by Olena

Easy Healthy Carrot Cake with Greek Yogurt Icing

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Olena Osipov
5 from 85 votes

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Healthy Carrot Cake with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, toasted coconut and walnuts. This carrot cake recipe is moist, tall, has texture, and thick creamy frosting.

For gluten free carrot cake make this scrumptious almond flour carrot cake or healthy carrot cake bars!

Other favorite guilt free desserts we love around here are this healthy chocolate cake, healthy pumpkin cake, and almond flour cake.

Healthy Carrot Cake

Just to prove you that you are staring at the best healthy carrot cake, let me just say this – I was willing to make Instant Pot yogurt 3 weeks in a row for the sole purpose of carrot cake recipe testing.

Perfect carrot cake stands tall, is moist and has texture. Its icing is thick and you can taste the creaminess with every bite. People ask you if they can have your recipe. That’s this healthy carrot cake!

Make it for dessert, eat it for healthy snacks, and come back and tell me how it went. I would love to hear from you!

And last thing. Craving more carrot recipes? Try these healthy carrot muffins, carrot cake truffles, or baked oatmeal bars with carrots.

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe

Ingredients for Healthy Carrot Cake

Simple ingredients you can find in any grocery store:

  • Whole wheat flour (spelt flour): It is crucial you use one these flours. I have not tested the recipe with white whole wheat or pastry whole wheat flours.
  • Greek yogurt: It’s the Greek yogurt that replaces majority of oil that traditional carrot cake recipe call for. Make sure to use one with at least 2% fat content.
  • Maple syrup or honey: Both add moisture and amazing flavour. You definitely will taste honey more. Any liquid sweetener will work.
  • Carrots: Finely grated carrots and not squeezed. Use extra carrots for a breakfast treat in carrot cake baked oatmeal!
  • Eggs, oil and milk: Any light tasting oil like avocado, light olive oil, grapeseed oil will work. Any milk is fine too. These ingredients add moisture and act as a binder.
  • Nuts and coconut flakes: My absolute favourite is a combo of toasted walnuts and coconut flakes that add moisture. Coconut flakes can be long, regular or dessicated. I use unsweetened variety but you can use sweetened and cake will be sweeter. Also on top I sprinkled coconut chips.
  • Powdered sugar: We need only 1/2 cup to make healthy frosting unlike traditional recipes that call for 2 or even 3 cups of icing sugar.
  • Baking essentials: Vanilla extract, cinnamon, baking powder, salt.
healthy carrot cake with carrots whole wheat flour greek yogurt cinnamon maple syrup walnuts and coconut flakes

How to Make Healthy Carrot Cake

Easy healthy carrot cake recipe starts with baking, frosting and serving it all in the same pan. Cake is so moist, you don’t need the frosting between the layers. But you can.

  • Prep for frosting: Start this first. Very well strained and thick Greek yogurt. I recommend to buy yogurt between 2% – 10%. 10% doesn’t need to be strained, it’s almost like cream cheese. The most ideal would be whole milk (3.5%) yogurt, 2% will do well too. Strain it in a colander lined with paper towel or coffee filters to get rid of extra whey in order to have that traditional thicker icing (but healthier). Yogurt draining in a colander lined with coffee filters.
  • Prep for batter: Spray 9 x 13 baking dish, or you can use 2 x 6 inch or 8 inch pans. Toast nuts and coconut flakes in a skillet. Chopped walnuts in a skillet on the stove.
  • Make batter: Whisk wet ingredients first, then dry in same bowl. Do not overmix. Fold in carrots and toasted nuts and flakes. Perfect carrot cake batter should be more runny than muffins but thicker than pancakes. Healthy carrot cake batter with shredded carrots and toasted nuts and coconut flakes in blue bowl.
  • Bake: In 9 x 13 pan – 40 minutes, 6 inch cake pans – 25-30 minutes, 8 cake inch pans – 35-40 minutes. Always do a toothpick test. Let cake cool completely before frosting. Healthy carrot cake batter in grey baking dish.
  • Make frosting and assemble cake: Combine strained yogurt, icing sugar and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Whisk well, transfer on top of cake, spread with spatula and garnish with toasted coconut flakes (chips).Healthy Carrot Cake with Yogurt Frosting in cake pan
  • Serve: Cut into 16 slices and serve.

Carrot Cake FAQs

Can I replace yogurt with applesauce?

I tried to make cake with applesauce but each time it turned out gummy with distinct aftertaste. So, I do not recommend. Use it instead in these healthy morning glory muffins!

Can I use other or gluten free flour?

Baking is a science. All purpose white flour, almond flour, and coconut flour act differently and need other ingredients’ adjustments.

You might be able to use all purpose gluten free flour but my worry is that cake might be a bit dry as it needs more liquid.

Can I use shredded carrots?

I have not tried so I am not sure if they would make cake moist with pleasant texture like grated carrots do.

Can I use regular not Greek yogurt?

Unfortunately no because it is more runny and less rich.

Can I make this cake vegan?

There are some brands of dairy free Greek yogurt available which may work. You can also experiment with learning how to make a flax egg but I have not tried.

More Tips

  • 10% Greek yogurt: If that is what you have on hand, thin it out with 1/4 cup milk for the batter but skip straining for the icing.
  • To make powdered sugar at home: Blend cane sugar in a high speed blender until powder-y. Saves a few $s and a trip to a grocery store.
  • If you would like to make traditional round cake: Divide batter between 2 cake pans. Bake 6″ cake pans – for 25-30 minutes, 8″ cake pans – 35-40 minutes. Here is a great article about changing the pan size. Then assemble and frost as per your imagination.
  • Healthier icing: You can make icing with maple syrup, it will be more runny and taste slightly different. But I have done it many-many times. You might also like this Greek yogurt frosting with sugar free option!
  • Other batter additions: I tried adding pineapple and raw pecans, and not adding coconut flakes. You can also add up to 1/2 cup raisins and chopped dates.

How to Store, Freeze and Make Ahead

  • Storing: Store assembled cake covered tightly with a cake lid for up to 2 days. Airtight is important so yogurt doesn’t start to dry out.
  • Make ahead: Store baked, cooled and covered with plastic unfrosted cake for 3 days. Then frost before serving.
  • Freezing: I have not and would be hesitant to recommend you freeze assembled cake. Not sure how yogurt will thaw but my gut says 90% it should be fine. You can freeze unfrosted cake tightly wrapped with plastic and then foil for up to 3 months. Thaw on a counter for 6 hours or in the fridge overnight.

More Healthy Dessert Recipes

slice of carrot cake on plate with fork
Easy Healthy Carrot Cake with Greek Yogurt Icing

Healthy Carrot Cake

Healthy Carrot Cake with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, toasted coconut and walnuts. This carrot cake recipe is moist, tall, has texture and thick creamy frosting.
4.96 from 85 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 16 slices
Calories: 256kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Cake:

Greek Yogurt Icing or make healthy cream cheese frosting:

Instructions

  • In one large bowl, whisk the eggs for 10 seconds. Add yogurt, oil, maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract; whisk well and set aside.
  • In another large bowl, add flour, cinnamon, baking powder + soda, and salt; whisk well breaking any baking soda or powder lumps. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, spray large 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat large skillet on low heat, add walnuts and toast for a few minutes (until fragrant), stirring occasionally. Add coconut flakes and toast another minute, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat. Grate carrots.
  • Add dry ingredients to a bowl with wet, stir gently until combined (do not over mix).
  • Add carrots, walnuts and coconut flakes; stir gently just enough to combine.
  • Pour into previously prepared baking dish and bake for: 9 x 13 dish – 40 minutes, 6″ pans – 25-30 minutes, 8″ pans – 35-40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool off completely (about 4-5 hours).
  • While cake is cooling down, line small colander with a coffee filter or paper towel and place on top of a small bowl. Add yogurt and let it strain in a fridge for a few hours.
  • When ready to assemble your healthy carrot cake, discard the whey and add strained yogurt into a medium bowl along with icing sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk well, transfer on top of cake, spread with spatula, garnish with toasted coconut flakes (chips) and cut into 16 slices.

Storing: Store assembled cake covered tightly with a cake lid for up to 2 days. Airtight is important so yogurt doesn't start to dry out.

    Make ahead: Store baked, cooled and covered with plastic unfrosted cake for 3 days. Then frost before serving.

      Freezing: I have not and would be hesitant to recommend you freeze assembled cake. Not sure how yogurt will thaw but my gut says 90% it should be fine. You can freeze unfrosted cake tightly wrapped with plastic and then foil for up to 3 months. Thaw on a counter for 6 hours or in the fridge overnight.

        Video

        Notes

        • Flour: No other flour can be substituted, baking is a science. 
        • Sweetener: Unfortunately you cannot use any dry sweetener because it will throw off cake batter consistency. However, you can use any liquid sugar free syrup.
        • Shredded carrots: I have not tried so I am not sure if they would make cake moist with pleasant texture like grated carrots do.
        • Yogurt: Unfortunately you cannot use regular yogurt because it is more runny and less rich. You cannot replace yogurt with applesauce either. 
        • If you would like to make traditional round cake: Divide batter between 2 cake pans. Bake 6″ cake pans – for 25-30 minutes, 8″ cake pans – 35-40 minutes.
        See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1slice | Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 366mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g

        Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.

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        276 comments on “Easy Healthy Carrot Cake with Greek Yogurt Icing

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        1. 5 stars
          My and my family loved this recipe. We substituted the greek yogourt in the dough with coconut yogurt for a dairy free version. We also didn’t use coconut flakes because we didn’t have. It turned out great!
          Thank you!

        2. 5 stars
          Really enjoyed the cake!
          I ran out of maple syrup and only used 1 1/4 cups so it didn’t turn out as sweet but it was still very tasty! I also used Bobs red mill red mill gluten free 1to 1 flour and it didn’t seem to affect it.
          Thank you for the recipe!

        3. 5 stars
          The recipe is great. I loved it and the greek yogurt icing was perfect. Thank you so much. A question, if I want to add pineapple to the recipe, how much do you think I should add and what other modification I may need to make?

          1. Hi! So glad you enjoyed this! I have tried adding (well drained) pineapple and raw pecans, and not adding coconut flakes and it turned out well.

        4. 5 stars
          I am so thrilled to make this. Doing it late the night before Easter Sunday! I feel blessed to have found you!

        5. I made this cake before and absolutely loved it! Now I’m trying to make carrot cake cupcakes for my daughters birthday and was wondering if you know how long I should bake them?! Thank you

        6. 5 stars
          i did the recepe with a few twerks but tastes great and very sweet.
          i used buckweat flower and works fine, also used 1/5 of the milk from kefir.

        7. Excited to make this for Easter. The one thing I won’t be able to use is walnuts. Is this integral to the cake holding up or more of a texture addition/flavour addition?

          1. Hi Jessica. It is more for extra flavor and personal preference. You can omit walnuts or replace with other nuts and the cake will still turn out beautiful. Hope you enjoy!

        8. 5 stars
          I used WW Pastry flour and it worked beautifully. A very good recipe. Moist, flavorful, downright delicious. My husband is a carrot cake lover and he couldn’t get enough of this cake

          1. Great to know on the whole wheat pastry flour! Thanks for making it Julie and so glad you and your husband enjoyed it!

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