Healthy Carrot Cake

Healthy Carrot Cake

Okay, so again, hands-up, healthy may be an over-statement!  But this ‘healthy carrot cake’ is so much healthier than your average slice of cake, plus you can keep it uniced (I know that sounds like a travesty, but go with me on this one)!  This is a bit of a take on Delia’s low-fat cake, but with some personal changes – it tastes fruity and rich, like a summer Christmas cake (don’t let that put you off if you don’t like Christmas cake – I’m not a fan either, but if it tasted more like this maybe I would be).  I have therefore included Delia’s topping as an optional addition, but I cannot comment on the mysterious nature of ‘quark’ – if you try the topping, let me know how it goes!

batter for carrot cake


170g soft dark sugar

2 free range eggs, room temperature

120ml sunflower oil

150g wholemeal flour

50g self raising flour (or use 200g wholemeal self-raising flour instead of these two)

1.5 flat teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp ginger powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

the grated zest of one orange

200g carrot, washed and coarsely grated (i don’t bother to peel, but if you have oodles of spare time, hell why not)

50g courgette (if you have some lurking.  You can omit this if not.)

100g sultanas

75g chopped dates


250g quark/low-fat soft cream cheese

20g caster sugar

2 drops vanilla essence

a teaspoon of cinnamon, to dust on top, if you’re that way inclined.

carrot cake recipe to cook



Preheat the oven to 170c.

Line a square 20cm x 20cm (ish) baking tin.

Start your batter by whisking your sugar, eggs and oil together (use an electric whisk, unless you need a massive bicep workout) – with an electric one, the batter should be combining after 2-3 mins.

The sift in the flours, bicarbonate of soda and the spices in.  Tip in those crunchy bran bits that will be left in your sieve from the wholemeal flour – they are all good!

Stir this to combine, then stir in the orange zest, the carrots, the courgette (if using), the sultanas and the dates.  Pour the mix into your prepared cake tin and stick it in the oven for around 35-40 mins, until it is risen, coloured and springy in the centre when touched.

Optional topping:

If you go for the topping, let me know how it works out! I stopped here, but Delia’s recipe for low-fat carrot cake topping is:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until light and fluffy, then cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or until your cake is cool and you’re ready to ice it.  Delia suggests infusing the cake with a fruit glaze, but I think the addition of the dates makes for a lovely, sticky cake as it is, and all this skewering and drizzling just takes me too too far into Christmas cake territory)!

When the cake is completely cold, remove from tin and spread the icing over.  Dust with cinnamon.


But, if you’re like me and could eat cake everyday, you’re best off with my simple and effective icing-free carrot cake!

If you try it out, let me know what you think! x

healthier carrot cake recipe