Here is a healthier and guilt free version (well, almost) of the much-loved American carrot cake. I love carrot cake, but I’m quite often put off by the large amount of oil in many recipes I have come across. For this version, I have substituted some of the oil with greek yoghurt. This recipe is also very easy to put together – there is no need for a mixer and my daughter helped me to mix everything with a spoon. Healthier and easy – that’s my kind of recipe.
This recipe is also very versatile. You can add in nuts (walnuts/pecans) or dried fruits (raisins/dates) and even substitute some of the grated carrot for crushed pineapple or bananas. This cake has a moist, crumbly and light texture. I topped the cupcakes with cream cheese (use low fat, if possible) and a generous sprinkle of walnuts. Totally divine!
I noticed that my walnuts that I mixed into the cake batter turned black after baking. I googled and found out that nuts and seeds will change colour when it comes into contact with bicarbonate of soda. A solution offered on the internet is to coat the walnuts with some flour first before adding into the mixture.
Healthier carrot walnut cake (modified from a recipe by Amirah Husain-Doblinger) – makes a 6 inch cake or 9 cupcakes
Group A ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup sugar
1 cup coarsely grated carrot (can replace some of this with crushed pineapple)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts/pecans) and/or dried fruits (raisins/cranberries/dates)
1 tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
Group B ingredients
1/2 cup olive oil (To make it healthier, I replaced some of the olive oil with Greek yoghurt – use 1/2 cup total oil and yoghurt, 3/4 oil to 1/4 yoghurt. Pour in oil first then top off to the 1/2 cup mark with yoghurt.)
Topping: low fat cream cheese (softened at room temperature) with chopped walnuts
Whisk group A ingredients together
Add group B ingredients to A while stirring slowly till well mixed in
Pour into lined baking tin or cupcake tins and bake at 180°C for 45 minutes (in a baking tin) or about 15 minutes (for cupcakes) till browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean
After the cake or cupcakes has cooled down, spread a thin layer of softened cream cheese on top and sprinkle generously with chopped walnuts