Carrot Cake on the Sunnyside Up
Merry Christmas! Oh, wait a minute, it was just Easter. I’m totally confused right now, seeming that it is snowing as I write. It never snows this late around here. I’m not sure if to start hunting for a Christmas tree or worry about global climate change. Well, when in doubt, bake. That has always been my motto. Since is was just Easter, I have been CRAVING carrot cake non-stop. Sometimes it is better just to give in to these wonderful cravings, but choose a lower fat version that one can enjoy without guilt.
Carrot cake happens to be my favorite cake, bunny tail down. I can’t think of anything better than a cake made with vegetables! Who every thought that up was using the old noodle. Carrots are, after all one of the perfect foods in this world. We all know carrots boast many merits in the nutrition department. One of the little know and amazing facts of carrots are that they are by far one of the richest sources of carotenoids, which has been linked to dramatically reducing the rate of breast, bladder, lung, colon, and other cancers. And we can eat them in a cake!!
I have spent many years trying different versions of lower calorie carrot cake recipes and have found one that I think is quite smashing. This recipe makes a fairly dense cake but very flavorful. It is important in reduced calorie foods to use the best possible ingredients that you can find. A really fine vanilla and excellent cinnamon are definitely worth their price. My husband likes this cake better the next morning for breakfast, after the flavors have married. Hopefully by the time you eat this cake the sun is shining and spring has returned!
Sunnyside Up Carrot Cake
1 ½ cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1 generous cup of white sugar
½ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons of vanilla
3 Tablespoons of canola oil
2 generous cups of grated carrots
1 ½ cups of crushed pineapple, lightly drained
½ cup of raisins
1/3 cup of pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour through cinnamon in a meduimish bowl and whisk together. Combine oil, and eggs in another bowl (I use my mixer bowl) and mix well. Add the pineapple, carrots, and raisins, to the egg mixture and stir up again till well combined. Add the two mixtures together till just blended. Pour batter into a 13 x 9 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the batter evenly and bake for 25-30 minutes till it springs back at you when you touch it in the middle. Now for the hard part, wait to frost it till after it cools.
Cream cheese frosting is an entire subject all on its own. I have experimented with this one endlessly, and still am. One of the secrets I have found to reducing the fat in this frosting is to eliminate the butter. Really, you won’t miss it. The other big secret, other than using Neufchatel cheese, is to use a lot less powdered sugar than usually requested. You won’t miss it either. Try to remember to put the cream cheese out on the counter when you start to bake the cake. This frosting is so much easier to make when the cream cheese is at room temperature. But fortunately for us forgetful types, it works fine cold, you just have to blend it a lot longer. Fat free cream cheese works well too, if you can find it around here.
Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting
1 – 8 ounce block of lower fat cream cheese or Neufchatel
¾ to 1 cup of powder sugar
2 teaspoons of Vanilla
½ teaspoon of ground cardamom
¼ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
Drop the cream cheese in the mixer bowl and blend a bit, then add the powder sugar. Turn off the mixer before you do this, or else. When the sugar and cream cheese is well mixed add the rest of the ingredients. Frost the cake and do the bunny hop around the kitchen. Enjoy!
Nutritional Information per square, frosted, if you cut the cake into 16 squares.CALORIES- 325, FAT – 9 g