Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

34 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine April/May 2005

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.

Ingredients 16 servings

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Original recipe yields 16 servings
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  • Cake
  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots, (4-6 medium)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Tip)
  • Frosting
  • 12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut chips, (see Ingredient Note) or flaked coconut, toasted


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 °F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Drain pineapple in a sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids. Reserve the drained pineapple and 1/4 cup of the juice.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  • 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
  • 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 information

  • Serving size: 1 piece
  • Per serving: 341 calories; 17 g fat(5 g sat); 3 g fiber; 43 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 15 mcg folate; 51 mg cholesterol; 30 g sugars; 2546 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C; 50 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 336 mg sodium; 162 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 3
  • Exchanges: 2 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1/2 vegetable, 3 fat

Reviews 34

February 23, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
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.
January 03, 2015
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By: Lim
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!
May 28, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
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.
April 22, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
No frosting neededGǪ. 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;
April 21, 2014
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By: anngslater
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
April 11, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
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
July 10, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
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
April 14, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
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!
April 06, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
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.