Carrot Cake

By Michell Janah, Pastry Chef at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma

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In Bake it Better, Michell Janah, pastry chef at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® in Tulsa, Oklahoma, describes some of her tried-and-true methods for making healthy substitutions while baking. Though many people think of carrot cake as an already healthy cake because of the carrots, Michell says that this is far from the truth. “Carrot cake is one of the highest-fat and highest-sugar cakes on the books.” The good news, she says, is that it’s one of the easiest cakes to modify. “I used half white and half wheat flour, and I was able to cut the sugar way down by adding in fruits (pineapple, raisins, coconut, and applesauce) to help sweeten it. In addition, I cut the butter out entirely and added applesauce and a lower-fat oil. Finally, I added a lot more spices, many of which have been shown to have disease prevention qualities, and which also help with taste changes that can occur when a patient is going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments.”

Yields 1 double-layer 9-inch round cake or 2 single-layer 9-inch round cakes


For the cake:
1½ cups organic unrefined white flour
1½ cups organic unrefined wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup canola/olive oil combination
1¼ cups skim milk
1¼ tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 cups Sugar in the Raw
1⅓cup applesauce
3 teaspoons vanilla
1½ cups pineapple, crushed and drained
1 cup raisins
3 cups grated carrots
8 ounces shredded coconut
1½ cups chopped pecans
½ tablespoon nutmeg
½ tablespoon ginger
½ tablespoon cloves

For cream cheese frosting:
1 cup butter
1 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese
4-6 cups powdered maple sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Whisk all ingredients together. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. While the cake is cooling, make the cream cheese frosting.

Whip butter and cream cheese in a mixer on high speed until fully incorporated into each other. Add the salt, vanilla, and one cup of the maple sugar. Whip on high until light and fluffy. Continue to add sugar one cup at a time whipping at high speed, until you reach the desired consistency.