Carrot Cake. No added Fat or Oil! But still beautifully moist and delicious

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Carrot Cake. No added Fat or Oil! A bit of a lighter version of carrot cake using applesauce instead of a large amount of vegetable oil. Fantastic with our cheesecake frosting!

A slice of no added fat carrot cake on a white plate

No Added Fat Carrot Cake. Super moist with no added oil, butter or other fat.

Just last week Spouse and I were out to lunch and decided to have dessert after our meal. As often happens, she ordered the carrot cake.

Now, this was a casual restaurant and there certainly was no pastry chef out back, knocking out cakes and other treats from scratch every day. 

Photo of an uncut no added fat carrot cake

Carrot Cake. No added Fat or Oil!

In fact, unless I miss my guess by a country mile, these were factory made frozen desserts, widely used in the restaurant and catering industries. In this case, though, it didn’t really matter.

I snagged a bite of her carrot cake which had quite a tasty cream cheese frosting, but that wasn’t what caught my attention. It was the well spiced flavour of the cake that was really noteworthy.

Writing a food blog can sometimes mean going “middle of the road” when writing some recipes. In other words, I modify the amount of some ingredients to hopefully be pleasing to as many people as possible.

This is true for spicy heat in particular in recipes like spicy wings or even a good butter chicken curry. However the same applies on occasion to baking recipes as well.

Overhead shot of an uncut carrot cake with coffee

Great with a good cup of coffee!

The spices in carrot cake.

We have featured a few carrot cakes over the years on Rock Recipe, my particular favourite being my Pineapple Pecan Carrot Cake.  That cake is quite delicious but for my taste, it is pretty mild on the spice side, using only cinnamon and nutmeg.

However, the cake that I sampled at the restaurant was quite boldly spiced, using the addition of what I tasted to be allspice and perhaps a dash of ground cloves. Both Spouse and I thought it was a very tasty cake indeed, and very much enjoyed the heavier hit of spices.

I decided to try something along those lines for myself.

 

Creating a lower fat carrot cake.

Another intended recipe idea that has been on my radar for quite  while, is to attempt a no added fat carrot cake. Naturally, I thought, why not combine those two ideas in the same recipe?

To keep the cake moist, I relied on an old standard technique used by many bakers when adapting a lower fat recipe. Good old fashioned unsweetened applesauce is often used to replace fat in such recipes and that is exactly what I did.

It worked like a charm.

Close up photo of the top of the garnished carrot cake

Toasted pecans look great with the candied carrot slices as garnish.

Combined with the moisture from the finely grated carrot,  the applesauce helped to keep the proper texture of the cake without problem.

 

Make it a day ahead.

You can, of course, serve this on the day it is baked, no problem. In recent years however, I have gotten into the habit of  baking  carrot cake a day ahead.

This is great for entertaining, of course. Being able to accomplish dessert a day ahead can be a blessing, time wise.

Adding the frosting to the first layer of the carrot cake

Adding the frosting to the first layer of the carrot cake.

Adding the second layer to the cake

Adding the second layer to the cake.

In this case, I think it also improves the texture of the cake. The moisture in the carrots and applesauce tends to dissipate slowly into the crumb structure of the cake, ensuring great flavour & texture.

If you have the time, or are planning in advance, I recommend you try that approach as well.

Try this recipe at your next get together and see if your guests guess that it is a lower fat version.

Mix together the eggs, applesauce, brown sugar vanilla and milk

Mix together the eggs, applesauce, brown sugar vanilla and milk

Add the carrots and nuts to the wet ingredients

Add the carrots and nuts to the wet ingredients

Mix in the carrots and nuts

Mix in the carrots and nuts.

Mix together the dry ingredients

Mix together the dry ingredients

Fold in the dry ingredients

Fold in the dry ingredients.

No added fat Carrot Cake ready for the oven

No added fat Carrot Cake ready for the oven

For a garnish simmer the carrot slices in sugar and water

For a garnish simmer the carrot slices in equal parts sugar and water. for a few minutes. Watch it carefully.

Using a fork lift each carrot slice onto a piece of parchment paper or wax paper

Candied carrot slices for garnish.

Like this No Added Fat Carrot Cake recipe?

You’ll find hundreds of other sweet ideas in our Cakes & Pies Category and even more in our Desserts Category.

Photo of one slice of No Added Fat Carrot Cake with title text added for Pinterest

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Plus you’ll see daily recipe suggestions from decadent desserts to quick delicious weekday meals too. 

Photo of an uncut no added fat carrot cake with title text added for Pinterest

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Prep Time:
25 minutes

Total Time:
25 minutes

Carrot Cake. No added Fat or Oil! A bit of a lighter version of carrot cake using applesauce instead of a large amount of vegetable oil. Fantastic with our cheesecake frosting!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots (finely grated)
  • 3/4 cup pecans or walnuts (toasted and finely chopped) (optional)
  • 3/4 cup raisins (optional)

Instructions

  1. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment paper to ensure easy release.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and salt. Set side.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the brown sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla and applesauce until very well combined..
  4. Stir in the grated carrots, raisins and nuts.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients by hand.
  6. Stir only until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the batter. Do not over mix.
  7. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes at 325 degrees F or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check it at 25 minutes, especially if using 9 inch pans. You do not want to over-bake this cake, as soon as the toothpick comes out clean take it out of the oven.

Notes

  • Feel free to adjust the spices to your own taste. This is quite a heavily spiced cake but some people do not like the stronger flavours of allspice or cloves. These can be omitted altogether if you choose. Cinnamon and nutmeg are perfectly fine to use on their own and you can even reduce the amount of these if you like a very lightly spiced cake.
  • I don’t generally use an electric mixer for this carrot cake. I just whisk together the wet ingredients, then fold the dry ingredients in with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  • To get very even layers, you can use a kitchen scale to weigh the batter as you put it into the pans. This is something I almost always do for all layer cake recipes.
  • Nutrition Information

    Yield

    16

    Serving Size

    1 slice without frosting

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 249Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 47mgSodium 203mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 3gSugar 24gProtein 5g

    The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.


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