Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

This recipe trims the excesses in a favorite celebration cake.


1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see Ingredient Note)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots (4-6 medium)
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut


2 tablespoons coconut chips (see Ingredient Note) or flaked coconut
12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

  2. Toast walnuts in a small baking pan in the oven until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain pineapple in a sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids. Reserve the drained pineapple and 1/4 cup of the juice.

  3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and the 1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice in a large bowl until blended. Stir in pineapple, carrots and coconut. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

  4. Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

  5. To prepare frosting & finish cake: Place coconut in a small baking pan and toast in the oven at 300°F, stirring several times, until light golden, 5 to 10 minutes.

  6. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with the coconut.

Makes 16 servings.

Per serving: 344 calories; 17 g fat (5 g sat, 6 g mono); 56 mg cholesterol; 43 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 3 g fiber; 349 mg sodium…use a salt substitute to reduce sodium content.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (40% daily value), Fiber (12% dv).

Ingredient Note: Coconut chips, large thin flakes of dried coconut, make attractive garnishes. You can find dried coconut chips in the produce sections of large supermarkets or you can order them through, (800) 588-0151.

Ingredient Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour is lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour. It has less gluten-forming potential and is suitable for tender baked goods, such as cakes. You can find it in large supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.