Healthy Eating: Have your cake — and carrots too

Carrot cake screams springtime to me. Maybe it’s because all I see around my neighborhood is an overabundance of bunnies.  Regrettably a few of the “cute” bunnies ate the tops of our newly emerging pea and carrot plants so we had to plant again.  Carrots are one of the vegetables from my garden that are so worth the effort of having a garden.  There is absolutely nothing as tasty as a freshly picked carrot from the garden compared to one that is purchased at the supermarket.  Fresh carrots are like candy — only better for you. They are so full of vitamins, minerals and fibers that nourish the entire body.

I’ve posted a recipe for carrot top pesto in this column before, so this time I thought I would present one of my favorite cakes of all time. I never feel too guilty when I eat carrot cake since one of the main ingredients is carrots! This comes together quickly and is easy to present for a special or everyday occasion. Any type of carrot will do — even slightly “old” carrots.  This version of carrot cake is easy to prep, bake and frost.  You can be creative with decorations or leave it plain if you want. In fact, if you are not an icing fan, it tastes good as a plain snacking cake. Feel free to eat it as a breakfast treat too!


For the cake

·         2 cups all purpose flour

·         2 cups grated carrots (6-10 medium to large carrots)

·         1/2 cup granulated sugar

·         1 tsp salt

·         4 eggs

·         1 tsp baking soda

·         2 tsp baking powder

·         1 small can (8oz) crushed pineapple

·         1/2 cup chopped walnuts

·         1/2 cup chopped pecans

·         1 cup packed light brown sugar

·         1 1/2 Sticks (1 1/2 cup) butter

For the butter cream frosting 

·         5 cups powdered sugar

·         4.6 ounces sugar

·         2 packs (16 oz) cream cheese

·         1/2 cup melted butter


·         Preheat oven to 350F.

·         In a medium mixing bowl, sift in flour, and whisk in baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

·         Cube butter, and microwave twice for 30 seconds to melt.

·         In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar, packed brown sugar, and eggs, then add melted butter.

·         Whisking as you do, gradually pour in dry ingredients, around 1/3rd at a time, stirring until just combined.

·         Peel carrots, then finely grate, and add, along with walnuts and pecans.

·         Strain crushed pineapple and add.

·         Fold everything together until combined, then pour into a lightly greased 9 X 9 pan.

·         Smooth and evenly distribute with your spatula, and pop in the oven for 45 minutes.

·         Use the toothpick test to check for doneness, reducing heat to 300F and cooking for longer as needed, checking in every 4-5 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean and dry.

·         Remove from oven and allow for cool for about 90 minutes.

·         To make your buttercream frosting, add sugar and powdered sugar to a large bowl.

·         Microwave butter for 20-30 seconds to melt, and add, along with room temperature cream cheese.

·         Use a hand mixer to thoroughly combine, then smooth a generous amount over the cake, creating an even layer as you do.

·         Loosely tent with aluminum foil, and pop in the fridge for an hour.

·         Serve at room or fridge temperature and devour

—  By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at


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