Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Skinny Cream Cheese Frosting

by Heidi @ Food Doodles on June 27, 2013

If you’re looking for a slightly healthier option, this whole wheat carrot cake with Greek yogurt cream cheese is exactly what you’re looking for!  The cake and frosting are entirely sweetened with honey instead of refined sugar, the cake is made healthier with whole grains and the delicious cream cheese frosting is lightened up with Greek yogurt! 

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Light Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

Lets get down to business… This delicious 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.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Light Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

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!

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Light Honey Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

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 🙂

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Light Honey Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

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.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Light Honey Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

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 with Light Honey Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Servings: 1 9x13 cake
Author: Heidi @ Food Doodles
For the Cake:
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots about 4 large
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
For the Frosting:
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup +1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • extra finely chopped walnuts for topping if desired
For the Cake:
  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.
For the Frosting:
  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).

Recipe Notes

This makes a lightly spiced cake. I prefer to taste the spices a little more and heap my spice measurements 🙂

For the frosting 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!

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Light Honey Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting


Leave a Comment

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Corrinne August 15, 2016 at 18:16

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.


2 Nathalie August 7, 2015 at 14:00

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


3 Heidi @ Food Doodles August 7, 2015 at 15:18

Awesome, thanks for letting me know! 🙂


4 Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! March 25, 2015 at 07:19

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!


5 Alexa April 18, 2014 at 09:40

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


6 Sylvia April 9, 2014 at 21:46

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


7 Amy January 30, 2014 at 13:49

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


8 Heidi @ Food Doodles January 31, 2014 at 19:30

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


9 Kelly January 11, 2014 at 13:51

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


10 Bonnie Weberling October 13, 2013 at 15:54

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!


11 Heidi @ Food Doodles October 18, 2013 at 16:40

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


12 Bonnie Weberling October 19, 2013 at 11:50



13 Heather October 9, 2013 at 20:40

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 10:12

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 Erin @ Texanerin Baking July 9, 2013 at 08:42

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.


16 Erin @ Texanerin Baking July 3, 2013 at 14:47

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!


17 Heidi @ Food Doodles July 4, 2013 at 16:05

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 😀


18 Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies July 1, 2013 at 17:39

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!


19 Heather June 30, 2013 at 10:58

I LOVE carrot cake!


20 skoraq cooks June 29, 2013 at 10:41

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 🙂


21 sally @ sallys baking addiction June 28, 2013 at 17:36

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.


22 Susan June 28, 2013 at 07:48

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… 🙂


23 Charlotte Moore June 28, 2013 at 06:09

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.


24 Heidi @ Food Doodles July 2, 2013 at 20:35

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 🙂


25 Stacey June 27, 2013 at 19:40

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. 🙂


26 Kim June 27, 2013 at 17:19

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 😉


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