through a fine mesh sieve
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
For the Frosting
- 8 ounces whipped cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons (granulated) maple sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons toasted unsweetened coconut for garnish, optional
- Make Cake: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves in a medium bowl.
- Beat eggs, maple, avocado (or canola oil) and liquor in a large bowl until completely combined. Add carrots, pineapple, raisins and walnuts and stir to combine. Add the flour mixture and stir until completely moistened. Spread batter in the prepared baking pan and transfer to the oven.
- Bake until the cake is deep brown and set in the center when lightly touched with finger tips, 48 to 54 minutes. Test to make sure cake is done with a toothpick. Moist crumbs will be attached when cake is fully cooked. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack, 45 minutes to an hour.
- Make Frosting: Stir cream cheese, maple sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl with silicone spatula until the maple is completely dissolved. Vigorously beat in coconut oil until it comes together into a smooth thick frosting.
- Immediately spread the frosting over the cake. Top with toasted coconut if using.
- Calories: 254
- Sugar: 17 g
- Sodium: 177 mg
- Fat: 17 g
- Saturated Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 26 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 3 g