And no, I’m not talking about the hilarious movie with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal, either — but it is a fun movie. 🙂 Do yourself a favor — if you have never seen it, watch it; and if you have seen it, watch it again. It’ll bring some laughter into your life.
No, peoples, I’m talking about Carrot Cake!
I’ve had mixed results in my attempts at sugar-free and low-sugar baking, but my Carrot Cake has been declared a success with everyone who’s eaten it. Based on a recipe from an issue of Diabetic Cooking magazine, while it is not completely sugar-free (it has some honey), it is certainly greatly reduced in sugars.
While you can leave the cake unfrosted — simply garnish each individual serving with a dollop of whipped, reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese OR place a paper doily over the cake and sprinkle very lightly with granulated artificial sweetener or powdered sugar — I like to frost and decorate the cake with a sugar-free cream cheese frosting. You can decorate it with sugar-free candies, but be forewarned that the candies will likely end up leaching their color into the frosting.
It’s surprisingly easy to make up some sugar-free cream cheese decorator frosting, as well — tint it as you like with food coloring and then decorate the cake with the aid of some spoons, knives, forks, and/or toothpicks or pastry bag and tip(s) (or similar — I purchased an inexpensive cupcake decorator kit with tips from WalMart that has a plunger-type apparatus that can be fitted with various tips and that one can fill with frosting).
The recipe halves easily — simply halve all ingredients and bake in an 8″ x 8″ pan instead of a 13″ x 9″ pan, and bake it for the same length of time. I’ve never tried making cupcakes with this recipe, although I suppose one could. I’m not sure about the amount of baking time for cupcakes, ‘though — I would suggest testing for doneness after 18 minutes or so (I just don’t think 15 minutes would be enough bake time, ‘though it might be).
However you make it and decorate it, you’re sure to say “Oh, that smells YUMMY!”
ENLIGHTENED CARROT CAKE (13″ x 9″ cake yields 12 to 16 servings)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup Splenda granular (measures cup for cup like sugar) or like sugar substitute (e.g., Ideal, Equal Measure…the substitutes that measure cup for cup like sugar will provide a better volume in the cake)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute–I use real eggs)
- 1/2 cup applesauce (see Note 1 below)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 cups shredded/chopped carrots (see Note 2 below)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 to 1 cup nuts (walnuts or pecans), if desired (see Note 3)
- I use no-sugar-added applesauce. The 6 pack of individual servings by Mott’s contains 1/2 cup in each serving container.
- I purchase the 10-ounce packets of shredded carrot and then chop it up more in my little (3/4 cup capacity) food processor. A 10-ounce packet yields me about 3 cups carrot, so I use 1 entire package and part of another.
- Nuts are a tasty addition to this cake, but they can give a slight green tinge to the cream cheese frosting in spots.
Make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, Splenda, baking soda, and cinnamon. On low to medium speed of a mixer (or by hand), mix in eggs, applesauce, honey, and vanilla just until all is moistened and mixed together. (Alternatively, mix together eggs, applesauce, honey, & vanilla in another bowl and then stir into flour mixture, but myself, I like to keep the number of dished/bowls used to a minimum.) Stir in carrots and, if desired, nuts. Batter will be VERY thick.
- Lightly spray 13″X9″ pan with cooking spray. Spread batter into pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool cake in pan on wire rack.
- If you want frosting (and who wouldn’t? *LOL*), once the cake cools, you can spread cream cheese frosting on it:
LIGHTER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (Frosts one 13″ X 9″ cake)
- 1 package (8 ounces) reduced fat or fat free cream cheese, softened or at room temp
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Splenda granular (or more or less, to taste)
- Splash of vanilla
- Wee splash(es) of milk (1% or skim), if needed
In a small bowl, use the high speed of a mixer to whip together cream cheese, vanilla, and Splenda. If it seems too thick to spread, add milk a teaspoon or so at a time. Spread on cooled carrot cake. It may seem to be a thin layer of frosting, but it is rich-tasting, so a little goes a long way. Refrigerate leftovers.
NOTE: You may prefer to leave out the maple flavoring and make the cream cheese frosting I use for Pumpkin Cake.
NOTE: To make decorator frosting, whip together a small batch of the frosting as directed above (about 1 to 1 1/2 ounces decorates the cake as shown above); separate and tint as desired with food coloring.