Thursday, October 8, 2009

Recipe Thursday -- Something Sweet Minus the Sugar: Carrot Cake

Baking without sugar has, for the most part, yielded some delicious treats and things like oatmeal cookies, banana bread, cornmeal blueberry pancakes, and peach cornmeal upside-down cake have all made their way into the rotation of regular favorites. While substituting honey for white and brown sugar is usually pretty seamless taste and texture wise, every so often it's really hard to bake without good, old-fashioned sugar. Case in point: cake frosting. There's no denying powdered sugar when it comes to making frosting... until now. Here's my sugarless version of classic carrot cake with cream cheese frosting:

For the Cake --
3 c. grated carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
2 c. wheat flour
3/4 c. honey
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350˙.
1. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
2. Lightly beat eggs, add butter and honey. Mix well. Add olive oil in two portions, stirring well after each addition.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until blended evenly.
4. Distribute evenly in two 9" cake pans and bake for 30-40 minutes.
5. Cool completely on wire racks. Frost and refrigerate immediatley.

For the Frosting --
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 packages of cream cheese, softened, 8 oz. package
2 tsp. vanilla
approx. 2/3 c. of honey

1. With electric mixer beat butter, vanilla and cream cheese on high until creamy and combined.
2. Add honey in two additions and combine well on low speed.

A few observations --
• I used the head of a 24 oz. honey bear for the frosting.
• Don't let your frosting sit out too long before frosting the cake -- the closer to room temperature it gets, the runnier and harder to control it gets.
• I added a few minced walnuts to the top and middle layer.
• This cake was quite well received, especially by my mom, who has lovingly dubbed a few of my sugarless creations "pioneer style."
Pioneer style means the wagon train ran out of sugar so the ladies made something with the ingredients they had on hand and the outcome tastes "close" to the original.
• Carrot cake and a cup of Constant Comment = great breakfast!


  1. Oooo...this looks so good! I love carrot cake, and would love to try this sugar-less verison of yours. I must print this recipe and try it very soon. YUM! Thanks so much... Happy weekend ((HUGS))

  2. I'm off sugar and have been trying to figure out a frosting alternative. Many thanks!

  3. I used your frosting on a gluten free pumpkin cake at was so well received, I'll be making it again for Christmas. Thanks for the inspiration!