Carrot cake is a family favorite dessert. We have found a vegan alternative for carrot cake and have made it for years, but for a while now I have been wondering if I can make it even healthier. So off to the kitchen I went and this deliciousness was born!
- Key highlights of this carrot cake:
- Made with oats for the flour– a whole grain. One cup of all-purpose flour has 442 calories, 12.4 grams of protein, 3.38 grams of fiber; whereas, one cup of oats has oats has 307 calories, 10.7 grams of protein, 8.18 grams of fiber.
- Sweetened with dates– a healthy, whole food sweetener because it’s just fruit! One cup of sugar has 774 calories and 0 grams of fiber; whereas, 1 cup of pitted dates has about 415 calories and 11.8 grams of fiber.
- Prepared with pumpkin puree– a great alternative to oil. Some carrot cake recipes call for a significant amount of oil (which is just pure fat- there is no fiber or protein which is why it’s not considered a whole food. An avocado vs. avocado oil have significantly different nutritional profiles because the oil has been processed to be just the fat). Some carrot cake recipes call for at least 1 cup of oil! One cup of canola oil has 1930 calories, 218 grams of fat, 0 grams of fiber; whereas 1 cup of pumpkin puree has 79.2 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 6 grams of fiber. A significant nutritional profile.
- Glazed with a delicious cashew icing– a tasty whole food alternative to traditional cream cheese, butter, and sugar frosting that is commonly found with carrot cake recipes.
For one serving of this cake (1/8th of the cake) there is 280 calories, 11. 8 grams of fat (mainly from the nuts), 6.4 grams of fiber, and 7.6 grams of protein. I calculated two other carrot cake recipes online (not vegan and not whole foods) and found that they have 827-868 calories, 45.6 – 54 grams of fat (from butter, cream cheese, oil, eggs, and nuts), 1.88-3 g of fiber, and 7.4- 9 g of protein. What a drastic difference! This version is one third of the calories, ¼ of the fat (and it’s all from healthy fats), and 2 times the fiber. Plus, this isn’t even looking at the amount of added sugar. I can guarantee that would be much higher in the internet recipes compared to this one here, as this recipe is made without added sugars (fruit is not considered an added sugar).
The biggest take away is that this carrot cake is packed with wholesome ingredients, loads of fiber, and healthier fats than your traditional carrot cake recipes. It actually tastes great too, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth and keep aligned with your health goals!
This carrot cake is naturally sweetened with my preferred sweetener, dates! It’s also made with oat flour, so it’s naturally gluten free. It’s topped with a vanilla cashew cream, that is incredibly tasty! Due to the nature of the ingredients, this carrot cake might be more dense than a standard carrot cake recipe. But that hasn’t stopped this carrot cake from being well-liked by both veg eaters and non-veg eaters alike. My little nieces and nephews also approved of this cake, which makes me happy too!
Now, if only I could find a way to replace the baking soda and baking powder—then this would be the ultimate healthy carrot cake. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a way to replace that in my baking. If anyone knows how to replace these in baked goods, let me know!
- 2½ cups rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 3 cups shredded carrots
- ¾ cups dates (or about 10 medjool dates), pits removed
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup cashews
- ¼ cup dates, pits removed
- 1/2 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Add the oats to a blender and blend until the oats turn into a fine flour. Pour the oats into a bowl and add the baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir together and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk. Set aside while the milk curdles.
- If the carrots are not already shredded, shred the carrots and set aside.
- In a blender, combine the dates, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and the milk. Blend the mixture until smooth, then pour over the oat flour and stir together. Fold in the shredded carrots and chopped walnuts, if using.
- Line a 8x8 glass baking dish with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan and spread out evenly. Bake the cake for 40 minutes. Put a tooth pick in the cake to see if it’s ready. If it's not ready, bake for 5-10 more minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, allow the cake to cool.
- To make the frosting, combine the vanilla, cashews, dates, and water in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth.
- Frost the cake once the cake has completely cooled. Top with additional chopped walnuts or cinnamon, if desired. Store the cake in the fridge until it’s ready to be served. Enjoy!
- *Feel free to double the frosting if you want more.