The Best Clean-Eating Carrot Cake

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Satisfy your sweet tooth with this moist and healthy cake!

cutting the cake

Whether you are working towards a clean eating overhaul in your daily meal plan or are just wanting to take advantage of the many benefits of clean eating, this clean-eating carrot cake recipe is the perfect fit! 

Many people have a tendency to overcomplicate clean eating. At its core, it is truly very simple. Clean ingredients (or whole, minimally processed foods) produce meals that help your body function efficiently without you having to survive on bland recipes. 

Eating clean doesn’t have to be boring, it just takes a little bit of time to get into the habit of choosing clean recipes. Our best clean-eating carrot cake will make a great starting point!

What Makes This the Best Clean Eating Carrot Cake?

clean eating carrot cake without icing

So what makes this the best clean-eating carrot cake there ever was? Is it the abundance of taste and flavor from the natural maple syrup, hearty walnuts, or fragrant ground cinnamon? 

Could it be the perfect texture that makes you forget that it came from natural products and not some random box from the store? 

Or maybe it’s the health benefits you get after consuming the grated carrots or the boost of energy from the protein in the Greek yogurt that really puts it over the top?

No matter what makes it the best for you, just follow the instructions, and you can reap all of the benefits this clean-eating carrot cake has to offer.

Gathering Up Your Ingredients

this cake was made using clean ingredients

Paying attention to this step is one of the first steps in understanding clean eating. For many of us, we only think of vegetables and other ingredients as a side or thrown into a casserole. When you are working on switching to a clean-eating lifestyle, you will learn to see them as powerhouses for a variety of recipes and really broaden the options you have when creating weekly meal plans.

For this particular clean-eating carrot cake recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • White whole wheat flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Maple syrup (could also use honey or agave, depending on what you have on hand)
  • Grated carrots (If looking for inspiration on how to add these to your meals, check out a few other delicious ways to prepare carrots)
  • Walnuts
  • Raisins
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lemon
  • Applesauce

If you wanted to add a bit more punch to it, you could also add some nutmeg or other spices to your liking. This would be the perfect option for any upcoming holiday potluck to make sure that at least something that you can consume is packed full of natural ingredients. It could also help introduce clean-eating to friends and family by showing them that just because something is healthy doesn’t mean that it has to taste bland.

Our Most Popular Family Clean Eating Recipes make it easy to get your family on board with your clean-eating lifestyle as well!

How to Make Your Carrot Cake

homemade carrot cake

Now that you have your ingredients together, let’s break down how to make your clean-eating carrot cake. 

As your oven is heating up to 350℉, gather up a few of your dry ingredients (wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon), and mix them together. In another bowl, you will stir together the wet ingredients, including the eggs, maple syrup, and applesauce. Next, you will mix the two bowls together to create the most delicious batter. 

Stir in the grated carrots, walnuts, and raisins, and you will be ready to move everything into the pan. (If raisins aren’t your thing, you don’t have to add them, but they definitely add a little different flavor and texture to your cake)

While the carrot cake is cooking to perfection for about 30 minutes, you will want to work on creating the glaze to top it. Again, this is super simple and includes very few ingredients (Greek yogurt, maple syrup, and lemon). 

Once your cake has cooked, you will let it cool and then top with the glaze. You are going to feel like you are indulging, but you can rest assured that this recipe is good for your gut and your butt! (and that puts you in a win-win situation)

If you love this recipe and want another way to shake things up while still enjoying the same clean-eating benefits, be sure and check out these No Bake Carrot Bites. Clean eating can be so delicious!

Tips and Tricks for This Delicious Carrot Cake Recipe

healthy carrot cake

There are a few tips and tricks you want to consider to make sure this becomes the best clean-eating carrot cake you’ve ever had. The ingredients might be simple, but the flavors are anything but! 

When taking the carrot cake out of the oven, if you want the perfect consistency, you want to stick a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, then you know it has cooked to perfection. If there is still a little batter on the toothpick then you will want to let it cook just a little bit longer. Just check on it often to make sure that it doesn’t overcook and become too dry.

If you are looking to serve for a party or need a better option to have individual servings, you could also use this recipe to create carrot muffins. Same delicious flavors, just a different look!

We also recommend trying out these Clean Eating Recipes for Busy Moms

Need to Make Some Substitutions?

healthy dessert

There are many different reasons you might need to use substitutions in a recipe. Whether you have gluten-free, vegan, or dairy-free dietary restrictions, or you missed picking up a specific ingredient from the store and are in the middle of creating your masterpiece and need something last-minute, there are options available. 

You can try almond flour or coconut flour in place of the cake flour. Keep in mind this can change the texture of the recipe a little bit, but the overall flavor and nutrient count will be similar. Learning how to adapt recipes to your specific dietary needs will be instrumental if you want to be successful in your health journey. Finding ways to make it work will get you so much further than just throwing in the towel.

Another option for substitutions would be in the mix-ins. This recipe calls for walnuts and raisins, but you could also use pecans, dates, dried cranberries, or even some coconut! 

If you’re looking for more clean-eating substitutions in your healthy lifestyle, check out our 13 Clean Eating Versions of Your Favorite Recipes!

Storing the Best Clean Eating Carrot Cake

guilt-free treat

The best way to keep your clean-eating carrot cake delicious and moist is to make sure you keep any leftovers in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

You could also freeze any leftovers in the freezer and then set them out to thaw before serving, but this can affect the overall texture and flavors more than enjoying it when it’s fresh.

We also recommend trying out our Carrot Cake Overnight Oats as well as these 11 Clean Eating Desserts to hit that sweet tooth without messing up your clean eating lifestyle.

Benefits of Clean Eating

moist and delicious carrot cake

There are so many benefits of clean eating. In addition to weight loss, providing your body with consistent nutrients helps give you balanced energy as well as a healthy gut. Helping your body become more efficient can help you stay more focused on tasks at home and at work as well as even up your performance at your next workout. Less added sugar in your diet may also lead to better sleep at night!

If you’re thinking about trying a clean-eating habit, we recommend starting small. Change one meal each day, and then watch that stack as you learn to enjoy the simple ingredients that are included in clean eating. You can also check out these 10 Ways to Make Clean Eating Fun!

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The Best Clean-Eating Carrot Cake

This healthy carrot cake is moist and delicious!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 8 people
Serving Size 1 slice
Course Dessert
Cuisine Universal

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups whole wheat cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup can be substituted with honey, agave, or another sweet syrup
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce unsweetened

Mix-ins

  • 3 cups carrots grated
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins optional

Icing

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt plain or vanilla, nonfat or full fat
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 lemon juiced

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  • In another bowl, mix together eggs, maple syrup, and apple sauce until well combined.
  • Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Carefully fold the carrots, walnuts, and raisins (if using) into the batter.
  • Pour batter into a greased 9-inch cake pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
  • While the cake bakes, whisk together Greek yogurt, maple syrup and lemon juice in a small bowl to make the icing.
  • Spread the icing over the cooled cake and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 489mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 8120IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 2mg |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 11
Keywords Kid-Friendly, Vegetarian, whole grain

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More Healthy Cake Recipes

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Most people enjoy eating sweets. It’s just in our human nature. The good news is that you can fulfill that need for sweets without using overly-processed junk. 

Many fruits and other natural ingredients contain natural sugars and also provide high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and other micronutrients that help you to maintain a clean-eating lifestyle. 

A few of our favorites include: 

You can also check out our Best Clean Eating Meal Plans of the Year, as well as follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for all of the latest and greatest clean eating tips and tricks! There are so many great recipes and inspirations out there as more and more people learn all of the benefits of clean eating. 

There is no reason to get stuck or bored, and it gives you a wide variety of options, unlike more restrictive and specific diet options. This makes it the perfect option for someone who is just starting to learn more about healthy living. This creates the perfect stepping stone for even more healthy habits down the line!

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Kelsey Butler, MS, RDN

Kelsey Butler is a Registered Dietitian and recipe developer. From a young age, Kelsey found a love for creating delicious recipes. Now, with a Master's in Nutritional Sciences, Kelsey uses her culinary skills to create healthy and unique recipes for many different diets. She is passionate about creating a healthy relationship with all foods and recipes that everyone can enjoy. Kelsey has a passion for cooking, but she also enjoys the outdoors, staying active, and traveling. She is currently living with her partner in New Zealand.

More by Kelsey

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