Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (2024)

This healthy carrot cake recipe is made using almond and quinoa flours, and is naturally sweetened and uses applesauce to reduce the amount of sugar and oil!

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (1)

this recipe

When I was a little girl, I always used to have carrot cake on my birthday.

I'm not sure if it was because my parents thought it was healthier (there are veggies inside of course), or if it was just what my dad enjoyed baking (he's the baker in our family), but either way, my birthday cake was usually a carrot cake topped with homemade cream cheese frosting.

At the time, I wasn't the biggest fan. It was the name that got me; I didn't want to be that girl that always had healthy food. I just wished my parents would make me a vanilla cake out of a box like all the other kids. It was so much more normal.

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (2)

How Do You Finely Grate Carrots?

When I went to search online to see what questions people had about making carrot cake, I was surprised to find that not everyone knows how to finely grate carrots. Well, if that's you, I'm here for you!

There are two main ways to grate carrots: with a box grater or in a food processor.

Box Grater Method

This is the more time intensive, but a cheaper way to do it. If you don't already own a food processor, you can pick up a box grater for less than $20 on Amazon. It just requires a bit more elbow grease! To grate your carrots using a box grater, just use your hand to move the carrot up and down along the largest blade. Since this recipe uses just about 1 medium carrot, it won't be too difficult!

Food Processor Method

This method is an absolute breeze but also more of a pain to clean up (especially since the amount is so small). Most new food processors come with a grating blade, so you'll just swap out the standard S-blade, turn the machine on and run your carrot through the top hole. It's super fast, but again, it means cleaning your food processor which to me is a deterrent!

How do you like to grate your carrots? Let me know in the comments!

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (3)

Is Carrot Cake Healthy?

But here's the thing: now that I'm familiar with healthy baking and cooking, I've realized that traditional carrot cake recipes really aren't healthy. And that just because something contains a vegetable in its name does not make it good for you.

In fact, I'd venture to say that carrot cake is almost worse than many other cakes. Loaded with vegetable oil, sugar, and white flour, and then topped with a mixture of cream cheese, butter, and sugar…yikes.

Definitely, something that I'm excited to lighten up and make give you a healthier alternative.

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (4)

Can I Substitute Applesauce For Oil in Carrot Cake?

An easy way to make your carrot cake instantly healthy is to reduce the amount of oil. The reason for using oil in baked goods is to help provide moisture and crumb. So we can't just leave it out, we have to swap it for something else.

My favorite solution? Using applesauce!

You can substitute applesauce for oil in your carrot in almost exact proportions. However, when I'm baking I don't like to do all the oil in cakes because it does help give it a really nice, classic texture.

You'll see below that we're using applesauce and yogurt in the wet ingredients. Those two things are there to replace 1/2 cup of oil. So in total, this recipe would have called for 3/4 cup of oil, but we're using 1/4 cup of applesauce and 1/4 cup of yogurt. You could also do just applesauce if that works better for you.

So the long answer to that question is…YES. You can totally substitute applesauce for oil in carrot cake which will still keep it moist, but reduce the fat content by a ton!

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (5)

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (6)

How to Make Healthy Carrot Cake

The flavors that go into this uber healthy carrot cake are what I love the most. I'm a sucker for anything with cinnamon in it, and I can't resist tossing in a sprinkle of nutmeg and ginger to spice things up a little more. Plus, a baked good with chopped nuts? I love the crunch!

To make this healthy carrot cake actually healthy, I started with nutritious flours. The cake is a blend of almond flour, which is low in carbs and packed with healthy fats and protein, and quinoa flour, which is also high in protein and vitamins. Unlike other gluten-free cakes, there are no starches or rice flours.

And finally, for my sugars, I went with something less refined – a simple blend of maple syrup and the natural sweetness from the applesauce. I love the flavors of both, and really enjoyed the level of sweetness they brought to the cake.

What is most special about this cake is the texture. It's perfectly moist, has a soft texture, a slight crunch from the walnuts and a warm, comforting flavor that you come to expect from a decadent cake such as this.

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (7)

Other Healthy Carrot Cake Inspired Recipes

  • Vegan Carrot Cake Quinoa Breakfast Bars
  • Healthy Carrot Cake Smoothie
  • Carrot Cake Quinoa Breakfast Cookies
  • Healthy Carrot Cake Blender Muffins
  • Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes
  • High Protein Carrot Cake Chia Pudding

Healthy Quinoa Carrot Cake

5 from 1 vote

This healthy quinoa carrot cake recipe uses a blend of almond flour and quinoa flour for a light, yet tender cake that's high in protein and absolutely scrumptious!

author: Alyssa

yield: 14 slices

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (8)

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep: 10 minutes minutes

Cook: 45 minutes minutes

Total: 55 minutes minutes


dry ingredients:

wet ingredients:


  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup almonds chopped (or nuts of choice)


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a bundt pan and set aside.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

  • In a separate bowl, beat together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until fully combined. Fold in grated carrots and nuts.

  • Transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking tin. Bake on the center rack for 40 - 45 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

  • Allow the cake to rest for at least 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.

  • For serving, we love it with some drizzled coconut butter on top!



* for the ICING: melt 1/4 cup of coconut butter. If it's not quite pourable, whisk in some melted coconut oil.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 23mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1580IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1.5mg

cuisine: American

course: Dessert


Did You Make This Recipe?

Be sure to share a comment and rating to let us know!

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (9)

Filed Under:

  • Cake
  • Dairy Free
  • Dessert
  • Gluten-Free
  • Oven
  • Recipes
Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe | With Quinoa & Applesauce - Simply Quinoa (2024)


What does quinoa do in baking? ›

Quinoa flour is especially great for baking gluten-free bread because of its protein content. Since gluten is a protein, it is important to use higher protein flours (such as quinoa) when baking gluten-free. The protein in quinoa flour helps to give your bread some structure, and will improve the overall texture.

Can you bake with quinoa flour? ›

Today we're talking about one of my all-time favorite gluten-free flours: quinoa flour! I use quinoa in my baking all the time – not just because of my brand name, but also because I genuinely love it. But since it's a little on the pricey side, I think a lot of people avoid it.

Why is carrot cake so calorie dense? ›

Carrot cake usually contains more saturated fat than fruit cake thanks to the frosting, which is typically made from cream cheese. The higher fat content also means it's higher in calories. Carrot cake is lower in fibre, so may not be as filling.

How does quinoa burn belly fat? ›

How Quinoa Helps In Weight Loss? Rich dietary fibre and protein increase metabolism, and that makes quinoa good for weight loss. Cooked Quinoa contains five grams of dietary fibre per cup. Eating high fibre foods is often the missing piece when a person is trying to shed weight.

Is quinoa better for me than rice? ›

Quinoa is rich in both fiber and protein, contains a much higher amount of other nutrients, and has a similar fluffy texture to the rice. A cup of quinoa contains twice more protein and about 5 g more fiber than white rice. Quinoa contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than white rice.

Does quinoa flour spike blood sugar? ›

Quinoa has a glycemic index of around 53, meaning it won't cause as dramatic a spike in blood sugar. This is because it contains fiber and protein, both of which slow the digestion process. Most grains don't have all the amino acids needed to make a protein.

Is quinoa flour good for cakes? ›

Cake taste improved with either 5% or 10% quinoa flour in the blend. Cookie spread and top grain scores decreased with increasing levels of quinoa flour blended with high-spread cookie flour. Flavor improved up to 20% quinoa flour in the blend.

Is quinoa flour anti inflammatory? ›

Quinoa (kiːnwɑː)

With its mild nutty flavor, this edible seed packs a powerful nutrition punch, containing anywhere from 17-27 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein per cup cooked. Quinoa is also considered to be a whole grain, gluten free and contains anti-inflammatory properties.

What's the healthiest cake to eat? ›

What Type of Cake is Healthy?
  1. Angel Food Cake. Angel food cake is healthy because It does not contain egg yolk and butter. ...
  2. 2 . Flourless Chocolate Cake. ...
  3. 3 . Protein Mug Cake. ...
  4. 4 . Homemade Strawberry Shortcake. ...
  5. 5 . Sugar-Free Carrot and Date Cake. ...
  6. 6 . Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. ...
  7. 7 . Cheesecake. ...
  8. 8 . Red Velvet Cake.

Why not use butter in carrot cake? ›

Why do you use oil instead of butter in carrot cake? Oil helps keep carrot cake extra moist and also helps extend its shelf life.

Is carrot cake good or bad for you? ›

Carrot cake isn't really any less healthy than a white cake or a chocolate cake. Arguably, it's slightly more healthy because of the addition of carrots and sometimes pineapple. However, it does contain a cup of oil and two cups of sugar, and that's just in the cake.

How does quinoa change when cooked? ›

Quinoa is supposed to be soft and fluffy after cooking, not crunchy or mushy. The texture of cooked quinoa should be tender, with each grain separating slightly and having a slight chewiness. If quinoa is cooked properly, it should not be crunchy or undercooked, and it should not be mushy or overcooked.

What is quinoa and why is it important? ›

What is quinoa? Quinoa, pronounced 'keen-wa', is a gluten-free alternative to starchy grains. Although it often occupies a similar role to grains in dishes, quinoa is actually a seed from the same family as beets, chard and spinach. It is high in protein and an important plant source of all nine essential amino acids.

Is quinoa flour good for baking cookies? ›

Not only does quinoa flour provide an amazing texture for these gluten free chocolate chip cookies, but it also makes them a bit healthier with a boost of nutrition, fiber, and protein plus it gives them a slightly nutty, delicious flavor.

What are the benefits of using quinoa flour? ›

It's rich in vitamins, minerals, plant compounds, and antioxidants. Quinoa is gluten-free, may help lower blood sugar levels, and aid weight loss. If you want to increase the nutrient content of your diet, replacing other grains like rice or wheat with quinoa may be a good start.

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