When you crave carrot cake, but not all the sugar that goes with it, turn to this Hit-the-Spot Healthy Spiced Carrot Cake for deliverance. Loaded with spices, sweetened with pure maple syrup, and topped with a delicious ginger, cream cheese, and maple frosting, this cake will not disappoint.
The Bunnies are Circling
We have officially transitioned into Spring. The children love decorating for Spring. As a result, the bunnies came out today, and for some reason I started craving carrot cake. Do you ever get hit with a craving for carrot cake? It happens to me often, but I am not a fan of all the sugar in traditional carrot cake recipes, especially in the the cream cheese frosting. Plus, most recipes are a little too stingy on the spices. There is something about the spices in the carrot cake smothered in cream cheese frosting that just hits the spot. Well…there is no need to censor those carrot cake cravings any longer.
Now granted, this will not be a recipe for carrot cake that you are used to. It does not contain 3-5 cups of powdered sugar for the frosting and 2 cups of white sugar for the cake. In fact, there is no sugar in this cake at all. Amazingly, this Hit-the-Spot Healthy Spiced Carrot Cake is sweetened with just pure, maple syrup. Why am I bragging about this recipe? Because it actually satiates that carrot cake craving, and satisfies the bunny monster inside, without sending your body into a sugar coma.
What I Love About this Spiced Carrot Cake
Despite my love for healthy food, I do have a sweet tooth, and enJOY the challenge of adapting a recipe and making it healthier. For instance, this recipe has been slightly adapted from one of my favorite herb cookbooks of all time, Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalee De La Forêt. Rosalee’s book was my introduction into 29 of the most common herbs including delicious recipes to go with them. Everything in her book is already healthy, I just wanted to tweak it a bit to suit our preferences.
Additionally, I LOVE spices. The more the better. In the movie, 100 Foot Journey, Papa accuses the French of being too stingy with their spices. Madame Mallory rolls her eyes because, in her traditional opinion, his Indian cooking is excessive. They eventually come to realize a compromise that melds their two cultures into a new and unique Michelin star taste.
All that to say, I hear Papa in my head all the time when I am adding spices to my food. He says to not add enough spice is to have “meanness of spirit”. Papa continues, “If you have a spice, use it. Don’t sprinkle it. Spoon it in.” I guess desserts for me are a time to spoon in all the spices, especially in a spiced carrot cake. Not only do they add amazing flavor, but health benefits as well. Spices are loaded with phytochemicals that reduce inflammation. So bring on the spices.
- For the Cake:
- 6 Tablespoons coconut, almond, OR Einkorn all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 5 organic free-range eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or avocado oil
- 3 raw carrots, finely grated
- zest of 1 organic orange (reserve 1/2 tsp for frosting)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- For the Frosting:
- 8 oz softened organic cream cheese
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- reserved 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325°.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil, vanilla, and maple syrup.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to incorporate.
- Stir in the finely grated carrots, orange zest, and raisins.
- Pour the batter into a prepared 9X9 baking dish or cake pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool completely for 1 hour.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare your frosting.
- To make the frosting: Cream together the butter and cream cheese.
- Mix in the maple syrup and vanilla. Stir in the grated ginger and remaining reserved 1/2 tsp. of orange zest.
- Frost your cooled cake and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
- Serve to all your hungry bunnies and enJOY!