This 100% Whole Wheat Carrot Cake is incredibly moist and nobody will believe it’s whole grain or made slightly healthier! Recipe includes a less sugary cream cheese frosting. Can also be made with all-purpose flour.
I’ve seen a lot of carrot cake recipes around lately and most of them claim to be the best carrot cake recipe ever. And here’s another one! Seriously. The best carrot cake I’ve ever had. If you prefer carrot cakes without chunks of carrots, pineapple, nuts and other stuff, this is your recipe!
I really do not like carrots. I couldn’t possibly have carrots in my cake unless they were undetectable, so I used the really fine grater of my food processor. I’ve also used a Microplane zester but that took a long time.
I’ve brought this cake into work several times and all the Americans recognized it as carrot cake. But nobody has ever had any idea that it was a whole wheat carrot cake!
If you don’t want to use whole wheat, you can also use all-purpose flour. Both versions taste the same. And for a gluten-free version, I used this gluten-free baking flour. And it tastes just like the other two versions!
I don’t think they don’t have carrot cake here in Germany (it might be at Starbucks or something like that) and whenever I give this to Germans, they say it’s the “best Christmas cake ever!”
At first I thought it was absurd, but then I realized they have a point. This has cinnamon and ginger. That is kind of Christmas-y. Do we associate carrot cake with Easter because the Easter Bunny eats carrots? I’ve googled it and couldn’t find an answer. It’s because of the bunnies, right? :D
A lot of cream cheese frosting recipes use a ton of sugar. Not this one. I reduced the sugar by quite a bit and now it tastes more like a cream cheese tart filling than super sugary frosting.
It’s a 1.5x version of my healthier cream cheese frosting. If you just want to frost the top of each layer and nothing on the side, check out the notes below for how much to use.
By the way, if you’re wondering what else to make for Easter, this scalloped potatoes and ham recipe from A Mind “Full” Mom look incredible!
And if you prefer a sheet cake, try this maple carrot sheet cake from Healthy Seasonal Recipes!
Note: This recipe was updated on 3/14/2018 with new pictures (one of the old photos is below) and a new frosting recipe! The old one can still be found in the recipe notes at the bottom.
100% Whole Grain Carrot Cake
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 12-16 slices
- 2 cups (240 grams) whole spelt flour or whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar or coconut sugar (159 grams)
- 3/4 cup (183 grams) unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/2 cup (118ml) olive oil (canola oil or another vegetable oil would work fine - I don't recommend coconut oil)
- 14.5 oz / 410 grams grated and peeled carrots1
- 18 ounces (510 grams) cream cheese, room temperature3
- 4.5 tablespoons (63 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting: (see note below)2
- Preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C and grease three 8″ pans or line them with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the sugar, apple sauce, and olive oil and mix until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined.
- Then fold in the carrots, again only until combined.
- Bake for 13 – 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. I accidentally had the fan on so these minutes could be off. It might be longer, but just check it at 13 and see how it is.
- Let cool for 5 minutes in the pans, and then turn onto a wire rack to cool.
- Frost when completely cooled.
- For the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and Greek yogurt. When combined, add the powdered sugar, a little bit at a time. This frosting isn't pipeable, but if you refrigerate it overnight, it it sets a little more than when first made. This recipe only makes enough to fill the two layers and the top. You can see that the layers also only had thin layers of icing. I used a little less than 1/2 cup per layer. If iced, store in the fridge. The cake stays moist for several days.
- I used the fine grater of my food processor. I can’t say if this would work if you grate them coarsely. It might lose some of its moisture. Mine was almost like a puree.
- This is enough to frost it like in the pictures, with about 2/3 cup on top of each layer and some frosting for the sides. If you just want to frost the top of each layer, use 12 ounces cream cheese, 3 tablespoons butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar, a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- We have a different type of cream cheese in the US that's firmer and meant for baking, rather than for toast, like in Europe. For 8 ounces (225 grams) of cream cheese, buy a 300-gram package (the stuff at Aldi, Lidl, etc. works just as well as Philadelphia), put it in the center of a clean tea towel or cheesecloth, and squeeze out the liquid until you have 225 grams of cream cheese. You can now make cream cheese frosting without issue. So for this recipe, buy 675 grams of cream cheese and squeeze out the liquid until you have 510 grams.
- This recipe was updated on 3/14/18 with a new frosting recipe. The previous was called for 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, 1 6-ounce container (170 grams) Greek yogurt, and 1/2 – 1 cup (60 – 12 grams) powdered sugar.