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  • Monika Getty

Delicious and Nutritious: A Healthier Carrot Cake Recipe

Updated: Mar 30


A while ago on Instagram, I posted a quote from my Mom: "Everything in moderation, including moderation." What I always took this to mean is that while it is good to be moderate in things like eating, drinking, working, playing, resting and just living, every once in a while you need to push moderation aside and indulge yourself a little bit and enjoy the pleasures of life without guilt. I have to admit that while I espouse a healthy lifestyle, every once in a while I do enjoy some chips, some chocolate and the occasional glass of wine while watching one of the British historical dramas I love. I could (and sometimes do) feel guilty about these things, but how bland and boring would life be if we only ate to feed our bodies the basic nutrition needed, if we didn't enjoy our time off by resting and relaxing doing nothing in particular, or if we only drank water and didn't enjoy a good cup of tea or glass of wine? While discipline, especially when it comes to our health, is admirable, enjoying the simple pleasures in life and appreciating the wealth of choices that life has to offer is also a good thing.

Springtime gets us thinking about eating lighter, the prospect of fresh, local fruits and vegetables and being outside more. We go from wanting heavy stews and shepherds pie to wanting more salads, lemon flavoured things (or maybe that's just me), maybe even start barbequing again. Easter usually falls in early spring, and even if it's just a date on the calendar for you, for some reason it makes me crave carrot cake (bunny associations probably). There's nothing like a piece of homemade carrot cake with a bit of cream cheese icing, which is really the only kind of icing I like.

I've tried to tweak my tried and true carrot cake into something a wee bit more healthier, but also a bit indulgent with the cream cheese icing; definitely a nod to "everything in moderation, including moderation" and to my Mom. I hope you enjoy my version of a healthier carrot cake recipe as much as I do.

carrot cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 1 cup all purpose, one cup whole wheat)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

3/4 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups grated carrots

1 cup drained crushed pineapple

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)


1 250 gram (8 oz) package cream cheese

1/4 cup softened butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup icing sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

Grease a 13x9" pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a bowl. In a separate large bowl, mix the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar until smooth. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in carrots, pineapple and nuts. Spread in prepared pan and bake in center of oven for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool completely on a rack.

Icing: With a mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add icing sugar gradually, then maple syrup and beat until smooth. Spread onto cooled cake.

Now normally when sharing a recipe I add a nutritional breakdown so you know how many calories, fat, sugars, etc. are in each piece but I'm not going to do that this time. Sometimes you don't need to know all that so you can just enjoy your piece of cake and cup of tea without the guilt. Happy Spring!

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