Healthy carrot cake with toasted walnuts
This healthy carrot cake is one of my favorite coffee cakes all year round. The cake is moist and tender, with a delicious lemon-flavored cream cheese frosting and topped with ground toasted walnuts.
It’s sweetened with dates and perfectly moist, thanks to the olive oil and apples.
This delicious, healthy carrot cake with toasted walnuts is easy to make and worth a try.
Every time I make a healthy treat, I focus on adding value to my health by using ingredients that nourish my body, keep my endometriosis in check, and help me get through menopause well.
I consider this healthy carrot cake with toasted walnuts a healthy recipe for two reasons:
I used dates as a natural sweetener, and
I replaced the wheat flour with whole wheat flour and oats to add nutrients and reduce refined carbohydrates.
I only used two tablespoons of coconut sugar for the cream cheese frosting. I prefer coconut sugar in my desserts because it is less processed than white sugar and contains more nutrients.
I love its mild caramel flavor, which makes desserts taste different than those made with other sweeteners. But in a good way.
Coconut sugar is a great natural sweetener with a lower GI (glycemic index) than cane sugar.
For a gluten-free version of this healthy carrot cake, replace the whole wheat flour with almond flour in the same amount.
Another part of healthy eating and weight management is controlling refined carbohydrates.
Why I used dates to sweeten this healthy carrot cake with toasted walnuts?
First, dates are a good source of carbohydrates and contain many vitamins and minerals.
They also have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they do not spike blood sugar levels as much, making them a safe choice even for people with diabetes if eaten in moderation.
The fiber found in dates helps the body absorb carbohydrates slowly, which can reduce the risk of blood sugar spikes.
Combining dates with a protein and fat source like walnuts can further slow digestion and control blood sugar levels.
Since these fruits are high in calories, remember that moderation is the key to a healthy diet.
What are the ingredients for this healthy carrot cake with toasted walnuts?
Three large organic or free-range eggs
300 g carrots
200 g apples
80 g whole wheat flour (or almond flour for a gluten-free version)
75 g oat flour
60 ml organic extravirgin olive oil
7 Medjool dates (or 12 pitted dates)
50 g toasted walnuts (to give the cake a nice flavor and crunch)
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder dissolved in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
One teaspoon of organic Ceylon cinnamon (or another good quality cinnamon)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
A pinch of salt
Cream cheese frosting
I created a delicious lemon-flavored cream cheese frosting. It’s smooth and has a unique flavor from the coconut sugar I used to sweeten it and the lemon zest.
If you are not a fan of coconut sugar, you can replace it with white sugar.
Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting:
200 g full-fat organic cream cheese block, softened to room temperature
40 g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Two tablespoons of organic coconut sugar
Lemon zest from 2 organic lemons
For garnish: 30 g ground, toasted walnuts
Shelled or unshelled walnuts?
I used toasted walnuts in this healthy carrot cake to give the dessert a richer dimension and flavor.
I prefer to buy unshelled walnuts from local farmers, roast them and grind them.
You will get the best flavor if you grind the walnuts before baking.
Since walnuts contain a lot of oil, they tend to go rancid, which changes their flavor and nutritional value. This is the main reason why I prefer to buy unshelled walnuts.
Their shell protects the fatty acids from air, light, and temperature changes, which is responsible for the walnuts becoming rancid.
How do you toast and grind walnuts?
I prefer roasted walnuts because it brings out their flavor better.
Toasting walnuts on the stove is faster than in the oven and saves time, electricity, or gas.
Take a medium-sized pan and put it on medium heat.
Add the walnuts and toast them for about 3 to 5 minutes or until they turn light brown.
Keep stirring, so they do not burn.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool completely.
Use a coffee grinder to get the walnut meal.
Tips for making this delicious carrot cake with toasted walnuts:
Use ingredients at room temperature: Allow the eggs, cream cheese, and butter to come to room temperature before using them in this recipe.
Use freshly grated carrots. It is better to grate them at home than to buy pre-packaged, pre-grated carrots because they are dry and sometimes hard.
I recommend preparing this cake in advance for a more intense flavor and an even more tender bite.
For a gluten-free version, you can substitute wheat flour for almond flour.
How to prepare this healthy carrot cake with toasted walnuts?
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 to 35 minutes
Makes eight slices
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Place the eggs and a pinch of salt in a food processor and pulse.
Add the dates and process until the mixture is frothy, the eggs have turned pale yellow, and the dates are chopped.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl: wheat flour, oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt.
Add these ingredients to the egg-date mixture and process until well mixed.
Add the extra-virgin olive oil and process until evenly incorporated.
Wash, peel, and grate the carrots and apples.
Drain the juice out of the apple-carrot mixture by squeezing the mixture between your palms.
The good news is that you can enjoy fresh juice!
Add the squeezed apples and carrots into the food processor and pulse to blend.
Please do not overdo it, as we need some texture to the cake and still want to see bits of carrot in the batter.
Add the toasted walnuts and pulse to combine.
Line a round cake pan (20 cm diameter) with parchment paper and grease it with coconut or olive oil.
Pour the batter evenly into the cake pan.
Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Let the cake cool completely before frosting it.
Spread the frosting and garnish the cake.
Store this healthy carrot cake with toasted walnuts in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to 4 days.
How to make lemon-flavored cream cheese frosting?
Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. This will take about 2 minutes.
Add the coconut sugar and a pinch of salt and beat until the sugar dissolves. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat until everything is well mixed.
Add the lemon zest and stir.
Note: Do not overbeat the cream cheese. It can break down and become runny if beaten too hard. Once the mixture looks fluffy and stiff, you should turn off the mixer.
Tip to keep the weight down:
Since this healthy carrot cake with toasted walnuts is rich but healthy, remember that moderation is the key to everything, including healthy foods.
Enjoy a slice of this cake in the first part of the day, so you have plenty of time to burn off the calories and reach your weight maintenance goal.
It will keep in the refrigerator for at least four days.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
If you recreate this healthy carrot cake recipe with toasted walnuts, let me know by sharing your pictures on Instagram and tagging them with the hashtag #healthywomanstyle or leaving a comment below.
Wishing you a winter season full of healthy desserts and good things,
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