Originally published 7th November 2019
I love carrot cake! Seriously nothing beats it. There’s just something so comforting and cosy about a slice alongside a warm cup of tea. This cake is unique in that the wholemeal flour creates a lovely texture alongside a cake filled with tons of carrots and a few scattered walnuts. This particular carrot cake recipe is new and improved and I’m finally getting around to sharing it.
What Makes This Cake Healthy?
Over time my definition of healthy has changed quite a bit. I’m still not quite sure what it means but one thing I do know is that it’s very subjective and you don’t have to do a lot to make your favourite desserts better for you. This cake has wholemeal flour, dark unrefined sugar, carrots, very little oil, is dairy-free and overall tastes amazing. Although it may not be “healthy” in strict terms. It’s definitely “healthier” and that’s a start!
The texture for this new recipe is softer and moist with it being indistinguishable if tasted alongside a classic carrot cake. Another thing that was niggling me about the original recipe was the size of it. I felt like it needed to be downsized. The cake was pretty big and I’m definitely more conscious of the fact that gatherings have become smaller and smaller due to the current situation that the world is in.
Hopefully, you love this new recipe as much as I do. It’s fluffy, soft and laced with the warm spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
Wholemeal Flour vs Plain Flour
Wholemeal is higher in fibre and also more nutritious than traditional plain & self-raising flours. It’s truly great for the tummy but a downside to all of that extra fibre means wholemeal flour can produce bakes that are significantly more dense and heavy.
For this recipe, I highly recommend using fine wholemeal flour rather than classic wholemeal flour, mainly because it’s slightly lower in protein. The less protein (AKA gluten) development the better! It’s precisely the same reason why a lot of recipes will recommend using cake flour rather than plain flour.
Why Add Apples To A Cake?
It’s all in the pectin!
Apples contain a polysaccharide called pectin which makes it an amazing oil replacer. The main reason we add oil to cakes is due to its ability to coat gluten proteins and starches. This means that the gluten absorbs less water which then inhibits its ability to form those strong gluten structures seen in bread.
Pectin works slightly differently in that it competes with the gluten. It absorbs water and in turn, reduces the amount of water that reaches the gluten. This then prevents the number of gluten structures that develop and makes the cake extremely soft and moist!
Most baking recipes that use apple as an oil replacer tend to stick to applesauce but I find it much more convenient to finely grate a fresh apple considering that we’re already grating carrots into the batter.
The only downside to using apples or applesauce is that it can make a cake gummy if too much is added. I’ve found that this cake tastes much better with a little bit of oil rather than removing it altogether.
Tips & Tricks
- The texture of this cake means that there may be a few small crumbs stuck to your toothpick when you go to check that it’s finished baking. That’s okay! As long as there aren’t any signs of liquid batter then it should be fine.
- You can use any kind of sugar, milk or oil you want in this recipe. I don’t recommend substituting the fine wholemeal flour, eggs or grated apple. I’ve tested this recipe a number of times and changes to those ingredients impact the cake way too much.
How Do I Store This Cake?
This carrot cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days then placed in the refrigerator for a further 3 days. This cake is beautifully moist and in my experience, it tastes even better a day or two after the flavours have settled.
UPDATE 17th Dec 2020: This recipe has been updated to improve the texture & flavour. The new recipe below is slightly smaller than the original cake highlighted in the photos but will still produce around 8 – 10 servings. It’ll also be darker if made with dark brown sugar.☺ Let me know if you have any questions and don’t forget to share your thoughts below. Click here for more delicious recipes.
Thank you for reading!
Healthy Wholemeal Carrot Cake
A deliciously moist, fluffy, healthy carrot cake loaf made using wholemeal flour.
- 260 g (2 Cup) Fine wholemeal flour
- 2 Tsp Cinnamon powder
- ½ Tsp Nutmeg
- ½ Tsp Ginger
- 2 Tsp Baking powder
- ½ Tsp Bicarb of soda (baking soda)
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 50 g (⅓ Cup) Crushed walnuts OR Pecans
- 250 g Finely grated carrots, approx. 5 med carrots
- 45 g Finely grated apple, approx. ½ a med apple
- 2 Medium eggs
- 200 g (¾ Cup + 2 Tbsp) Dark brown sugar
- 125 ml (½ Cup) Unsweetened almond milk
- 45 ml (¼ Cup) Neutral tasting oil
- 2 Tsp Vanilla extract
- A small squeeze of Lemon juice, approx. ½ Tsp
Preheat your oven to 180 C (350 F) then line a non-stick 8 x 5 inch loaf tin with parchment paper.
Add wholemeal flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, bicarb of soda and salt into a bowl. Stir then set it aside.
In a separate larger bowl, grate the carrots and apple then add in the eggs, almond milk, brown sugar, oil, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Whisk well until a runny mixture forms.
Sift half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients then whisk. Sift in the remaining half and whisk again until a thick cake batter forms. Lastly, fold in the crushed walnuts.
Transfer the batter to the lined loaf tin then place it in the oven to bake for 35 – 45 minutes. Check that the cake is ready by placing a toothpick in the centre. It should come out clean once removed.
Allow cake to cool for 20 minutes before removing it from the cake tin. Place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool a further hour before serving.
- An 8 x 5 inch loaf tin may also be labelled as a 2 lb loaf tin OR 900 g loaf tin. This recipe can also fit an 8-inch round cake tin.
- If You’re Using Measuring Cups: Measure the brown sugar by tightly packing it into the measuring cup/spoon. Measure the flour by spooning it out of the bag and into the measurer. Avoid packing the flour. This helps ensure accuracy.
- Dark brown sugar can be substituted for light brown sugar or coconut sugar if you prefer a less intense flavour.