Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

by Cat, Sept 2007 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Growing up, I’d never had carrot cake, but when I was first on my own in 1970s Oregon, and participating in the back-to-the-land movement (even though I lived in a city), earthy foods like carrots were quite popular. I first had carrot cake with cream cheese frosting at a hippie cafe called Suzie Cream Cheese. And I loved it.

The first recipe included here is one I’ve had for a very long time – dating back to those hippie days. It includes pineapple, which is something I can’t eat because of allergy, so I have learned to substitute with chopped apples or unsweetened applesauce. The second recipe uses raisins and orange juice, but no nuts.

No matter which recipe you choose, after baking and cooling, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting (either of 2 versions). Garnish frosting with grated coconut, if desired. Or serve without frosting.

Regarding Sweeteners:

I provide sweetening options for these recipes, including white cane sugar or minimally processed dehydrated cane sugar such as Rapdura, xylitol (a sugar alcohol and good substitute for white sugar); or either of these with stevia extract powder to reduce the amount of sugar.

Other options include local honey, Organic maple syrup, or unsulfured molasses; but if you use these, you will need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe (see the referenced articles under “Do Use” below for more detail).

While I’ve adapted my recipes to use stevia as the main sweetener, I indicated how to adjust the recipe if you don’t want to use stevia.

Do use (alone, or in combination):

Do not use:

  • Imitation maple syrup (pancake syrup); it’s better to use brown or white cane sugar than the high fructose corn syrup found in imitation maple syrup.
  • Corn syrup, as it is made from GMO corn and is usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is a GMO product
  • Regular brown or white sugar which is made from GMO sugar beets (unless the package specifically indicates cane sugar); use only cane sugar, and I prefer to use Rapadura or other brands of dehydrated sugar cane juice which is similar in flavor to half brown, half white sugar combination.

Regarding flours

The best whole grain flour for cakes is pastry flour (soft wheat) or spelt flour, both of which are low protein. If you want to use white flour, use either unbleached pastry flour (low-protein) or unbleached all-purpose flour, the latter being a mix of hard and soft wheat (high- and low-protein); refer to my Flour & Starches articles on Wheat and Other True Grains.

If using spelt flour, you will need to increase the amount of flour or reduce the liquid, because spelt is not as dry as wheat.

Carrot Cake, with Pineapple (or Apple), with Optional Walnuts

This recipe is adapted from one that I’ve had in my collection for so long, I no longer remember the source, but it greatly resembles a recipe on a package of  Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour, which is the type of flour I recommend for this recipe.

I’ve had this recipe in my collection for a long time; I don’t recall the source. However, it is quite similar to a Bob’s Red Mil recipe (1), so they may have a common original source. Eventually I figured out I am allergic to pineapple unless it is really ripe, so now I substitute chopped apples or unsweetened applesauce.

This version uses a combination of Rapadura or brown sugar and xylitol (or stevia) as sweetener. Xylitol is a natural sweetener – a sugar alcohol – that can be found in the bark of white birch trees (though most commercial xylitol is made from corncobs). For this reason, I look for Organic xylitol to avoid the GMOs of commercial corn. Xylitol has a lower glycemic index and fewer calories than white sugar, but behaves much the same as white sugar in recipes.

Use all walnuts, or half walnut, half grated raw or dehydrated coconut meat. I highly recommend pre-soaking, then drying or roasting the walnuts, but you have to start that at least 2 days ahead of time.

You can easily double this recipe by doubling all ingredients, but you may need to adjust the flour, so add the last ¼ cup, 1 Tbsp at a time.  Use a 9″ x 13″ pan, and bake about 50 minutes.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • ½ cup Rapadura sugar (or brown sugar) *
  • ½ cup white sugar or xylitol (or ¼ tsp stevia extract powder) *
  • ½ cup olive oil (or coconut oil, melted, if the room is warm)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional; soaked and dried; see Soaking & Sprouting Nuts & Seeds)
  • 8 oz canned crushed pineapple, drained (or 1 cup chopped apple, cored; or 1 cup unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1 tsp butter or coconut oil (to grease the baking pan)
  • large and small bowls
  • whisk
  • 9″ x 9″ square baking pan (or 9″ x 13″ pan for a doubled recipe)

The original recipe used ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup white sugar but I prefer to use more healthful alternatives given in the recipe.


  1. Day before:  Soak and Dry the chopped walnuts. I usually prepare a bunch so I have extra for future use.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Grease baking pan with butter or coconut oil.
  4. If using raw apple, remove the core, then chop the meat coarsely. Place in blender and process a bit; add stevia (if using) and process until smooth.
  5. Mix sweeteners (except stevia), oil, eggs, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl, using a whisk.  NOTE:  If using stevia, mix it into the pineapple or applesauce (or raw apple processed in blender as in previous step).
  6. Sift flour, soda and baking powder onto the egg mixture, and stir to combine.
  7. Stir in carrots, nuts and pineapple/apple.  Stir just until blended.
  8. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan.  Bake for about 40 minutes (50 minutes for a doubled recipe), until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a rack.
  9. Frost with a Cream Cheese Frosting.

Carrot Cake, with Golden Raisins & Orange

This recipe is adapted from one in our local Daily InterLake newspaper, and makes a larger, rectangular cake.

The coconut flour is added to absorb the excess liquid from the orange juice and increase the fiber content. If you eliminate the coconut flour, reduce the volume of juice to ¼ – ⅓ cup and increase the pastry flour to 2 cups, or replace the coconut flour with ¼ cup unbleached white flour.

My adaptation uses stevia and sugar as sweetener, but I provide instructions to use all sugar.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour *
  • ¼ cup coconut flour *
  • 4 tsp baking powder, aluminum free
  • ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 fresh Organic orange (for zest and juice)
  • 5 large organic carrots, scrubbed and grated
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp Rapadura sugar (or ⅔ cup Rapadura or brown sugar, and omit the stevia)
  • ¼ tsp stevia extract powder (omit if using ⅔ cup Rapadura/brown sugar)
  • ½ cup golden raisins, soaked (see method, below)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup coconut oil (softened)
  • 1 tsp butter or coconut oil (to grease the baking pan)
  • large and small bowls
  • whisk
  • 9″ square baking pan

* NOTE: The coconut flour is used to increase fiber content; however you can instead use ¼ cup unbleached white flour and reduce orange juice/water mix to ¼ cup.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease baking pan with butter or coconut oil.
  3. Plump raisins: Measure raisins into a bowl and cover with hot or boiled water. Let rest for 10 – 15 minutes, then drain off any remaining water.
  4. Measure flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a sifter, and sift into a large bowl.
  5. Grate the zest of the orange, and add to the dry ingredients.
  6. Cut the orange in half and squeeze out the juice into a 1 cup measuring cup.  If it does not come to ½ cup, add water to measure a total of ½ cup.  Add stevia, stirring to dissolve.
  7. Add grated carrots, sugar and plumped raisins to dry ingredients and mix well.
  8. Using a small bowl and a whisk, whip eggs until well mixed, then whisk in softened coconut oil and orange juice/water mix until well blended. Stir into the batter, mixing well.
  9. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan.  Bake in preheated oven about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a rack.
  10. Frost with a Cream Cheese Frosting.


  1. Bob’s Red Mill recipe #931 (link removed at their request)
  2. Daily Inter Lake newspaper recipe from 2011, probably from the AP

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