Sweet and spicy, spongy and delicious: this carrot cake was a smash hit.
I developed this recipe as a father’s day present for my Dad. When I think of my dad, I think of many things – going whale watching off the coast of Maine, building snowmen decorated with twinkle lights – and carrot cake is always one of them.
Carrot cake has always been his favorite. I have vivid memories of my mother buying one every year for his birthday. At five years old, it was so puzzling to me that anyone would voluntarily eat carrots, and for dessert, when to me they were just a vegetable I was forced to finish before I got the after-dinner treat I desired.
I’ve always thought I wasn’t a fan of carrot cake, but this time around I realized that was only because I had never tried it. I was operating on an unfair and outdated opinion of this dessert.
So this father’s day was about doing something for my dad, but also about finding something for both of us to do together. Since my father has always been quite the kitchen whiz, I thought baking would be the perfect way to spend some time together during our visit.
My dad doesn’t follow the candida diet. Quite the opposite, he’s a big fan of sugar, bread, and everything else I love but don’t eat anymore. The goal was to bake a cake that hit every flavor point, but left out the flour and sugar.
The end result was a resounding success. The stevia-sweetened cream cheese icing was a spot-on match for tangy, sweet flavor, and while the cake was deemed “slightly less sweet” than sugary carrot cake, no one missed the additional sugar (and you can add more stevia if you like it sweeter).
Candida Alert: Carrots have a relatively high sugar content that lends itself well to baking, but means that in general they should not be consumed in large quantities on the candida diet. That said, this recipe is one way you can-do carrots without stress, but if you’re still concerned, just keep portions small and pace yourself (trust me, with a cake this tasty it’s not easy).
When introduced to heat the carrots become soft, and incorporate well into the cake’s texture. A blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice keeps every bite interesting, and just a touch of Greek yogurt helps this dessert bake up silky smooth and soft.
For the cake batter you will need:
1 ½ cups almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
12 packets of stevia in the raw, or stevia brand of equivalent sweetness
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup 2% milk
3 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
2 cups shredded carrot, patted dry
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda, stevia, and ground spices. Stir the dry ingredients until they are evenly blended.
In a separate bowl, beat your four eggs. To the beaten eggs, add the melted butter slowly, whisking continuously. Add vanilla, milk, and Greek yogurt, and stir to thoroughly combine. Make sure you get the yogurt blended in so that there are no lumps. Add the shredded carrot to the wet mixture.
Next, add your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and stir until they come together completely in a sticky, wet batter. Lastly, add chopped pecans if you wish.
Pour the batter into a square cake pan, about 2 ½ inches deep. Bake for 50 minutes, turning and checking for doneness throughout. If you use a smaller pan or a pan of a different shape, be aware your bake time could be different. Bake times for this cake will tend to be high, however, because of the high moisture content of the carrots themselves.
While the cake cools, make the icing.
For the icing you will need:
1 8oz package of organic cream cheese
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 ½ tsp vanilla
7 packets stevia in the raw, or equivalent stevia sweetener
1 tbsp Greek yogurt
In a large bowl, mash the cream cheese until it is soft and easy to stir. Add in the softened butter and cream together with the cheese. Add the vanilla, stevia, and yogurt, and stir vigorously until all ingredients come together cohesively.
The cream cheese icing is one of my favorite parts of this recipe. It really brings the iconic flavor of carrot cake and makes the whole dessert come alive. This icing has a rich consistency and a sweet tang from the yogurt and cream cheese that contrasts perfectly with the natural sweetness of the carrot and the spices of the cake.
Before the cake was even finished my family was already asking me to make this recipe again. So whether you’re sharing with friends or just have a hankering for something sweet and nostalgic, this recipe is one to remember.