Reduced Calorie Carrot Cake Recipe

slice of low calorie carrot cake on a plate

This Reduced Calorie Carrot Cake Recipe will be your diet’s best friend

One thing I’ve never been able to give up completely during a diet is sweets. I have enjoyed a sweet snack a few hours before bed for as long as I can remember. So naturally I needed to find a way to continue that tradition even while dieting. One snack that I’ve always enjoyed is carrot cake, and I came to find out that carrots are naturally quite sweet, low in calories, as well as packed with vitamins A and B. I thought there had to be something there, so I went looking for a low calorie carrot cake recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything that was quite good enough. But I did not give up.   I did the math and found that with some reasonable changes to a regular carrot cake recipe that I like from Betty Crocker, I could make a delicious low calorie carrot cake.

Sheet of reduced calorie carrot cake in a pan

The first switch I made was replacing walnuts with raisins. Both are completely acceptable add-ins to carrot cake, however raisins are lower calorie than walnuts. So this was an easy change to make, though the numbers still didn’t work with my calorie targets. The next thing to go was the cream cheese frosting. I love cream cheese frosting, but it was way too high in calories. Instead I substituted in Cool Whip, which worked wonderfully. It’s lower calorie than regular frosting options, and while the texture is without a doubt different, it still gets the job done nicely. Finally, I made 2 common diet friendly substitutions for the oil and the sugar in the recipe, and I had a tasty Reduced Calorie Carrot Cake Recipe, perfect for my nightly snack.

Tips for working with low calorie substitutes

In this recipe I use a few low calorie substitutes to make this carrot cake diet friendly. Instead of granulated sugar, I use a stevia baking blend. Instead of oil I use melted Light Country Crock. And instead of regular frosting, I use Extra Creamy Cool Whip. These 3 ingredient changes make this cake lower calorie than their alternatives, but there are some tips to remember to make them work the same way.

  • Know your sugar to stevia ratio. This recipe would require 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar to make regularly. Since my stevia baking blend says it has a ratio of 1 cup stevia to 1 cup granulated sugar, I used 1 ½ cups of stevia. But you must read your container of stevia for their recommendation, as I have seen different ratios before. My previous stevia baking blend was 1 cup granulated sugar to ½ cup of stevia, which is much different.
  • The original recipe for this carrot cake called for 1 cup of oil, and I substituted it with 1 cup of Light Country Crock. However, oil is stored at room temperature as a liquid, and Light Country Crock is stored as a solid in the refrigerator. As I call for in the recipe, you will need to microwave the Light Country Crock to get it to a near liquid consistency. However, fully liquid, freshly microwaved Light Country Crock would immediately cook the eggs that you add to the mixture, which would not be good to bake with. That is why I recommend you follow my directions exactly, and do not fully melt the Light Country Crock as well as test the temperature with your finger before adding the eggs.
  • Many carrot cake recipes would call for a cream cheese or buttercream frosting. While delicious, they are both very caloric. So instead I use Cool Whip – extra creamy because it is only a few more calories than regular, and noticeably creamier. However, Cool Whip needs to be stored in the refrigerator. So simply store your cake in the refrigerator, and don’t leave it sitting on the counter for more than an hour after frosting.
baked but unfrosted diet carrot cake

A word on using Cool Whip as frosting

I noted above that this cake should be stored in the refrigerator after frosting with Cool Whip. It is also critical that you let the cake cool for multiple hours before frosting. If you put Cool Whip on a hot, or even warm, cake, it will begin to melt into the cake. While this will still taste good, it’s not the desired effect and your Cool Whip will at least partially disappear into the cake. To test the temperature of the cake, I recommend touching it with the back of your hand as if checking for a fever. It should not feel warm at all, even better if it’s a little cool

You may notice that I do not give instructions to make a double layered cake in this recipe. Double layered carrot cakes are very common, however those cakes usually use a strong frosting like cream cheese or buttercream. When using Cool Whip as frosting, I do not recommend attempting a double layered cake. I don’t think the Cool Whip would be strong enough to hold a second layer of cake on top of it, so your layers would really just sit on top of each other, largely defeating the purpose of a double layered cake.

Still have a sweet tooth?

Try out some of our other tasty desserts and sweets:

  1. Granny Smith Apple Pie – Not low calorie but totally delicious
  2. Strawberry Mojitos – A sweet drink for after work
  3. Smoked Fireball Pineapple – an easy add in while smoking meats
carrot cake with whipped cream icing on a plate

How to make this Reduced Calorie Carrot Cake Recipe

slice of low calorie carrot cake on a plate

Reduced Calorie Carrot Cake Recipe

A delicious diet friendly desert with carrots and raisins
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cool time 4 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 251 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cup Stevia Baking Blend assuming your package is 1:1 ratio to granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Light Country Crock or preferred low-cal spread
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups shredded carrots approximately 5 medium carrots, or 6 thin carrots
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 8 oz Extra Creamy Cool Whip

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a 13x9 pan.
  • Wash your carrots and remove the top and bottom ends from each. Using a sharp knife or potato peeler, remove any particularly ugly spots from the skin of the carrots.
  • Using either a food processor with shredder attachment or a box grater, grate your carrots into strings. You should have about 3 cups, give or take a ¼ cup.
  • Remove some of the excess liquid from your carrots by squeezing a handful at a time over a bowl, or by wrapping all of the shredded carrot in a cheesecloth and squeezing all together. Now set aside your shredded carrots while you make your cake batter.
  • Melt the Light Country Crock in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir to incorporate the solid parts into the liquid. It should be stir-able but not entirely melted.
    melted light country crock in a bowl
  • Combine the melted Country Crock and the stevia baking blend in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend together until well combined. Test the temperature of the mixture with a finger. It may be lukewarm, but should not be hot. If it is too hot to touch comfortably, set aside for 5 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
  • Add the eggs to the mixer bowl and mix just until well combined.
  • Add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, vanilla, and salt to the mixer and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add shredded carrots and raisins. Stir until well combined.
    reduced calorie carrot cake batter
  • Pour the batter into the greased 13x9 pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center can be removed cleanly.
  • Let the cake cool for about 4 hours before frosting evenly with the Cool Whip.
  • Serve and keep leftovers in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcalCarbohydrates: 38.1gProtein: 6gFat: 8.4gSaturated Fat: 3.4gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 4002mgPotassium: 278mgFiber: 10.2gSugar: 7.8gCalcium: 197mg
Keyword cake, carrot
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Nutrition Facts
Reduced Calorie Carrot Cake Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
251
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
8.4
g
13
%
Saturated Fat
 
3.4
g
21
%
Cholesterol
 
93
mg
31
%
Sodium
 
4002
mg
174
%
Potassium
 
278
mg
8
%
Carbohydrates
 
38.1
g
13
%
Fiber
 
10.2
g
43
%
Sugar
 
7.8
g
9
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Calcium
 
197
mg
20
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.