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January 23, 2012

Carrot Cake with Maple-Cinnamon Frosting

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When it comes to liking carrot cake, nobody is really "on the fence" if you know what I mean.
You either love it or you hate it.

To tell you the truth, I've always hated it.  The carrots always tasted raw to me, they were crunchy and its flavor was much too potent.  Whenever I came across a slice of carrot cake, I would simply scrape off the icing and eat that spoonful by spoonful, leaving the orange scraps on the plate.  And even though I currently hate carrots (yes, still), I absolutely loved this cake!

To be honest, the carrot flavor was not strong at all.  I don't even remember tasting it!  I was a little too focused on the smooth, sweet frosting   ;)   The cake itself is unbelievably moist, the raisins were plump, and the frosting in between the cake layers make your individual slice even more exciting!

The amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves is perfect.  This cake is not bland in any way, but not too spicy either.  It is just as sweet, just as rich and just as decadent as any bakery's carrot cake.  The frosting adds both flavor and presentation too, but it's not your typical, pastel white cream cheese frosting.  This frosting has a little secret!  Can you guess?

It's tofu!  I originally wanted to make a cream cheese frosting but the selection at Whole Foods was particularly small, so I settled for blended tofu.  Don't worry, you don't taste it at all!  My mother hates tofu and when I told her the frosting's secret ingredient she was shocked.  Trust me too, though, I hate tofu as well.

I'm really excited to share this recipe--the cake is so tender and moist it's unbelievable, and the frosting just completes the dish.  I'm growing somewhat fond of that bright orange color...  Could this be it?  Are vegetables really making me this happy?

Spiced Carrot Cake:  [low fat, high protein]
(makes a two-layer 9" cake)

       240g (2 cups) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
       30g (1 scoop) Unflavored Whey Protein Isolate
       48g (1/4 cup) Pure Cane Sugar
       32g (1/4 cup) Arrowroot Starch
       2 tsp Cinnamon
       1/4 tsp Nutmeg
       1/8 tsp Cloves
       1+1/2 tsp Baking Powder
       1/2 tsp Baking Soda
       1/4 tsp Salt

       170g (2/5 package) Extra Firm Tofu, drained
       112g (1/2 cup) Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt
       1/2 cup Orange Juice
       28g (2 tbs) Almond Oil (or any other neutral oil)
       123g (1/2 cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
       42g (2 tbs) Molasses
       2 tsp Stevia Extract
       2 tsp Vanilla Extract
       1+1/4 tsp Butter Extract
       1/2 tsp Lemon Flavor
       1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

       1+1/2 cups Grated Carrots (about 3 large carrots)
       1/2 cup Raisins

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and spray two 9" cake pans with cooking spray.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
3.  In a blender, add all the wet ingredients and blend until smooth.  Pour over the dry ingredients and fold gently.  Add the carrots and raisins and fold again (do not overmix)
4.  Pour batter into the two cakes and bake for ~33 minutes, or until the surface of the cake has browned, a toothpick comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when touched.
5.  Flip cakes onto wire cooling racks.  When cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (be careful, the cakes are very soft).  Frost the next day.

Maple-Cinnamon Frosting:
   170g (2/5 package) Extra Firm Tofu, drained and rinsed
   14g (1 tbs) Coconut Oil
   50 drops Stevia Extract
   1 tsp Maple Flavor
   31g (1 scoop) Vanilla Protein Powder
   12g (1 tbs) Pure Cane Sugar
   1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1.  In a food processor, add the first four ingredients and puree.
2.  Add the last three ingredients and puree again.
3.  Put one layer of the cake down, and scoop a spoonful or two of frosting onto it, spreading out to the edges and sides.
4.  Place the next cake layer onto the bottom cake and scoop the rest of the frosting onto the cake, spreading it out overtop and to the sides.  Slice and serve.

I decided to do a little "nutritional showdown" between my cake and the Most-Favorited carrot cake recipe on FoodGawker so far.

Chockohlawtay's nutrition label is on the left (includes frosting).
The other cake's nutrition label is on the right (includes frosting but not the pecans).

Prepare to be shocked.

In case you didn't see, the label for my cake is for 1/8th of the recipe while the label for the other cake is for 1/16th of the recipe.  So, um, it goes without saying that my cake has less than HALF the calories as the other cake and for double the quantity!  My cake also contains less fat, sugar and cholesterol, while containing more fiber, protein, calcium and iron.

I was so surprised about the large discrepancy that I doubled-checked my nutrition label and triple-checked the other.  They are correct.  I think I'll take two slices of my cake, please!  Yes, that is one quarter of the entire cake, but, it's always nice having some more sugary goodness cake, right?  Yes.  It is.

So enjoy this healthy, flavorful, veggie-packed dessert without having to bring out the stretchy pants!


  1. Oh my gosh this is incredible. You have no idea how much I've been craving carrot cake lately, so I'm totally gonna have to try to make this.

  2. Just what we need! It's always nice to find low calorie cake ! :)

    1. Not to mention, a cake that tastes like real cake! :)

  3. I've always been shocked by the calorie and fat content of carrot cake, especially because so many people think it's a 'healthy option' because of the carrots! Yours looks lovely though, and I particularly like your photos - simple and really stylish.

  4. Is there anything you can use to replace the whey and the tofu but keep it relatively low calorie still?

    1. I'm not sure if the whey can be replaced, but you can try using 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (not pastry flour) or 1/4 cup brown rice flour instead.
      To replace the tofu, you can try using 1) a whole egg and an egg white, or 2) two flax eggs.

      Just note that I have not tried these, but I'm crossing my fingers that they work!

    2. Thanks!! Will try it soon :)


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