by Olena

Healthy Carrot Cake

by Olena

5 from 31 reviews

Healthy Carrot Cake

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe

Hi-hi, guys. This healthy carrot cake is a living proof that I still use my oven. Not everything gets cooked in the Instant Pot. Although I can see how that can be your impression.

Just to prove you that you are staring at the best healthy carrot cake recipe, 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. 2 liters of yogurt, 6 cups of flour, 4 cups of applesauce, a jug of maple syrup and a whole lot of carrots that had to be peeled and grated.

Are you convinced I have low sugar and calorie cake for your Easter yet?! I am. Here, come on, let’s go over it and you will see what I mean.

Ingredients and Tools

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe

First of all, 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.

Healthy Carrot Cake ingredients

And simple ingredients you can find in any grocery store:

  • Whole wheat flour (spelt flour)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Carrots
  • Eggs
  • Oil
  • Nuts, coconut flakes, spices.

My mission is to make healthy eating possible even for the most remote small towns in America. Because you can!

What Makes Whole Wheat Carrot Cake Moist?

It’s the Greek yogurt that replaces majority of oil that traditional unhealthy recipes call for. I tried to make whole wheat carrot cake with applesauce but each time it turned out gummy with distinct aftertaste. So, I ditched the applesauce completely and went with yogurt all the way.

Then, it’s finely grated carrots. 2 cups is perfect, 3 cups was too much.

bowl of greek yogurt and plate of grated carrots

And toasted walnuts and coconut flakes. I tried adding pineapple and raw pecans, and not adding coconut flakes but my absolute favourite is a combo of toasted walnuts and coconut flakes. I have one child who isn’t a fan of coconut flakes and he didn’t notice them, however they added texture and moisture to the cake.

how to make healthy carrot cake step by step

What Consistency Should Batter Be?

I remember as less experienced baker, I used to have this question all the time and would look for any info or pictures of the batter. Many times to no avail. So, I will spare you the mystery.

Perfect carrot cake batter should be more runny than muffins but thicker than pancakes. You should be able to pour it (slowly) and not scoop into the baking dish. And then flatten with a spatula just a bit. Got it?

mixing batter for Healthy Carrot Cake and batter spread out in cake pan

What Is Healthy Frosting Made With?

Greek Yogurt – 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).

Healthy Carrot Cake Icing

Powdered Sugar – To make powdered (icing sugar) I blended organic cane sugar in my Blendtec and used only 1/2 cup to make healthy frosting (unlike traditional recipes that call for 2 or even 3 cups of icing sugar, whoa).

You can make icing with maple syrup, it just will be runnier and slightly different taste. But I did it many-many times.

Healthy Carrot Cake with Yogurt Frosting in cake pan

Final Word…

slice of carrot cake on plate with fork

Yes. 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, come back and tell me how it went. I would love to hear from you!

More Healthy Carrot and Cake Recipes

Is carrot cake healthy? Yup. If you use one of these recipes to satisfy your carrot cake craving.

And more healthy cakes:

Print

Healthy Carrot Cake

5 from 31 reviews

Baked, frosted and served in one pan. Moist Healthy Carrot Cake with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, toasted coconut and walnuts.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% and higher fat)
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp baking powder, aluminum free
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 2 cups carrots, finely grated
  • Cooking spray (I use Misto)

Greek Yogurt Icing:

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (2% and higher fat)*
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar**
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Long coconut flakes or chips, for garnish (toasted)

Instructions

  1. In one large bowl, whisk the eggs for 10 seconds. Add yogurt, oil, maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract; whisk well and set aside.
  2. In another large bowl, add flour, cinnamon, baking powder + soda, and salt; whisk well breaking any baking soda or powder lumps. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Add dry ingredients to a bowl with wet, stir gently until combined (do not over mix).
  5. Add carrots, walnuts and coconut flakes; stir gently just enough to combine.
  6. Pour into previously prepared baking dish and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool off completely (about 4-5 hours).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Notes

*If your Greek yogurt is 10%, you don’t have to strain it further. **To make powdered sugar at home, blend cane sugar in a high speed blender. Works like a charm for health freaks like me, who just need a bit and don’t want to pay $8 for a bag.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

132 comments on “Healthy Carrot Cake

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  1. This cake is just amaaaaaazing! I loved it and everyone who tried it said it is one of the best cakes they have ever had

  2. Made this and turned out great!!
    Is it possible though to substitute the honey with coconut sugar? If yes, how much?

    1. It would be better to substitute honey with maple syrup or even agave syrup. Baking is a science and it’s important to keep the ratio of wet and dry ingredients balanced!

  3. Amazing cake! Just absolutely delicious without any doubts. My husband, kids and I loved it so much and we weren’t hesitant to go for seconds. Moist and so full of taste. Thank you, will definitely make it again.

  4. Decided to try this one late night, and was delighted that it turned out so well. Thank you for the recipe, everyone in my family loved it so much that I’ve received request to bake it again. I was wondering if I could reduce the amount of maple syrup this time round and increase milk/yogurt instead?

    1. Mmmmm I don’t want to suggest anything because baking is tricky and truly a science. Not sure how it will work. You are welcome to try and let me know. 🙂

    2. I am wondering that I used Bob’s Red Mil Whole wheat flour (I usually use it for making whole wheat bread). I am afraid that it can make my cake become dry.
      Are you have any idea?
      anyway Thank you so much for your recipe. I am very impressed. I’ll try it soon.

  5. Would this recipe work as cupcakes too?
    I’m cooking for a social distancing birthday, so want to keep the portions separate

  6. I am confused, one recipe says 2 eggs, and another says 6 eggs. The amount of yogurt etc…increases too. What size pan do I use? I am a grama and have the ingredients to bake with my grandchildren
    tomorrow, June18th.

    1. Hi Jacque! The recipe calls for 2 eggs. Cake is baked in a 9×13 pan. I think you might be looking at the recipe write-up instead of the recipe card (located at the bottom of the post) where I list all ingredients and instructions. Hope that helps.

    1. I am replying to myself and anyone else interested…YES you can!

      Absolutely awesome with almond flour which also friendly on high cholesterol.

        1. Hi Phyllis! Baking is a science and unfortunately whole wheat flour and almond flour are not interchangeable.

  7. I have just made this and unfortunately the batter ratio wasn’t right. My batter was so sticky and thick and I had to add more yoghurt and milk, helped a little bit however I had to make do as I didn’t want too go to far from the recipe. The only thing that I changed was i replaced 1/4 cup of whole meal flour to flaxseed though that shouldn’t be enough to make it so thick. After baking it the cake was definitely not as fluffy and bouncy as I’d like and rather a tad dense in the outside and too moist in the inside. Any idea on what happened ? I’d like to try this again

    1. You can’t replace whole wheat flour with flaxseed – that was exactly the issue. It absorbs liquid and made your batter thick. When baking it is best to stick to recipe because there is a lot of science going on how each ingredient will react with others.

  8. The cake was great in taste, great recipe. The only thing it took 2 hours to cook and then it was still moist on knife when you test to see if cooked. I had it on correct tempture. Stove fairly new. Any suggestions please Margie.

    1. I am sorry I have no idea. Something is off but I don’t know what as I wasn’t there. Sounds like oven low T still to me… Did you change anything about the recipe?

  9. This recipe’s excellent. I have tried some other recipes and still go back for this.
    Also, this does not call for sugar at all. The syrup or honey did do the trick. The cake is just sweet right up to my personal taste, yet so moist.
    I can’t tell how much I love it. I am addicted to it for sure.

  10. Hello!
    What can I substitute for Greek yogurt in the cake? I’m going to use cream cheese as substitute for the frosting part.
    Thanks,
    Karen

  11. So so delicious, fabulous recipe! We fought over the last crumbs. Recommend making it a day before to have it extra moist! Thank you!!

  12. HI Olena, Im new to baking, and have limited baking stuff. I have a 5×9” loaf pan can i do this recipe in it? Thanks from Beirut, Lebanon

    1. I think there will be too much batter for a 5×9″ loaf pan as this recipe is intended for a 9×13″.

  13. I luv this carrot cake. I looked for the right recipe for me for ages and this is it! Thanks from Australia. x

  14. I searched for days to find a recipe I liked the sound of (they all use way too much sugar or speciality items I don’t have access to) and I’m so happy with the results.
    I didn’t have enough nuts, so added flaxseeds. Healthy and super delicious!

    I added a cup of cream cheese in place of a cup of yogurt and it turned out fantastic! Thank you.

  15. This is soooo yuuuummy! I love it! I used just stevia as sweetener and coconut oil instead of avocado oil and turned out super delish! Also for the frosting, I used cream cheese, greek yogurt and stevia and sprinkled some blended dry fruits over the cake.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  16. Avid lover of Carrot Cake… Absolutely loved this recipe!! By far the best carrot cake I’ve ever had! Beats the conventional cake by far! Moist and full of texture. I used desiccated coconut and olive oil.
    Thank you Olena! Keen to try the Healthy chocolate cake next 🙂

  17. Even though I managed to mess up the cake somehow, it still turned out tasty and “light”. Love it, thank you for your recipes!

  18. This is a wonderful recipe! However, may I add 3 cups of grated carrots as I prefer more carrots packed into my cake! And may I use more apple sauce to replace some of the Greek yogurt to make it healthier? Thank you! 🙂

  19. I made the Healthy Carrot Cake for Easter Sunday, and it was a hit! I won’t use my old recipe again. This was so moist , easy to make and very tasty along with so many healthy ingredients.

    Thank you Olena

      1. Made this cake for my husband’s birthday and he reckons it’s the best carrot cake ever! It’s also very healthy, I am doing the csiro diet and I can have one serve per day without jeopardising my weight! Thank you

  20. Finally a carrot cake I don’t feel guilty eating. after going through hundred recipes calling for 2 cups of sugar I was desperate to find a healthier alternative for my kids. I give this recipe a try and it was extraordinary. so moist. not overly sweet. Just amazing. I used one cup rye flour and one cup whole wheat. Also I didn’t have Greek yogurt so I used normal yogurt. It worked just fine. Thank you

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback Silvia! Doesn’t it feel great to be able to have a “treat” without all the guilt of too much sugar?!

  21. I made the cake today and used normal white flour and substituted avocado oil with olive oil. It came out raw, still hasn’t cooked fully on the inside.

  22. This is a perfect carrot cake! Healthy, but dense and delicious! And the icing is almost as good as using cream cheese 😉
    Keeping this recipe as my go to carrot cake for sure!

  23. Hi! I’m planning to make this recipe this weekend for Easter! Do you know how the cook time changes if I put the batter into muffin tins instead of a cake/sheet pan? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ashley, when converting a cake recipe into cupcakes, you’ll need to reduce the baking time by ~ one-third to one-half. For the carrot cake recipe, the baking time is 40 minutes. In general most cupcakes bake in ~20 minutes. I would probably err on the side of caution and set my timer for 15 minutes and keep checking the cupcakes. They are done when a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean with no crumbs on it. Hope that helps and Happy baking!

  24. Hi
    Just wondering if I can freeze this cake and for how long? And to eat it do you defrost it or leave out in the fridge?

  25. Hello Olena,
    My daughter and me decided to cook & bake 2 or 3 times a week using recipes we each choose.
    She found your “healthy carrot cake” online. I got all the necessary ingredients and we baked it together. We fell in love with it. It is sooooo moist, fresh, tasty and of course healthy!
    We will keep an eye for other recipes in your blog and try them.
    Thank you!!
    Nouhade

  26. Hi! Can I change the flour to almond or coconut? 🙂 would it be the same amount and / or would I need to add something else for the moist texture?

    1. Its delicious. I changed avocado oil for coconut oil and added some gingerbread spices. So so good, moist not wet, just right consistency. Love

  27. My 10-year old daughter made this for my husband’s birthday. Easy to follow. She did everything but shred the carrots. He is not big on sweets, but we all loved this. Love the healthier ingredients. Love the ‘frosting’. Thank you!!!

  28. Hi Olena 🙂
    Are the measurements in this recipe available in grams/mls? I’m from Australia and am just concerned that I’ll be using the wrong amounts because of the differences in our measurement systems! Really looking forward to making this though!
    Thanks heaps, Lola

  29. Thanks soooo much for sharing this! Turned out great. I was so appreciative you explaining the batter consistency..I always get confused lol. I made some alterations…I used 1/4 cup almond flour as I didn’t want to waste it..3/4 cup oat flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour. 1/3 cup sugar free home made maple syrup, 1/3 cup Erythritol. I forgot to roast the coconut.

  30. My first time ever making carrot cake, and it came out great! I only decided to do it because I had a bunch of carrot pulp after making a juice, so I wasn’t sure if the cake would be dry due to the carrot already having lost all its moisture content, but it wasn’t a problem. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any coconut flakes, so I missed out on that flavor aspect, but my family didn’t know any different and they all enjoyed it! I also made a slight modification to my icing approach due to time and not having that much yogurt, by mixing it with cream cheese.

  31. So excited to try your carrot cake recipe!! It’s one of my favorites and am super excited see one without refined sugar!! I might skip the frosting and just enjoy the cake! Thank you for sharing!!

  32. Hi! This was so good!!I Thank you! It turned into 12 pieces for me (and they are still small square pieces) – a piece like that is 350 cal so it’s pretty crazy to me people make th NON healthy one – what’s that one then!? I also used half a cup nuts and half a cup pepitas – Super good! Honestly, I won’t even bother for icing next time – it takes focus out of the cake if you ask me!

  33. I’m wanting to make this cake for my baby’s 1st birthday because she LOVES carrot, and I want her to have the healthiest cake possible. 🙂
    However, I was wanting to do a cut-up cake, where I cut parts of it out to make a shape (a dog, in this case) and then ice and decorate it in that shape. I was wondering… do you think this recipe will hold up well for that? As in, being cut up and moved around? Or will it fall apart or be too moist?
    Also, is the icing strong enough to be used to ice the sides of the cake, or only the top?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey hey. I think cake is strong enough to be cut into shape. And icing will hold well on the sides if you use thick 5% and more Greek yogurt. Or regular yogurt with drained whey through double ot triple cheesecloth. Can even add a bit cream cheese.

          1. It turned out great! Everyone loved it and several asked for the recipe. They were amazed it was healthy! It definitely held up well enough to be cut up into shapes.

  34. I made this for my son who specifically requested carrot cake, without really sweet icing. I made this one, and it was a HIT !! I could not get over how the “icing” turned out. I used 5% yogurt – it was as thick as cream cheese. I added just a wee bit of vanilla sugar, and it was plenty sweet for him. Thank you so much for such an easy and delicious recipe.
    This weekend I am making cupcakes and freezing them.
    I will just put the icing in a separate container so he can add it to the individual cupcake as he chooses !
    I am definitely going to try more of your recipes !!

  35. My husband asked for me to make carrot cake and I came across this recipe because we are trying to eat healthier but still be able to “splurge.” I chose this recipe because it called for all the ingredients I had on hand.

    This cake is delicious! It was so nice and moist! And the frosting was too sweet. It tasted just like cream cheese frosting, but healthier!

    I dis cut the recipe in half because it’s just hubby and I and I used a flax egg instead of an egg because we are trying to watch our cholesterol. I think my cake wound up a little more dense because of it, but it’s still delicious!

    Thank you so much for this recipe. Its It’s a keeper for sure.

  36. Hi, your recipe does not indicate the size of pan you should use. This would be helpful to include. Tried this recipe for the first time yesterday for my husband’s birthday as he loves carrot cake. We all loved it. Very moist.

  37. Have you ever added grated zucchini – ratio maybe 1&1/2 cup grated carrot and 1/2 cup grated zucchini? Saw a recipe for a carrot cake with it in. Your recipe looks really good. I’m making a couple cakes for a neighbours birthday bash and he requested a white cake and a carrot cake. I’m going to give yours a try! I’ll do a different icing however. Thinking the Greek yogurt one won’t stand up too well in the summer heat of an outdoor party.

    1. I have not added grated zucchini. I like to keep ingredients to a minimum.:) It contains more water than carrot.
      You can add cream cheese to Greek yogurt icing to make it thicker. Hope everyone enjoys!:)

  38. Hi Olena 🙂 Well, you’ve done it again with another exceptional dessert-turned-healthy! I never go wrong when I try a recipe on your site! I did replace the milk with pineapple bits and some of the juice to equal 1/2 cup but only because I love pineapple in my carrot cake. I also didn’t have enough walnuts so replaced some with raisins. So delicious and I love the addition of toasted coconut on top of the icing too; simple and yummy!

  39. Hello,your recipe seems healthy and yet perfect,i want to bake it but i’m not sure the size of a large baking dish,would you please tell me in numbers.
    Thnx

      1. Thank you Olena,loved the cake.how can i store it,in the fridge or room tempeture?and for how long.
        Baked it 3times and everyone want the recepe.?

  40. Can you make this with non fat greek yogurt or would it not work? Can I used oat flour instead of regular flour? Thank you!

    1. Unfortunately none of these will yield good result. Non fat yogurt is too flat to replace cream cheese. And oat flour will not rise properly. Sorry.

      1. Just made the cake and it was just what I needed after a day of working in the rain! I’ve used self-raising whole wheat flour and no baking powder (this is what I had in my cubboard). And I used a pro-biotic Yoghurt as I’m lactose intolerant. Also added some dates, because my boyfriend loves then.
        It turned out great!

  41. I made it yesterday, it came out wonderful!
    I substituted half of the wholewheat flour with sweet potato flour.
    it has a nice texture and the taste is very healthy, hardly any sugar.
    The greek yoghurt topping with coconut, helps to make it more rich and moist.
    I will definitely make it again, thank you for the recipe.

    1. Sweet potato flour? 2019 doesn’t seize to amaze me. Well, glad you enjoyed our sweet potato carrot cake. Super healthy lol. Color match for sure.

  42. Hi . I’m not good with cakes , but have had some time off , from work . Not a cake lover , but thought I would try something healthy , for a little sweet treat .
    It turned out so beautifully. Lovely and moist , right amount of sweetness.
    Can’t wait to impress hubby , when he gets home .
    It took me a bit of time , but well worth the effort.

  43. Could you add some pineapple either crushed or rid bits cut up finely in its on juice, but without the juice? This recipe looks yummy and I LOVE ME SOME CARROTT CAKE!! Thanks!!

  44. Made this tonight and it was deliciously moist and not too sweet, just the way I like it. It’s also family/kids approved!

  45. This carrot cake was so good! Moist, moderately sweet and the frosting is spot on! Making it again for Easter.

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