Carrots give carrot cake a health-halo effect--people think it's health food, but it's usually very high in fat and calories. But our version has about 40 percent less calories and 50 percent less fat than most. First, we use less oil in our batter. Then we skip the butter in the frosting (don't worry, it's still light and smooth). To ensure the cake is moist, we add nonfat buttermilk and crushed pineapple. Source: EatingWell Magazine, April/May 2005

Patsy Jamieson
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Ingredients

Cake

Frosting

Directions

  • To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

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  • Drain pineapple in a sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids. Reserve the drained pineapple and 1/4 cup of the juice.

  • Whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and the 1/4 cup pineapple juice in a large bowl until blended. Stir in pineapple, carrots and 1/4 cup coconut. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

  • Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

  • To prepare frosting and finish cake: Beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Tips

Ingredient Notes: Whole-wheat pastry flour, lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

Large thin flakes of dried coconut called coconut chips make attractive garnishes. Find them in the produce section of large supermarkets or at melissas.com.

Tips: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.

To toast chopped walnuts and coconut chips, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 5 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

341 calories; 16.6 g total fat; 4.8 g saturated fat; 51 mg cholesterol; 336 mg sodium. 162 mg potassium; 43.2 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 30 g sugar; 6 g protein; 2546 IU vitamin a iu; 4 mg vitamin c; 15 mcg folate; 50 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 17 mg magnesium;

Reviews (40)

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40 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 26
  • 4 star values: 6
  • 3 star values: 5
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 3
Rating: 4 stars
11/29/2017
Very good. I made a bundt cake (greased and floured the pan very well) and added extra milk to the frosting to make a glaze. For the cake I used 1-1/2 cups of cake flour and 3/4 cup of white whole wheat flour. I decreased the sugar to 1 cup (and half of that was Stevia). You have to lay the CRUSHED pineapple on a triple layer of paper towels to drain it well (otherwise the cake will get gummy). And I used light olive oil instead of canola. All in all it was a really good cake and I will make it again. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
10/04/2017
Followed the recipe as stated above and the cake ended up being waaaay under cooked in the middle. I noticed other reviews said the cake would be rather moist but this was definitely not even close to cooked. Even after an additional 20 minutes in the oven we eventually only ate the edges (like a tulband cake). Wouldn't recommend this recipe to anyone. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
08/14/2017
The only change I would make is less sugar. 30 grams in one serving slice is a lot of sugar. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
06/27/2017
it is a lovely moist cake i would like to know if you can freeze it as it is a lot of mixture and made 2 cakes Read More
Rating: 5 stars
06/06/2017
Yes!!! Very nice design thank you so much for fabulous design I love it very much. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2016
I made the cake and frosting just as in the recipe and loved the flavor of both. The cake was moist but I like it that way. The one thing I did wrong was I didn't grease the pan enough and the cake stuck coming out breaking into different pieces. That was sad but I pushed the pieces together and frosted them anyway and it was all delicious. I am definitely making this one again. A delicious cake great for breakfast and it feels healthy because it has the pineapple and carrot in it. Read More
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Rating: 1 stars
02/23/2015
I don't understand why you use white refined sugar in it while there is so much healthier choices and yet you call it healthy well it's definitely not that healthy with 2 c of refined sugar. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
01/03/2015
Too moist My cake was too moist maybe it was because of the pineapple should've cut it into smaller pieces. Substituted half of the oil with plain yogurt and it turned out well! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
05/28/2014
Soo yummm Hubby doesn't want any gift so i baked him this easy moist delicious carrot cake though i call it carrot and pineapple cake.. Gÿ n Å He loves it.. Yey! Thanks for the recipe. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
04/22/2014
No frosting needed;. A friend suggested sprinkling powder sugar on top instead of the frosting. Most of my guest removed the frosting they did not like it either. I am not a big fan of cream cheese. Over all the cake was good. I will make it again but will add the raisons and no frosting. Pros: I wish I would have added the raisons as suggested by another person. Cons: Did not care for the frosting; Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/21/2014
Great Cake Easy to Make I followed the advice of others and added an extra 1/2 cup of flour. It was delicious and perfectly moist. I made the cake a day in advance. Pros: Flavorful filling easy to make Cons: I adjusted the frosting to suit my taste by adding a little milk and more powdered sugar Read More
Rating: 4 stars
04/11/2014
My go-to recipe I have made this cake many times. It is always great! I love the pineapple and I sometimes add raisins. When someone wants me to bring carrot cake to a gathering this is my go-to recipe. Pros: Moist delicious Cons: None Read More
Rating: 3 stars
07/10/2013
baby's 1st birthday cake I made this for my son's 1st birthday and everyone thought it was a decent cake. Tasted much better the next morning with coffee after flavors settled together a little more. I followed the advice of other reviewers and added 1/4 cup more of flour. I left out the nuts but it might've been good with the added crunch and I didn't add as much coconut. I don't think it really needs the coconut. I made it in larger pan 11x13 and cooked for 32 minutes and it was very fluffy moist and made for perfect portions. I would recommend a double batch of frosting to cover completely. Pros: moist healthier than most Cons: not enough frosting needed more flour Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/14/2013
Delicious and easy to make cake! I read most of the reviews before attempting this cake.. I ran to the grocery store to pick up the few things I needed... I stayed true to the recipe but changed a few things. I didn't have the pastry flour so used my whole wheat flour (I did add a less little than half a cup extra at the end as most mentioned)- I didn't have buttermilk so used low-fat vanilla yogurt that I had in the fridge- I also added raisins! My only complaint would by my own fault.. I didn't want to spend the extra to buy ingredients for frosting so bought Duncan Hines frosting that was on sale.. I bought 'Whipped' Cream Cheese flavor which reminded me of marshmallow fluff.. so next time I'll make it myself or just buy the regular kind of cream cheese frosting. Also my husband said the best part was the toasted coconut I added on top! ENJOY! Can't wait to make this again! Pros: Really tasty moist little guilt! Cons: None! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
04/06/2013
Perfect ending for Easter dinner After reading reviews I was generous with flour measurements and stingy with liquid measurements. This worked great. Pros: Full of stuff: carrots pineapple walnuts coconut which all added to richness of taste. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/01/2013
Amazingly moist and delicious carrot cake! I'd never guess this was a healthy version of anything. I don't like cake & I loved this... Yes my batter was runny but instead of having to take it out 10 minutes early & burning in my oven like things usually do this stayed in the full time & was definitely firm enough at the end of the 40ish minutes. It was just super moist. Pros: My kids loved it & begged for more. Cons: I had some trouble getting the icing the right consistency for spreading but it was delicious. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/06/2013
Best carrot cake Made this for the ending of a birthday brunch. Everyone loved it made two 9 inch round cakes and increased the frosting by half and it worked out well. Pros: Easy healthy and awesome Read More
Rating: 1 stars
09/30/2012
Needs more flour I followed the recipe exactly and as I was pouring it into the prepared pan I recognized that it was too runny. This recipe definitely needs to be rewritten to include more flour (or less juice). While it was baking I read most of the reviews and there were a lot of recommendations to add more flour. I expect more from Eating Well. This recipe does not seem to have gone through more than one test in their test kitchen. Pros: Healthy alternative to carrot cake Cons: Recipe is miswritten too dense Read More
Rating: 5 stars
07/03/2012
My new favorite cake This cake has the perfect texture and taste! I nor my family were carrot cake fans but now we are. I had to add about 1/2 cup more flour to mixture cause it was thin and I drained the pineapple extremely well. I left out the coconut due to allergy and substituted pecans. I also used no sugar added pineapple and stevia in place of the sugar so it would be less guilt and more diabetic friendly. Everyone that has tasted it is amazed. I also used regular wheat flour with about 3/4 of the flour being white because I did not have the wheat pastry flour and the texture was fine with that. I figure that losing the regular sugar and using no sugar added pineapple took about 100 calories at least per serving of so way less guilt. Pros: Many Cons: None I can see. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
05/07/2012
On cake ingredients it doesnt say add carots but if you go down to baking direction it says add carots so how much carrots do we need for this recipe? Read More
Rating: 5 stars
03/21/2012
My friends & family loved it! I made this cake for a girlfriends birthday cake and it was a big hit! I only tweeked it just a tad with switching oil for applesauce and left out coconuts but added soaked raisens with the cake. And for the frosting I added a bit more powdered sugar and it was perfect! Excellent recipe! Pros: healthier version fresh ingredients Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/31/2011
This is a fantastic carrot cake! I did add 1/4 c. milled flaxseed and I used 4 eggwhites and 1 whole egg. I grated some nutmeg into the batter also. For the frosting I used Neufchatel cheese and grated a little nutmeg into it also. What an awsome cake! The whole family raved about it. Thank you EatingWell! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Wow! Very very good cake; the whole family enjoyed it. Only change I made was adding a bit of cinnamon to the icing and leaving the coconut off the icing and letting those who wanted it add it themselves. I think it would be even better with some rasins so next time I'm going to try adding some to the batter. The recipe makes a lot of icing so I also want to try putting some in a cake decorating bag and making those cute little icing carrots that bakery carrot cakes always seem to be decorated with. Overall. it was a delicious cake and I look foward to making it again. Thanks EatingWell! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Wowww!!!!! Amazing!!!! The best cake ever. I made a few changes I didn't have pineapple therefore I use 3 tablespoons of orange juice and add 2 teaspoons of orange zest... I also add some nuts dry cranberries and some blueberries.... Delicious! the cake was moist and everyone loves it. It is definetely a keeper... Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Very good cake I made this Very good cake I made this with the kids for their Valentine's day party and they turned out great. I didn't have pastry wheat flour so I used the standard wheat flour and thought it was fine. I also replaced the oil with low-fat plain yogurt. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Woohoo... finally an awesome healthier cake recipe! I did not use the coconut or nuts because my daughter has a nut allergy. I added marschino cherries instead. Fantastic cake and so moist. Thank you! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I served this to 14 for Easter dinner and it was a big hit. Several who didn't want cake had a piece at the suggestion of other family members. I made it exactly as the recipe calls except I served it with the frosting on the side to offer a reduced calorie option. I used some of the remaining unsweetened coconut to create/sprinkle the shape of an Easter Bunny of top of the unfrosted cake. I will definately keep this recipe and make it again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This cake is Amazing!!!!! With a capital "A"!! So moist and tasty. My whole family loved it and I plan on making it again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I'm surprised so many people liked this cake. I thought the consistency was spongy and not very good. I would not make this again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I have made this cake twice. The first time it was great in taste but a bit mushy. However it was my fault because I used a baking pan that was to high in length. The second time I made two cakes and they were in thinner pans. The cakes came out delicious and I shared them with my health class. I am definitely keeping this recipe. I love the flavor the moisture and the whole wheat pastry flour! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I made this cake for my dad's 79th birthday and everyone loved it! Very moist with lots of flavor. I'll definityly make it again. The whole wheat patry flour really made the cake! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Absolutely moist and delicious - even days later! I substituted honey for the sugar in this recipe and I added some toasted shredded coconut and walnuts on top of the cream cheese. I was a little skeptical of the pineapple but it really adds a nice brightness. Can't wait to make it (and eat it) again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
My husband made this for me on Mother's Day - WOW one of the best cakes I have ever eaten. We only had whole wheat flour so that is what he used and it would be hard to believe that it could be even better. Also we did not have coconut in the house so used Clementine oranges to flavor the frosting and it went very well with the cake. I have to make a dessert for a fundraiser this week and plan to make this as cupcakes. Hope it turns out as well. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe Sarah Fairplay CO Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Can I make this recipe using two 8" round cake pans? Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
If anyone finds the cake to watery just adds 1/2 cup of flour and tries to play around with the recipes. The first time I made the recipe I added blueberries and raisins. This time I added banana and chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple!!! It's perfect!!!! I can't ask for a better guilty pleasure! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This cake tastes like an indulgence but with 1/2 the guilt! I made the recipe with whole wheat flour instead of pastry flour and it turned out great. I also skipped the frosting and made a quick glaze with powdered sugar instead. The cake tastes so good that you only need a little frosting. I added raisins as well. Carrot cake is my Dad's favorite dessert and I can't imagine ever using another recipe! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Well I tried this today with great expectations only to end up with a mushy mess! This cake does have the makings of a great feast so I'll try it again. There's no canola oil whole wheat pastry flour or buttermilk where I come from so I used olive oil unsifted all purpose flour and sour milk. Also in the place of the sugars I used caster sugar because the granulated sugar I found in the supermarket cost an arm and a leg. In my country we use Celsius and I used the correct conversion to the best of my knowledge but after more than an hour of baking I decided to remove the cake even though forks I inserted didn't come out clean. Next time I'll use a cup of sugar and 2.5 of flour. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
I love this recipe. It is a lot like an old one I have that has tons of sugar and oil. Like this one better. The pineapple and coconut make it really delicious. It is moist but has worked for me. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
Carrot Cake Great recipe very similar to mine except the nutrition facts for fiber are inaccurate. The first time I tried this recipe I knew that the nutritionf facts you entered for fat were inaccurate. Then you had 5 grams instead of 17 grams. I was about to send you a message but was pleased to see you had made the correction to a total 17 grams of fat with 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Now you have another inaccuracy. You entered 3 grams of fiber instead of 2. I am a nutritionist and regularly enter these recipes as well as my original ones into my professional database. So verifying these numbers is very easy. My clients and I would greatly appreciate a correction. Thanks Irma Pros: Great recipe Cons: There was an inaccuracy in the grams of fat. New one for fiber Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Delicious! I really loved this cake. I make a carrot cake every easter w my daughter and always try to improve the recipe health-wise and flavor-wise. This was the best cake yet! I must confess that I used whole wheat pastry flour vanilla yogurt instead of buttermilk and olive oil for half the oil. I did not use the pineapple at all (blechy! ) and didn't regret it it was plenty moist! I also used Mexican cinnamon and Mexican vanilla though I will increase the measurement of both the next time. The flavor was perfect - not too strong but definitely carroty. It was very moist yet light. The cake got a little crumbly on the plate but it held together well enough for the cutting and placing on the plates so I don't really find that as an issue. I just might make this before the next Easter! Pros: Great Flavor and texture Cons: mmmm... maybe a little too crumbly.... maybe Read More