Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake Recipe


I set my sights on carrot cake this week. I suspect you've never made a carrot cake in this way before, and I'm here to encourage you to give it a go. Well, maybe. If you like your carrot cake delicate with a defined crumb, you'll actually want to pass on this one. This is an entirely different beast. It is dense, rich, rustic, walnut-studded, and carrot-flecked. Like many carrot cakes, it's best slathered generously with cream cheese frosting. The real catch is this - the cake is sweetened with dates and ripe bananas. It doesn't need any added sugar beyond that. For the frosting I whip cream cheese with a splash of maple syrup or agave nectar, but nothing beyond that either. Imagine a traditional carrot cake colliding with your favorite banana bread, and you'll have an idea of where this recipe will take you.

Carrot Cake Recipe

Aside from exploring dates and bananas as the primary sweeteners in this cake, I tried to keep the rest simple. I kept the spices to a minimum and aside from the walnuts resisted the urge to add any of the other ingredients that commonly show up in carrot cakes - coconut, crushed pineapple, ginger, nutmeg, etc, etc. If you like the cake I'd certainly suggest playing around with different add-ins of your own in future versions.

 
 
 
 

Carrot Cake Recipe

If you have a hard time finding whole wheat pastry flour, feel free to substitute unbleached all-purpose flour. Reader Nicole mentions that she made a wheat-free version with good results - substituting one cup oat flour and one cup gluten-free baking mix. Thanks Nicole!

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
4 ounces unsalted butter, heated until just melted
1/2 cup dried dates, seeded and finely chopped into a paste
3 ripe bananas (1 1/4 cups), mashed well
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 3 medium)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% or lowfat is ok)
2 eggs, lightly whisked

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9x5x3 / 8-cup loaf pan (or 8x8 cake pan) and line it with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the walnuts and set aside.

Stir the dates into the melted butter, breaking up the dates a bit.

In a separate bowl combine the bananas and carrots. Stir in the date-butter mixture, breaking up any date clumps as you go. Whisk in the yogurt and the eggs. Add the flour mixture and stir until everything just comes together. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean in the center of the cake - it'll be less if you are using a standard cake pan. Remove from oven and let cool.

While the cake is baking whip together the cream cheese and agave nectar. Taste. If you like your frosting sweeter adjust to your liking. When the cake has completely cooled frost the top of the cake with an offset spatula.

Makes one carrot cake.

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Your Comments


chika
April 26, 2009

Hello Heidi,


I tried and adored tropical carrot cake you featured may years back, but I know I'l love this one, too! Although it could be tricky to get 'fresh' dates over here... but when I do get my hand on some I'll certainly give this recipe a go!

In the meantime I am about to do another carrot cake recipe from a new book (in Japanese) by a friend of mine :)

HS: Hi Chika! There were so many neat little baking books that I came across when I visited Tokyo - I only wish I could read the recipes! ;) And in the recipe above I used dried dates - not entirely sure why I typed fresh, but I fixed that.

 

Nicole
April 26, 2009

A co-worker made a carrot cake very similar to this a few weeks ago. I may never go back to regular oily carrot cake again!

 

amanda Boyce
April 26, 2009

this looks so promising... and I see you used fage, which makes me love you even more!!

 

Nancy (n.o.e.)
April 26, 2009

I made a carrot layer cake a few weeks ago and came by here because I was sure you'd have a cream cheese frosting with no powdered sugar. Well, now you do! Years ago I made a Jane Brody carrot bundt cake that was simple and very good. Can't wait to try this one, Heidi, carrot cake is a huge favorite around here.

 

JEM
April 26, 2009

Thanks so much Heidi for all of your work on your many tremendous recipes. I love the ingredients you use and look forward to each post! This sounds wonderful!

 

Lots of great things in this recipe. I bet it's incredible. I made a version of a friend's carrot cake recipe not long ago that had yogurt in it. It also called for a whole orange. One whole orange, deseeded, then pureed, rind and all. I loved the addition of citrus.

 

Alisa - Frugal Foodie
April 26, 2009

I love carrot cake, and this sounds great. I recently made a couple of versions of your carrot cookies, which each turned out fabulous!

 

Christina
April 26, 2009

Wow, how funny I'm posting right below Alisa - my food blogging buddy! :)

I'll have to use it in the future because I usually have most ingredients on hand. It looks like it'll come out really moist! I love the idea of using ripe bananas to sweeten - always looking for ways to use those up!

To Ryan - you can find dried dates in most grocery stores, so those would also be a nice substitute if fresh ones aren't available to make the paste.

 

Megan Zumpano
April 26, 2009

This looks like an excellent recipe! I want to try replacing the butter with barely malt syrup. Do you think there would be any consequences to that?

HS: I'm not sure that would work. :/

 

Yours is effectively different of mine, but I'll try soon... with dried dates. Thank you...

 

gastroanthropologist
April 27, 2009

I love carrot cake, but hate the gobs of oil it usually takes to make it. I love how you use butter and banana ( and so glad you didn't use crushed pineapple). This has just skyrocketed to the top of the "Need To Make" list.

 

This looks very unique! I wonder if you could use Medjool dates instead?

 

Now this is my kind of recipe. Scrumptious, yet healthy.
That's how I like to make cream cheese frosting: sweetened only with maple syrup. I do add some butter also. Gives is a wonderful flavor.

 

Ricki
April 27, 2009

My kind of carrot cake! And I suspect I'd want to just eat it raw from the mixing bowl--that photo looks so tantalizing! ;)

 

Carrot cake is one of my favorites. I love the use of natural sweeteners here. Recently I made some carrot cake inspired breakfast cookies but they crumbled into breakfast granola. No problem, still carrot-y and delicious just like your cake!

 

Jenn
April 27, 2009

YUM!

 

Treehouse Chef
April 27, 2009

This looks healthy and delicious. I must try it since I love carrot cake.

 

Iffet
April 27, 2009

I love carrot cake but I try to make mine with vegetable oil instead of butter.
Yours looks pretty.

 

dawn
April 27, 2009

I would love my carrot cake with a bit of texture, yes indeed!

 

frannie
April 27, 2009

I am just in the process of switching my family to more whole foods and less refined sweetener, and although I may still pull out the old favorite carrot cake with sugar (and oil and pineapple and coconut) for occasions, I will feel much better about this as a more frequent treat. With Greek Yogurt, how can you go wrong?

 

Alexandra
April 27, 2009

Could you make this a day in advance and then frost it?

Mother's day is coming up and this is my mom's favorite kind of cake. I totally want to make it for her!

 

Erin
April 27, 2009

Looks and sounds fantastic. I harbor a deep love for carrot cake.

 

wix
April 27, 2009

Yes!!! I've been contemplating a carrot cake bake-off/taste test for a summer break project, and am excited to try this recipe side by side with vegan and traditional carrot cakes.

 

Marie
April 27, 2009

Heidi, this looks amazing. With your splendid recipes I have slowly changed my way of eating over the last 18 months and sugar was my last give up. Carrot cake is my all time favorite so this is a gift from the gods as I a have been craving a nice dessert to have after dinner.
Thank you for your wisdom, efforts and most of all your posts.

 

Y
April 27, 2009

Looks so tasty. I love standard carrot cake, but I have a feeling I'll love this version too. Can't wait to try your recipe.

 

zini
April 27, 2009

Heidi, I am very intrigued that this has nothing for the specific purpose of sweetening. A must-try for me.

 

Annie
April 27, 2009

Heidi,
As a constant follower and printer of 101 Cookbooks recipes, I thought you'd want to know that the last three weeks, the Google ads are printing along with the recipe even though the tag is still present that says they will not print. No big deal, but ...

Thanks for endless inspiring recipes and ideas.

HS: THanks Annie, I'll look into it - those pages must have broken when we did the software upgrade. Let me know if you come across any other problems.

 

Pearl
April 27, 2009

i have never tried carrot cake, either, but that looks too good to NOT try to bake :)

 

Tom Marsh
April 27, 2009

OMG... you seriously love your sweet-tooth followers. I've been wondering when you'd kick out a carrot cake a-la blog. Nice nice job, Heidi.

Pre-heating my oven NOW.

Thank you.

 

Jackie
April 27, 2009

Awesome recipe -- I am going to try this one very soon.
I am a sort of carrot cake purist, myself -- just like the cinnamon and walnuts, like this one. The last carrot cake I made had plenty of refined sugar, though, -- I'm so eager to try this recipe!! Thank you!

 

Eric Gower
April 27, 2009

Perfect for my huge bag of Mariquita carrots -- this sounds right up my alley, thanks Heidi!

 

Tegan
April 27, 2009

Oh Heidi, this looks so delicious! I have to send this to my mother -- she's a carrot cake connosseur!

 

Joy
April 27, 2009

This sounds delicious! I don't have dates on hand (but lots of ripe bananas - they were cheap this week! - and carrots too), so I might play with some applesauce in place of the dates. Maybe part of the butter too? I don't want to cut it all, in the past when I've tried that things come out rather rubbery. Plus, butter is just so yummy. :)

 

chaya
April 27, 2009

can I sub the yogurt with anything else? trying to avoid dairy if possible.

 

Kristin
April 27, 2009

Wow. This cake looks fabulous. Can't wait to make it, and when I keep slicing off tiny slivers, I won't have to feel guilty! Heidi, you rock!

 

Genevieve
April 27, 2009

This looks delectable - the bananas and carrot combo should work really well with using gluten free flours, as anything adding moisture is a big big bonus! The natural sweeteners are so exciting, as we're a no sugar family but love carrot cake and banana bread. Thanks!

 

nut allergy
April 27, 2009

Looks scrumptious! I adore your recipes but suffer from a nut allergy. Usually I just don't include nuts in many recipes, but the walnuts here seem critical. Do you have any suggestions for a substitute?

 

Dawn
April 27, 2009

This looks great! Ditto to the comments above on loving carrot cake but not the greasiness of it. Thoughts from anybody on subbing something for bananas? I've tried so many times to like them, but still unfortunately can't stand the flavor. :( My first thought when you said carrot cake colliding with banana bread was to collide it with zucchini bread instead. But, I wasn't sure how the sweetness would compare without the bananas. Applesauce? In any case, I'll likely try it out as is, since I love all your recipes. I'm sure my husband could be persuaded to eat it if it's too banana-y for me. :)

 

Marissa
April 27, 2009

This is beautiful and my kind of baking, naturally sweetened. I will try it with spelt flour and coconut cream icing. Thanks for all the gorgeous recipes and photos!

 

Molly
April 27, 2009

I don't really like dates any other exceptions anyone can think of...maybe raisins?
thank you
looks wonderful!

 

Joy Jones
April 27, 2009

I an the dumbest cook on the planet, so laugh at me if you must. I don't know how to make "seedless" dates. Do I buy then that way? Love being a "new" girl of yours altho I am 79. Please keep up the good work and may God Bless You ! Warm Regards, jj

 

Fit Bottomed Girls
April 27, 2009

I love it when you can see the carrot in the cake...this looks delicious.

 

Tracy
April 27, 2009

Sounds like a great recipe. I love both carrot cake AND banana bread so this recipe looks like a real winner to me. Thanks so much!

 

Erin D
April 27, 2009

I think I *heart* you. You have no idea how much I love carrot cake. I've got a hug bag of carrots from the farmer's market, some overripened bananas waiting to be use, and a bag full of dates in the fridge. My mouth is watering...

And, OH!, I just picked up a copy of Super Natural Cooking. Can't wait to crack it.

 

Jess
April 27, 2009

A beautiful recipe, Heidi. Can you suggest substitutions for the butter and yogurt, for those of us who are dairy intolerant?

 

Heidi
April 27, 2009

To Joy Jones: Another way of saying it would be "pitted dates". Dates have a hard pit/seed like plums (prunes) and you can buy them pitted (like the ones in the Sunmaid boxes) or with pits (usually in bulk.) If you buy the kind with pits, they're very easy to remove.

To Heidi: A local coffee shop sells what I think of as "carrot loaf" that looks nearly identical to your cake. My children love it and I've been meaning to attempt to duplicate it - now you've saved me the trouble! Thank you so much!! I will make a loaf this week.

 

Casey
April 27, 2009

Has anyone tried substituting dried plums (aka prunes) for dates in this or other recipes? They seem to have a similarly high sugar content, though maybe a little more water.

 

Lucy
April 27, 2009

Can't wait to try this recipe. I've been looking for a carrot cake that doesn't use oil. And, with the added benefit of no sugar, this looks awesome. Thanks.

 

Organicmama
April 27, 2009

This looks DELICIOUS! However, as a carrot cake fan, I have to ask. Does this really taste like carrot cake or like banana bread with carrots in it?

 

Ginny
April 27, 2009

I love your recipes-but was wondering if you could put the nutritional value at the end of each recipe.

 

Kim
April 27, 2009

What a great recipe! I want to make this for a friends birthday this week. However, you mentioned that "lowfat" greek yogurt was fine but what about "NON fat" fage yogurt. Would that ruin things? Also I usually sub Coconut oil for butter or oil in most recipes. How do you think these substitutions would alter the recipe?

 

Dawn S.
April 27, 2009

I'm making this as soon as it cools down around here so I can bear to cook!

 

Daisy
April 27, 2009

Thank you very, very much for posting these dessert recipes! I'm trying so hard to eat better and these recipes are such an encouragement! So far it's been 3 weeks without refined white sugar. I bought your "super natural cooking" book and I have the Banana Esspreso Muffins baking in the oven as I type this!

 

Hallie
April 27, 2009

I was looking for a way to make carrot cake...which I LOVE...less sinful. You did the work for me! Now I have something else to add to my really long list of "101 Cookbooks recipes to try." I made your asparagus/tofu stir fry the other night, and it was amazing!

 

RenaissanceTrophyWife
April 27, 2009

Crap, I made banana bread the night before you posted this! Luckily I still have bananas... can't wait to make this soon. It sounds like a perfect dessert for summer picnics.

 

Alta
April 27, 2009

This sounds delicious! My kind of carrot cake! The last carrot cake I made, though, added cardamom to the recipe, which was SO wonderful, I think I might continue to do that. but I love the idea of using dates for a sweetener! Thank you Heidi!

 

Michele
April 27, 2009

Oh yum! I love the idea of adding bananas as well as agave or maple syrup instead of the usual powdered sugar.

I really want to try the recipe, but would have to leave the walnuts out because of my husband's nut allergy (he'd be sooo disappointed if I made a cake he couldn't eat!). Do I need to replace them with anything to keep the consistency right? Or do you think it's fine to just leave them out?

 

Lucy T.
April 27, 2009

Thank you so much for posting this! It looks like the carrot cake recipe I have been looking for (and never found) for the last couple of years. I'm going to use those soft, melt in your mouth dates that you can get by the boxfull in Middle Eastern markets. I may use coconut oil instead of butter too, but maybe not.

I can't wait to make it!

PSI know you said you were going for pared down, but don't you think it really needs just a bit of nutmeg alongside the cinnamon? I can't imagine pairing carrots and bananas without that spice...

 

Susie
April 27, 2009

YUM. If you live in San Francisco and can get the freshly ground wheat flour from Eatwell Farms at the Ferry Building farmer's market, it's very well priced and I used it in a carrot cake a few months ago which gave it great texture.

Can't wait to try this one although I will probably switch olive oil for the butter.

Susie

 

veggievixen
April 27, 2009

fantastic! from your description i can imagine the texture of this cake...sounds delicious! almost like a quick bread version of carrot cake. i think carrot cake is my favorite kind of cake!

 

Jessica
April 27, 2009

I saw carrot cake in my e-mail alert from you & about jumped off my chair!

I make carrot cake cupcakes all the time, small & portable. I can't wait to try this version - always out to make things a bit healthier.

Question, I absolutely hate bananas... these don't taste too "bananaish" do they?!

 

five o'clock teaspoon
April 27, 2009

Just wanted to tell you that I love your baking style. The vegan carrot oatmeal cookies, to which I added curry powder, were fabulous and I've started replacing butter with coconut oil in many cookie recipes, with much success. This carrot cake looks lovely. Thanks for the great work.

 

Karla
April 27, 2009

This looks very good. I live in a fairly rural area and Greek yogurt is not available. Do you think regular yogurt will work, even though it's more watery?

 

Kristin @ De Nacho
April 27, 2009

Aw man! I wish you had posted this two days ago because I would love to have tried this in place of the plain old banana bread I made this weekend. Oh well. Soon. Very soon...

 

margot
April 27, 2009

Casey, I don't know about dried plums instead of dates, but I bet dried apricots would do just fine.

 

elizabeth pb
April 27, 2009

Oh Baby, Oh Baby, Oh Baby! Love carrot cake so much we actually had a wheat-free version made as a wedding cake some years back. Can't wait to try this, since we've got everything at hand!!

 

Cakebaker
April 27, 2009

MMMMM That cake looks good.

 

becca
April 27, 2009

I can't wait to try this - I loved the carrot oatmeal cookies (whoopie pies!) and this is another similar option but in loaf form: breakfast!

 

j.lurare
April 27, 2009

Oh!! it is sweet especially with banana flavour. thanx for making our cooking easy.

 

Sarah
April 27, 2009

I love it already for the lack of vegetable oil! Such a delicious-looking cake.

 

Marci
April 27, 2009

This sounds fabulous!! You are the best Heidi.

 

Midge
April 27, 2009

Heidi, your recipe is just so timely. My naturopathic doctor is having me cut out cane sugar from my diet, but a bit of maple syrup or agave nectar is okay. So this is perfect! Can't wait to try it.

 

Anne
April 27, 2009

Karla, you can drain regular yogurt to produce something that is texturally pretty close to greek yogurt - I don't see why it wouldn't work! You can drain it in cheesecloth or a coffee filter - just remember to start with more than you need to wind up with! :-)

 

cookincanuck
April 27, 2009

I adore carrot cake. So much that we had it for our wedding cake. I love the idea of sweetening it with bananas and dates. I will definitely be trying this recipe.

 

Lynne
April 27, 2009

I substitute a small pot of applesauce for the butter and it works perfectly

 

Lisa
April 27, 2009

How about substituting cooked sweet potatoe for the banana?

 

Lisa
April 27, 2009

How about substituting cooked sweet potatoe for the banana?

 

Paula
April 27, 2009

Hi Heidi,

I can't eat eggs and was wondering how I might make this cake with a substitute...
I know the standard substitutes (bananas, applesauce, apricot puree, yoghurt, etc), but most of those things are already in here!

Any thoughts?

Cheers for the brilliant recipes!
Paula

 

Kay
April 27, 2009

Heidi, The cake looks awesome! I'll try this soon.

 

jaime
April 27, 2009

For those who are dairy-free you may want to try using soy yogurt (and possibly strain with a coffee filter to get a thicker greek-yogurt texture) and Earth Balance for the butter. I believe they make sticks for baking now. They also make a vegan cream cheese (tofutti maybe?) for the frosting. Obviously I am lactose-intolerant too :)

 

Looks delicious. I especially like how you baked it in a loaf pan.

 

Paula
April 27, 2009

Michele - Pecans make a great substitute for walnuts!

 

Danielle
April 27, 2009

Carrot cake is my Favorite! and this looks fantastic! I can't wait to try this!

 

Betsy
April 27, 2009

What's a "dried" date? Is it just the dates you buy in a tub that have pits in them and you eat them?
HS: Yep, I just pop the seeds right out.

 

renee johnson
April 27, 2009

This recipe looks great, just what I've wanted to make for my husband. I make my own "fage" yogurt by draining organic yogurt in a coffee filter placed in a colander, over a bowl. I just keep it that way in my fridge, covered by an old quart size, yogurt lid. It gets so thick after a few days it's like cream cheese. Saves money and it's organic too.

 

Alicia
April 27, 2009

Just exactly what I needed, Heidi. My man has stage 3 cancer and really needs to cut back on simple sugar, needs to eat more; plus, replacing the yogurt and butter with thoroughly blended 1/2 Cup low-fat cottage cheese and 1/4 Cup flaxseed oil (as well as the cream cheese frosting) makes this a perfect "Dr. Johanna Budwig" cancer-fighting desert!

I use a hand blender to blend the cottage cheese and flax oil until completely blended (makes flaxseed oil water soluable) and then juice the carrots, blend in the juice with the very thick cream and then eggs and all the other ingredients.

It's just perfect! Thank you soooo much! Gobbling it up! Yes, recipes can save lives!

HS: Great tips Alicia, thanks for sharing them with us. Glad you're able to use some of there recipes here as a jumping off point.

 

Liz
April 27, 2009

I enjoy your recipes Heidi. I would be very interested in seeing if you had any ideas for veganizing this carrot cake. I have found it very difficult to make a good vegan carrot cake. Any ideas?

 

Lindsey
April 27, 2009

Carrot Cake! It's my fav cake next to chocolate cake...
Im so glad you used dates, there's a huge persian market by me and I picked up some "date paste" and have been trying to find a recipe to use it in. I will try this and see how it goes. Thanks!

 

Barbe
April 27, 2009

This is just yummy! Thought I'd mention...I have become a complete coconut oil convert, and substitute all oil and butter requirements with cold pressed coconut oil. In this cake especially it adds a wonderful flavor, not to mention all the health benefits. (And I have steadily lost nearly 20 pounds since adding this to my cooking about 3 months ago, with no other changes)
Thank you so much for all your recipes...they keep cooking fun!

 

amateurinthekitchen
April 27, 2009

I love carrot cake!!!! Can't wait to try this recipe.

 

Victoria
April 27, 2009

Heidi-
There are always so many comments, I'm not even sure if you have time to read them all! I just wanted to thank you once again for providing another healthful recipe of a classic. I greatly appreciate it and will be giving it a go this week. It looks absolutely delicious - I'm marveled at how you avoid all the yucky stuff... thank you oh so very much.

HS: I do Victoria. Sometimes I get a bit behind responding though :/ Thanks for the nice note, it's much appreciated.

 

Missy
April 27, 2009

Heidi,
Cannot believe how amazing this looks! Your photography is always beautiful!

Anyway, any chance you'd have tips on converting to Spelt Flour?? I've read mixed opinions and would love to hear yours if you get a chance..

thanks :)

 

Ah, you had me at carrot cake... Hard to go wrong -- and I like that this version, as are all of your recipes, is a healthier, less-sweet rendition. I have to admit, I can't promise to try the dates: I'm just not a fan. But who knows, if I can't recognize them maybe I won't mind them!

 

Terri Torpin
April 27, 2009

I made it.......We LOVED it! Thank You!

 

Alex
April 27, 2009

Heidi,
I've been reading your posts for a little while now and love your photografie as well. You are my food inspiration at the moment as I am striving to feed my family a wholesome AND exiting diet. Most of your recipies truly hit the mark in our home. So Thank you for sharing your time and passion with the virtual world.
I have my own humble blog as a journal of our culinary experiments as a family.
And now I am off to make your carrot cake as for once, I have all the ingredients at hand....
regards, Alex

 

Lauren
April 27, 2009

Heidi,

This looks great, love the use of bananas and dates to sweeten it.

I made a similar aort recently (dense, definitely rustic, and full of walnuts and delicious natural sultanas and currants). I used a combination of almond meal and spelt flour and I used a small amount of Cameillia Tea oil and I sweetened it with brown rice syrup. I mixed cream cheese with creamed honey for the frosting.

Love the photos as usual.

 

Karamjit
April 27, 2009

is the coconut in the carrot cake fresh or is it dried desiccated coconut.

 

Lauren
April 27, 2009

Sorry that's supposed to be "sort" not "aort"

 

Lora
April 27, 2009

so i just made this recipe & totally spaced & missed using the butter & it was still super yummy. It was a slight bit dense but in a good way, i can't wait to eat it for breakfast!

 

Zeba
April 27, 2009

I made this tonight. I don't know that I will be able to eat another sugary, greasy slice of carrot cake ever again.
It turned out wonderful.
I love pineapples in my carrot cake so I went ahead and added a little bit of drained crushed fresh pineapples.
I did not have any dates on hand so I substituted with raisins.
I added a little bit of orange zest in my frosting.
Loved it. Thank you Heidi !

 

Jennifer
April 27, 2009

I'm making it right now and I'm so excited!

thanks so much for all the great recipes.

 

juli
April 27, 2009

I'm wondering if this would also work as a layer cake? I realize I might have to use thicker frosting, but I was hoping to make a fancy layer cake for a birthday, but I love the idea of making one without sugar.

 

Kitchen M
April 27, 2009

So, does it taste like banana, too?
Sounds very interesting. I have made a banana tea cake with dates and walnuts once and it was wonderful. :)

 

Organic Goodness
April 27, 2009

Yea! This is one of my favorite ways to make carrot cake.. If one wanted to go super duper natural you can make a carrot manna bread...which is a bread made from sprouted wheat berries baked at a very low temp.(easier than it sounds) carrots, juice concentrate, and dried fruit are the bulk of the recipe(besides the wheat berries) Thanks for the inspiration!

 

Heidi,
I'm so happy you posted this. I've lately been craving a good carrot cake that's full of the nutritious and delicious things instead of just sugar and flour. This looks fantastic.
Take care.

 

Pauline
April 27, 2009

I am thrilled to find a recipe which has cut out sugar. I live in Egypt and I am always looking for alternatives to refined sugar. I use date syrup in most of my cake recipes. I love carrot cake but usually put sugar as well as date syrup. This is a much healthier and nutritious alternative I'm going to try it out right away. As I have a cholesterol problem I replace butter with corn oil. I am also fortunate to be able to pick my own delicious sticky dates from the palm tree in my garden:-)

 

Talia
April 27, 2009

Hi Heidi,

In Israel you can get date syrup, called Silan. Its a thick dark brown delicious syrup that is exactly what you need for this cake. I wonder if you can buy it in the US as well.

Talia

 

Nikki
April 28, 2009

This "beast" sounds and looks wonderful. Can't wait to try it.

 

Hs
April 28, 2009

Hi there

I am new to your site -and in fact, cooking! I must say I really like this website. I think you write very well, your style is both interesting and to the point. Every recipe reads like you're sharing a secret ingredient in your recipe of life and I appreciate that every time. I have never been one for cooking, let alone baking (it's more that I have never learned it, or been exposed to it rather than that I didn't like it) but your recipes make it impossible for me to stay away now. As I'm currently based in West Africa, most of these ingredients cannot be found here, but I can't wait to try all your recipes once I'm back in NZ. Rest assured that I will be exhausting all of your recipes which feature ingredients available here.

p.s. I absolutely adore carrot cake in general, but this really sounds divine!

 

Jeannette from Brussels
April 28, 2009

Hi, am new to you but saw this cake and couldn't resist.... The ingredients came together wonderfully even though I didn't have whole wheat flour. It's a little on the less-than-sweet enough side for me, even though I don't have a sweet tooth and I loved the idea of not adding any sugar. On the other hand I have dusted slices with powdered sugar and that seems to do the trick (haven't done the frosting part, out of concern that the frosting doesn't set well enough to transport in a lunch box....) Overall a fab recipe I will make again!

 

Michele
April 28, 2009

Thank you, Paula! :) Amazingly, pecans are the only nut we know he can safely eat, so I'll try that. I imagine they'd go very nicely with this recipe too. Thanks again!

 

Sarrah
April 28, 2009

I probably wouldn't get to the baking stage and would probably eat the mix! Looks delicious as always!

 

gunjan
April 28, 2009

Sounds amazing, but i don't eat eggs :( Can I sub the eggs with anything else/ leave them out? Any and all suggestions welcome!

 

Laura
April 28, 2009

I love carrot cake...yum! : )

 

Tricia
April 28, 2009

I Can't wait to try this!!! I've been dying for a good carrot cake recipe!!
p.s. new here but I LOVE your site!

 

Lilly
April 28, 2009

Perfect timing! I just got a bunch of carrots and bananas while they were on sale. I'll definitely be trying this.

 

Ognjenka
April 28, 2009

Hi!

I've just recently started reading your blog and I love it - everything from the visual identity to the way you write about food and the recipes. I've made this carrot cake today and everyone loved it! One 'spin' I've done is that I've added a bit of cinnamon to the cream cheese.The cake was perfect! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe which will most certainly become a regular in my family :)

HS: Welcome Ognjenka, I love the cinnamon idea, I can imagine it was just the right touch.

 

Hillary
April 28, 2009

I didn't know there were bananas in carrot cake - great recipe!

 

Ashley
April 28, 2009

This looks so moist and delicious - WOW!

 

Nicole Faraclas
April 28, 2009

My coworkers are munching on this as I type! I made it wheat-free (alas, not 100% gluten free) by substituting one cup oat flour and one cup gluten-free baking mix, for one of my wheat-sensitive coworkers, and it turned out great. Very hearty and 100% yummy. Just got praise from another coworker who was coming back for seconds! Thanks Heidi for another delicious and healthful recipe!

HS: Thanks for reporting back Nicole, I'm going to add your notes to the head notes of the recipe - for any readers avoiding wheat. Glad it worked out!

 

Alex
April 28, 2009

This sounds awesome and can't wait to try it this weekend. I'm going to the grocery store tonight on my way home to pick up the ingredients. I have a coworker who is a carrot cake fanatic, so I will bring him some and see if it ranks up there with some of the best he's had. I'll post back the results!

 

Melissa
April 28, 2009

Heidi - I love your website and visit it every time I'm looking to make a recipe. If I have a certain ingredient on hand I'll come here and search for it to see what lovely creations you've created. Today I decided to use the carrot pulp from some juiced carrots I made yesterday, so I visited to see if you had any carrot cake or muffin recipes. To my surprise I found today's recipe for carrot cake - and I happened to have most of the ingredients! I've made several slight changes since the carrot pulp was more voluminous than 1.5 cups and drier than shredded carrots would be. I also made them into muffins instead of cake and I'm going to forgo the icing. These will be breakfast muffins so I don't need any added sweetener. They are baking right now; I'll let you know how they turn out!

 

Nancy
April 28, 2009

Ah, Fair Lady, my kingdom for an agave & banana sweetened walnut laden cream cheese frosted carrot cake!!!!!
Delighful!

 

Angela@Spinach Tiger
April 28, 2009

I am always experimenting with agave nectar. I used it for a pastry cream the other day and melted chocolate with it, and it's increasingly becoming my baking partner. I just started eating greek yogurt and am thinking this is my next new baking friend.
I like carrot cake without the pineapple and coconut so I know I would like this one. One thing I like to do is add a touch of lemon to my frosting.

 

Jeri Sessler
April 28, 2009

Heidi--thanks for this. It looks delicious. However, I am DEATHLY allergic to bananas (and Kiwi) and not sure how to substitute. Any ideas? I was thinking of applesauce or other but don't want to make too wet and I know bananas add both sweetness and moisture, so suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks. I LOVE vegetable cakes and breads so would love to try this.

 

Evan Schoninger
April 28, 2009

You forgot to mention how amazing the house smells while it's baking. Only twenty minutes in, this is going to be a hard one to let cool!

 

Maureen
April 29, 2009

Perfect timing! I happen to have too many brown bananas in my fruit bowl and was lamenting them this morning! I think I even have dates (and if I don't...I'll follow Zeba's lead and use raisins.)

Looking forward to trying this!!!! :)

 

Amber
April 29, 2009

I just made this and veganized it with tofutti, added a splash of vanilla to the frosting, and substituted bob's red mill all purpose white, and actually just used regular whole wheat flour-it is hearty and dense, but tastes great. i also used fresh dates. I would probably add raisins next time, and maybe a sprinkle of coconut on top. other than that easy!

 

Michelle
April 29, 2009

I substituted coconut flavoured silken tofu for the yogurt and it turned out incredibly moist and delish! And three days later it's still as good as ever.
Thanks for the amazing recipe.

 

Amber
April 29, 2009

oh, also i used ener-g-egg replacer and veg butter which also worked fine.

 

Lindsey Ann Bledsoe
April 29, 2009

I'm so excited that you posted a carrot cake recipe!! I am a huge carrot cake fan, although I have two great recipes (one sugar-less, organic, and one that is...sinfully sugar-filled) I'm so excited to add another to my repertoire.

 

Jen Galatioto
April 29, 2009

SO TRYING THIS. LOVE CARROT CAKE!!!

 

DG
April 29, 2009

Melissa,

How did your modifications turn out using the carrot pulp? Would you share the other modifications you made given that the pulp is drier and more voluminous? Thanks!

 

Morta Di Fame
April 29, 2009

I am not a vegan but I wonder since you are only using 2 eggs if this can be veganized without ruining quality. Vegan cream cheese is not the same, but if the cake is super-del then you don't need it anyway. Looks delicious. Does anyone have info on stevia sweetener? Is it bad for you?

 

Mahnaz
April 29, 2009

I made this last night substituting pecans for walnuts and it was very good.
Was very surprised the cake did not taste too much like banana bread, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Thank you for the recipe, and I look forward to your next posting.

 

Hollie
April 29, 2009

I was in the mood for carrot cake and looked on your site the day before you posted this recipe. Needless to say, I was very excited when I saw this and am looking forward to trying it! Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

 

zoe
April 29, 2009

Looks delicious! I will give it a try

 

brandi
April 29, 2009

This looks so good - what a great alternative to real carrot cake, and a good bit healthier, too!

 

Flooke
April 29, 2009

Dried dates are quite hard to come by where I'm from. Can I use dried pitted plums / prunes instead?

 

Rubí
April 29, 2009

Hi Heidi, biggest Mexican Fan here, I´ve just finished eating a piece of the cake, but it came out a little bitter, I think it was the "jocoqui" or "jocoque" - which is the Mexican version of Greek yogurt- I used.
I also added a little cardamon.
Though my daughters have no problem with the cake they ate two pieces each.
Should I substitute the "jocoque" with the drained yogurt? Thanks.

 

Jodye
April 29, 2009

Carrot cake is my boyfriend's favorite.. I know what I'll be making him this weekend!

 

Carlotta
April 29, 2009

Thanks for the great recipe, Heidi! I made this the day you posted(I couldn't resist!) and it came out very moist and very delicious. Thanks for all the great recipes throughout the past few years!!!

 

Anonymous
April 29, 2009

this was the best thing ever, thank you!

 

Megan
April 29, 2009

Hi Heidi,
I tell everyone I know about the power of bananas (in baking)! I'll try them in this recipe as well.

Thanks!

 

Gourmet Chick
April 30, 2009

I am bookmarking this one for sure. I love carrot cake and I love the fact that you do not need a blender to make this one.

 

Naomi
April 30, 2009

Hi Heidi,
This recipe looks amazing and I can't wait to try it. Except that I'm vegan....any thoughts on how to veganize this recipe without destroying its character?
Thanks!

 

Caroline
April 30, 2009

Heidi. I just subscribed to your blog and the next morning the carrot cake recipe lands in my inbox. I made it straight away. Turns out to be a pretty big cake - and guess what! It was gone by evening. I loved it. Hubby loved it. Our 2yr old son only loved the making of it... but that's okay! He'll get used to it. Thanks for your great site.

 

Mirjam
April 30, 2009

If I´d make this cake in a muffin mold, do you think they´d turn out fine? this recipe sounds so good but I don´t really have a good cake mold and would like to try it for my birthday "party" at work.

 

amberjee
April 30, 2009

same question as mirjam above. do you think we could do cupcakes/muffins? we have a toddler party next week and i imagine these would be perfect. perhaps i'll just reduce the cooking time a little - any thoughts?

 

valeria
April 30, 2009

hi heidi! I've made this carrot cake the day before yesterday . It's really good ,too good. but I have a question. do I have to keep it in the fridge? it turned out really moist and I'm not sure if it's safe to keep it at room temperature. thank you!

 

Toronto Chickens
April 30, 2009

We made this today and it is absolutely wonderful! The bananas do their job, while not taking over the flavour base. And the cream cheese sweetened with maple syrup is out of this world!

Thank you!

TC

 

Cristel
April 30, 2009

I tried your unfussy apple cake recipe earlier this week and everyone at work loved it. I added 1 tsp of garam masala and serve it warm with a touch of maple syrup and more spice dusted on top. It was brilliant!

Yesterday night, I baked your carrot cake and just finished frosting it this morning. My hubby already took half to share with his co-workers today, and I'll be taking the other half to work too. It was very easy to prepared and look sensational. I'm sure it will be a hit! Thanks for all your amazing recipes!!

 

Cristel
May 1, 2009

So....
11 lucky people tried the cake, and everyone liked it very much.
I am very pleased with the texture and taste too. You can definitely taste the sweetness of the banana. Lovely!

 

Sailaja
May 1, 2009

Of late cake has been filling my thoughts. My 6 year old wants me to bake a cake. I have been trying to figure out what to bake and look what you have here. Perfect, I have all the ingredients on hand. Thank you, Heidi!

 

Flo
May 1, 2009

I didn't have any bananas in the house, so I made these (I did cupcakes instead of a cake) with quarter of a cup of maple sugar. Couldn't think of anything to replace the lost texture from the bananas, so didn't bother, and they've turned out well. Just having an unfrosted one for breakfast -- delicious!

 

Rosemary
May 1, 2009

I was excited like others about a naturally sweetened carrot cake without a cup of oil. Mine tastes salty, soapy and fatty!! (with the banana and dates probably could use 4-6 Tbsp butter) I should have noticed that 2-1/2 tsp baking powder is a lot and the addition of yogurt usually calls for some baking soda to neutralize the acid.
Would love to know if there is a print error on the ingredient list.
Has anyone made this recipe and how did it taste?

 

gina
May 1, 2009

i thought maybe there was an error in the directions as well... i forgot to do anything with the walnuts because the directions didn't mention them. When i remembered that the recipe called for walnuts, my cake was already in the oven. So i chopped them very fine and sprinkled them on top of the icing... which was great.

My cake tasted great and turned out great! Next time i will need to leave it in the oven a few minutes longer (maybe 70 minutes) as mine was a bit gooey in the middle (which sometimes, i like).

HS: Hi Gina, the recipe calls for the walnuts to be mixed in with the dry ingredients toward the beginning of the recipe. Sorry that you missed that.

 

Jessica Shirah
May 1, 2009

Wow can't wait to try this, we LOVE carrot cake! I'm so glad I can use some of the extra dates that I just bought, to use for your Lentil Almond Stir Fry recipe that I am STILL making!!

 

Sarah
May 1, 2009

I just made this cake last night for my yoga retreat! I think the yogis will like it. Heidi, I am wondering if you had some suggestions for veganizing (it's a verb now:) the cake part. I made your carrot cookies and they were a hit. Coconut oil?

 

Sarah
May 1, 2009

I made this last night with a bit of nutmeg added--just delicious! I didn't have Greek yoghurt--just Nancy's plain, and it was fine. Might try to add orange juice next time and make an orange glaze instead of the cream cheese frosting, and I'll definitely bake it in a round cake pan. It took well over an hour to bake in my loaf pan. Thanks, Heidi, for such a great recipe.

 

Vanessa
May 1, 2009

I just made this (it's still hot) and my husband and I have dived right in. I substituted the butter with a mashed cooked apple oil mix and skipped the walnuts and topping (for calorie sake). I am beating my husband off with a wooden spoon as I write (kidding!).
I would add a bit of grated ginger next time and, like Sarah, bake it in a round cake pan. Although I am happy to wait the full hour for this delight.

 

Tiny Banquet
May 1, 2009

This sounds really terrific. I am always cutting down on the quantity of sugar in desserts because I haven't got much of a sweet tooth so I love the idea of a carrot cake that relies on fruit for sweetness. My favorite carrot cake is a Madhur Jaffrey one with cardamom in it; I might try adding some to this one.

 

Pam
May 1, 2009

I finally bought some coconut oil the other day specifically so I could try this recipe. We got some beautiful carrots in our CSA box this week, too. Can't wait to make it this weekend.

 

Pamela_in_Tokyo
May 1, 2009

I am going to try this cake too! I love carrot cake, but like the others, less oil is wonderful! And I love banana cake too. Two for one!!

I made the chocolate cake that your recently did and it was great! I went ahead and used all the maple syrup called for even though the 2 bottles were about 18 dollars here in Japan! Everyone in my women's group loved it. And later, my husband had a piece and enjoyed it too!!

General comments vs Cooking comments:
I didn't get to comment on the chocolate cake when the comment section was open, but I would like to here: it would be great if you had a section of comments where people could write about what happened when they actually make the recipe. For example, I don't have an 8x8 pan or a 9x9 pan. Instead, I used a 7x13 pan. It turned out fine. And I made sure it was a little under done, as you suggested. Also, for some reason, my frosting did not turn out as dark looking as your photo...?? I don't know why. My chocolate was very dark. Also, the cake raised well well with the cocoa. It was at least 7 cm (2.7 in) thick. I could have cut it in half for a layer cake if I wanted.

This is a small matter, but it would be great if the comment box where we type is a little longer. It is kind of small and boxy now... :-)

 

Tory
May 1, 2009

I just made this and it is fantastic! I used Medjool dates and 0% Fage and it worked beautifully. Next time I might try without the eggs, add some crystallized ginger to the cake and/or the frosting, and follow others' suggestions to add some citrus. Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Heidi.

 

Scarlet
May 2, 2009

this is amazing.

 

Gabrielle
May 2, 2009

The cake turned out beautifully! I think my favorite part might be the frosting - I'll never have to use sugar in my cream cheese ever again.

I do admit that I do prefer my cakes a little bit sweeter - what kind of sweetener do you suggest? Could I put some maple syrup in the cake? Any suggestions would be really helpful :).

HS: Hi Gabrielle - glad you liked it! You could try any number of things to get more sweetness, or sweetness with a bit more edge to it. I think I'd try 1/4 cup of fine grain natural cane sugar or muscavado, date sugar, or maple sugar. See how that goes, and make sure your bananas are extra ripe.

 

GG Merkel
May 2, 2009

This looks absolutely dreamy!

 

Vanilla
May 2, 2009

I see that in the ingredients there is cinnamon there. Can I change it to vanilla powder instead? My tongue isn't a fan of cinnamon. :)

 

jay
May 3, 2009

Vanilla,
Is the site you linked to a reliable source for vanilla beans in your experience? The prices are incredible so I'm worried its too good to be true....

 

Alison Lewis
May 3, 2009

This recipe looks great as it has some of my ultimate favorite ingredients: agave nectar, carrots, bananas, dates and Greek Yogurt. I can't wait to try this recipe! Hope you're doing well, Alson

 

bill
May 3, 2009

your r ecpy was good thanks

 

Mike
May 4, 2009

Hi Heidi,

Long time lurker, first time commenter. The cake was amazing. It will become the standard carrot cake recipe in the house. I especially love that it has NO sugar but is still plenty naturally sweet for the kids!

 

revekah
May 4, 2009

i have made this twice already! once for guests, once for a late night craving...i would describe the texture as more of a "carrot bread" or "carrot loaf", but i am glad it's called "carrot cake" because the former two sound sort of strange or sort of oliver twist. without icing, it's really nice for breakfast as well, i added wheat germ to mine!

 

Heather
May 4, 2009

Wow, Heidi, great recipe. I"m cooking my way through the site or as good as, and looking at food through totally different eyes thanks to you and the website.

 

kati*
May 5, 2009

made it, LOVED it!*

 

justcooknyc
May 5, 2009

interesting. i might have to try this out.

 

Latha
May 5, 2009

Hi Heidi,

I wanted to post this comment under carrot oatmeal cookies but looks like the form is closed!

I would like to bake the carrot cookies and Nikki's Healthy cookies for a friend's kid who is Lactose-intolerant... the recipes are perfect! How about the shelf life? It might take upto 10 days between baking and delivery...

Thanks!

 

Sarah
May 5, 2009

I think this looks like heaven, and I especially love that there's no white sugar in it. Totally obsessed with date-sweetened treats lately. This looks amazing, Heidi.

 

Roxy
May 5, 2009

Hi Heidi,

I made this carrot cake for a garden party in the student garden at UC Berkeley. Unfortunately it rained, so the party was rescheduled. I think the plants were having a water party without us. However, I gave the cake to my friends who loved it.

Question: Can bananas ever become too overripe? Mine were black and they smelled a little alcoholic when I mashed them. Does this affect how much sweetness they contribute to the cake?

I posted a picture of the cake I baked on my food/gardening blog. You inspire me to cook healthily and use the beautiful seasonal produce at Berkeley Bowl.

Thanks for the delicious recipes,
Roxy

 

V
May 6, 2009

I made this for a potluck brunch which featured many delicious and decadent offerings, but this was by far one of the biggest crowd pleasers!
I followed the recipe as written except I used regular Strauss yogurt and added ginger, cardamom, and orange zest, and made the frosting with a couple spoonfuls of honey.
Thanks for a fantastic recipe!

 

Alicia
May 6, 2009

Veganize recipies that have eggs; 1 egg = 1 tablespoon fresh ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water, whisk until frothy

I just found this nifty news searching for ways to use all the crushed flaxseeds when I make fresh oil with my Samson juicer with the oil extractor attachment. Hope this helps all the vegans out there and when any of us run out of eggs :-)

As far as the cream cheese, maybe something along the lines of a lemon chickpea humus would be cool. I'll work on it.

Heidi, this carrot cake is an amazing nexus for all of us. Wow!

 

Sophie
May 8, 2009

Fabulous cake! I made it this morning, using three bananas that I'd frozen when they were already pretty black. I only had one large carrot so I substituted the rest with a grated sweet potato. I thought maybe I could get away with using tamarind but it seemed too sticky and sour from the packet, so in the end I used some particularly luscious dates. I made this cake so I could give my toddler a sugar-free cake but I'm pretty sure my husband and I will polish most of it off! I didn't ice it and I don't think it's necessary. Very pleasantly not too sweet. I used one cup regular wholewheat flour, one cup white flour. Looking forward to making MANY more of your healthy baking recipes.

 

amanda
May 8, 2009

heidi: my friend cat & i made it this last weekend! it was fantastic. i loved how dense it was, and the date/banana combo really gave the cake a perfect amount of sweetness. I had never cut dried dates so finely, but I bought some from Rainbow and gave it a try. I had to try and little taste of the date infused melted butter before i put it into the batter. wow, incredible.
Thanks for another great recipe :)

 

Victoria
May 11, 2009

I tried this cake with 1 cup brown rice flour and scant 1 cup amaranth flour, plus 2TBS arrowroot flour (I am sure it would work with almond flour too, but I didn't happen to have any). I substituted melted coconut oil for butter (I used a 3 oz, not 4) and used unsweetened soy yogurt. So, I ended up with a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free DELICIOUS carrot cake!! I had to bake it just a little longer. It is a moist cake, so you'll want to refrigerate it after it cools. Thanks for the recipe!

 

Mallory
May 12, 2009

I made this yesterday and it is fantastic! It does taste very much like banana bread with carrots rather than "carrot cake," but it was really enjoyable.

I made 1/2 the recipe, subbed applesauce for the butter and used a 1/2 a small banana and tsp of flaxmeal to replace the eggs--so it was vegan except for the yogurt (which could be replaced with soy yogurt). I baked it in a 9 inch round cake pan for 30 minutes. It makes 6 nice cake slices when cooked this way.

Thanks Heidi for developing this fantastic recipe! How about tackling cupcakes without refined sugar or white flour next!?!?!

 

Alex
May 17, 2009

This recipe was truly amazing. I shared it with many at work and it got rave reviews! Now everyone is asking me to make more. And some have even asked for just a bowl of the icing (which I modified slightly from the one provided by Heidi).