Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Carrot Cake - A Lighter Version

A long time favourite, carrot cake is the heavy weight of all cakes. I always wanted to stick to the recipe and always felt like I was just ingesting way too much oil in one recipe for my personal taste. After thinking about how to change it up, I decided to cut back on the 1 1/2 cups of oil to 1/2 cup and add in 1/2 cup of applesauce, cut back on the sugar as well as using light cream cheese. Honestly, you wouldn't know the difference.

I took this cake to a party and the praises were all 5 Star with at least 2 people saying it was the very best carrot cake they'd ever tasted. The moral of the story is that you don't have to deny yourself a dessert when you really think about the ingredients.


1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3-4 medium sized)
1 cup raisins
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple (well drained)
1 cup shredded coconut (either sweetened or unsweetened)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (divided)


Oven at 325 F. Bake for 40-50 minutes.
Lightly grease 3 - 9x1 1/2" round baking pans, add a round of parchment or wax paper on the bottom of each pan and lightly grease the paper (trust me this is a critical part of the recipe)

1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl; stir to blend
2. Add eggs, oil, applesauce, shredded carrots and vanilla and beat until well blended.
3. Stir in pineapple, coconuts, raisins and 1/2 cup of nuts. Divide evenly into 3 - 9x1 1/2 inch round baking pans.
4. Cool on baking rack for 5 minutes and then unmold to continue cooling.
5. Frost cake with cream cheese icing and top with remaining nuts. (I put frosting in between each layer quite lightly and then spread the balance over the top and around the cake)

For the Frosting:

3/4 lb. light cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups sifted icing sugar

1. Mix cream cheese and butter until very smooth
2. Add vanilla extract
3. Add in icing sugar and mix to a smooth consistency (3-5 minutes) StumbleUpon


Julia said...

Giz, I'm impressed that your cake turned out so well with all your adaptations. I'm always scared to change up cake recipes because they're much more scientific than savory recipes.

Steph said...

I think 1 1/2 cups of oil is too much too! It gets to the point where more fat isn't better sometimes. I actually like light cream cheese better because the regular stuff is too rich! I'm glad it was such a hit.

Juliana said...

What a coincidence...I just posted mini carrot cupcake...your carrot cake looks yummie, love the idea of adding applesauce, will try next time. Great pictures.

OhioMom said...

I absolutely love carrot cake, and your lower fat version is great .. bookmarking for later :)

Peter M said...

Giz, I adore carrot cake, especially ones stacked THIS tall!

theUngourmet said...

Carrot cake is a the top of my favorite cake list! I really love the flavor or coconut but I don't always like the texture. How do you think the cake would be with coconut milk?

♥Rosie♥ said...

Giz your carrot cake looks beautiful!! I adore carrot cake so this is a perfect bake for me :0)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I'm glad everyone enjoyed the lighter version of your carrot cake Giz. Carrot cake has always been a favourite from those teenage years:D

grace said...

making a lighter version of the cake is a good idea; however, i'd quicker render that irrelevant by eating much more frosting. it'd be justified, right? :)

kat said...

That does sound like a great way to make this cake a little lighter

That Girl said...

I love carrot cake. I never notice a difference between light versions and fatty versions, so it might as well be light, right?

Dewi said...

Love carrot cake, though I never made it lighter version. It is something to think about especially if I am already loaded with tons of butter and sugar lately!

Ruth Daniels said...

Definitely will be trying this one, once I finish South Beach Dieting phase II. I love it!