Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Skinny Cream Cheese Frosting

by Heidi @ Food Doodles on


First, an important note:  As you probably already know, Google Reader is leaving us at the end of this month.  If you haven’t already switched over to use Feedly  or another RSS reader or Bloglovin or one of the other subscription methods found at the top right hand side of the page, please do so now.  I’d be so sad to lose any of you!

Also, another important note, for the last year or so Facebook has not been sharing all pages content with fans.  Now you can choose to see all the content by hovering over the “liked” button, clicking “Settings…” and then selecting “All Updates”.  Be sure to do that with all your favorite pages!  I’ll be posting a similar message on Facebook a few times to hopefully reach as many people as possible.  I hope you wont get frustrated with me posting the same thing a few times, I just want to get the message out!


Now that that’s over with… This cake!  Oh my goodness, this cake! I’m not one to get excited about carrot cake.  Heck, my hubby is definitely not one to get excited about carrot cake, but we all loved this cake, including him.  I was so excited when he said he enjoyed it(and went back for another piece).  You see he’s not usually a cake person.  And especially not one with vegetables in it.  This is a cake I’ll be making again and again at our house, it was a hit with everyone.


And that frosting!  Don’t even get me started.  I know it doesn’t look like a lot, but it was a decent amount of frosting.  It’s so flavorful you don’t need a whole lot of it, but if you really wanted to, I think you could scale the recipe to use a full 8oz of cream cheese and that would be good too.  And do you see I called it “skinny”?  That’s right, it’s made partially with Greek yogurt!  I know I’ve been a little obsessed with Greek yogurt lately.  It’s not a bad thing is it?


So, you’ll also notice I made this into cake “bars”.  You can bake this in a 9×13 pan or in 2 9″ cake pans and layer it(which I think would be awesome!).  It’s all up to you.  Make this cake however you like!

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I did want to save this cake for when there were carrots at the Farmers Market because this cake will be incredible with fresh, sweet spring carrots.  I was out weeding my carrots last night and dreaming of making this cake with them.  Speaking of my garden, would you like to see garden updates here on Food Doodles?  I’ve literally been wanting to do something like that for years now.  I’m a little self conscious of my garden since I live in Canada so my garden is a little behind all the others I see, but I’d still like to share if you’re curious 🙂


Oh and speaking of sweetness, I think why we liked this cake so much is because it’s not too sweet.  It was the perfect sweetness for us.   The frosting isn’t too sweet either, it’s just sweet enough with a little bit of lemon juice to brighten it up.  Don’t even think about omitting that tiny bit of lemon juice, it makes a world of difference.


Give this cake a try and let me know what you think!  I hope you love it as much as we did!


Whole Wheat Carrot Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yield: 1 9x13 cake
  • 2 C white whole wheat flour(or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¾ C coconut oil, melted
  • ¾ C honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2½ C grated carrots(about 4 large)
  • ½ C applesauce
  • ¾ C roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 batch Skinny Cream Cheese Frosting - Recipe Below
  • extra finely chopped walnuts for topping if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lightly buttering or spraying with oil.
  2. In a bowl combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl stir together the melted coconut oil, honey, eggs, vanilla, grated carrots and applesauce until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined, folding in the walnuts at the last second. Pour the batter into the prepared 9x13 pan and spread out evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 28-32 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.
This makes a lightly spiced cake. I prefer to taste the spices a little more and heap my spice measurements 🙂
Recipe adapted from Creating Naturally



Skinny Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: Enough to lightly frost a 9x13 cake or 2 9" cakes
  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ C + 1tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. In a food processor(or with hand beaters) beat the cream cheese until soft. Add the yogurt, vanilla, honey and lemon juice and beat until completely smooth. Pour into a container, cover and chill until ready to frost(frosting will thicken in the fridge after a couple hours).
I used full fat cream cheese and non fat yogurt and highly recommend it. If you want to try low fat cream cheese you can, but I cant guarantee the results. Even using full fat cream cheese this recipe is lighter than most cream cheese frosting, so enjoy!




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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim June 27, 2013 at

Your frosting is perfect 🙂 You’re right – not too sweet and with a tangy YUM!

I would love to see your garden – it would make me feel better about my pitiful Canadian plot 😉
Kim recently posted..Great Books – One Day


2 Stacey June 27, 2013 at

Oh wow, this looks amazing! I can’t wait to make it!! I wish it wasn’t so hot now though, so I’ll have to wait for a cool evening to bake. Thanks so much for the recipe.

Also, I’d love to see updates of your garden! I do not have a green thumb but I admire those who do. 🙂


3 Charlotte Moore June 28, 2013 at

Yum!!! I need to try this. I grind my own wheat too and I bet this is tasty.

Yes, would love to see your garden. I am not a gardener but admire those that are.

If I get your updates through email does this Google thing affect me? I am not computer savvy.


4 Heidi @ Food Doodles July 2, 2013 at

Yay! I’m so excited to hear about other people grinding their own grains too! Let me know what you think if you give this a try 🙂

Great! I’ll be putting a garden update up soon.

If you get my updates by email you’ll be fine. Thanks for checking 🙂


5 Susan June 28, 2013 at

I’m not likely to make a cake, but this looks good. And I’m always happy to see how other people’s gardens are doing. I haven’t had one in a long time because of how much we travel and the fact that we live in the desert… 🙂


6 sally @ sallys baking addiction June 28, 2013 at

I am in love with carrot cake! I’ve never had a whole wheat version before. skinny version of the cream cheese frosting (with honey!)? I feel like I’m dreaming. Not too sweet – perfect.
sally @ sallys baking addiction recently posted..Strawberry Swirl Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars.


7 skoraq cooks June 29, 2013 at

I love carrot cakes, but I’m used to more sinful versions 😉 Your whole wheat version with skinny cream cheese frosting sounds and looks not only delicious but also a bit healthier that the cakes I know 🙂 Ohhh doooo yummy 🙂
skoraq cooks recently posted..Domowy popcorn z solonym sosem karmelowym / Homemade popcorn with salted caramel sauce


8 Heather June 30, 2013 at

I LOVE carrot cake!
Heather recently posted..swiss chard & white bean grilled sammie


9 Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies July 1, 2013 at

My husband is not a cake person either and I get more worked up about it than I should. “HOW DO YOU NOT LIKE CAKE?! It’s sugar and frosting and delicious!” But I have a feeling he’d like this one, especially with that cream cheese frosting!
Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies recently posted..Recipe | Summer Orzo Salad


10 Erin @ Texanerin Baking July 3, 2013 at

Well this was unexpected. I love when people post stuff that I typically associate with a holiday or season at a totally different time. It’s always so… pleasant. 🙂

Good call on making them into bars! Very pretty.

And garden updates sound fun!
Erin @ Texanerin Baking recently posted..Grain-free / Gluten-free Strawberry Cupcakes


11 Heidi @ Food Doodles July 4, 2013 at

I’m glad it’s a pleasant surprise! 😀 I know what you mean, the spices make me think of a winter dessert, but the carrots make me think of summer. And then again my mom looooooves carrot cake so it was an all year long cake for me growing up 😀


12 Erin @ Texanerin Baking July 9, 2013 at

Haha. How funny that you think of winter and summer. For me, carrot cake is strictly an Easter thing! Or I guess spring in general.
Erin @ Texanerin Baking recently posted..Grain-free / Gluten-free Strawberry Cupcakes


13 Heather October 9, 2013 at

Hi there,
I was wondering if there is anything I can substitute the white flour for.
Would almond meal or oat flour work?
As I am trying to eat clean & am gluten intolerant.
Thank you!


14 Heidi @ Food Doodles October 10, 2013 at

Hi Heather, I’m sorry I haven’t tried using any other substitutions in this recipe so I can’t recommend anything to replace the whole wheat flour. If you’re OK with spelt I’m sure you could use a whole slept flour in this recipe. If you try anything please let me know how it turns out 🙂


15 Bonnie Weberling October 13, 2013 at

Do you measure the coconut oil before or after you melt it? Looks great and exactly the kind of recipe I was looking for! yum!


16 Heidi @ Food Doodles October 18, 2013 at

I measure after melting. I’m not sure if it makes much of a difference though, whatever works for you 🙂 Enjoy!


17 Bonnie Weberling October 19, 2013 at



18 Kelly January 11, 2014 at

I’m so happy I found this recipe! It’s so delicious and was a hit with my family!


19 Amy January 30, 2014 at

Just made this today and it is delicious – even without the frosting!


20 Heidi @ Food Doodles January 31, 2014 at

So glad you’re enjoying it! Thanks for leaving a comment 🙂


21 Sylvia April 9, 2014 at

Hi, this cake looks awesome! I’ve never made carrot cake before and would love to try this! About the coconut oil, can I use any type of oil? Where I live, we don’t have the type of coconut oil you mentioned. ( esp. When you mentioned it needed to be melted first. The coconut oil we have here is like, well just oil..like olive oil) thanks


22 Alexa April 18, 2014 at

This cake looks very thick. Is it? Or is it cake like? It sounds and looks great.. just curious.


23 Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! March 25, 2015 at

These bars look amaaazing! I am thinking of making them for my family for Easter this year. 🙂
I wondered if there’s anything you might suggest as a substitute for the applesauce?
Thank you!
Colleen @ What’s Baking in the Barbershop?! recently posted..Reese’s KitKat Peanut Butter Banana Bread


24 Nathalie August 7, 2015 at

hey,i tried the low fat Cream cheese and That works just great,the frosting needs to be an hour longer in the frigde.!


25 Heidi @ Food Doodles August 7, 2015 at

Awesome, thanks for letting me know! 🙂


26 Corrinne August 15, 2016 at

I made this but used zucchini instead of carrot, and my applesauce e was bad, so I threw in a little more honey. It turned out so delicious and moist.


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