By Mayo Clinic Staff

Dietitian's tip:

This modified carrot cake uses applesauce in place of half the oil, and fat-free cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese. These simple substitutions cut the fat by two-thirds and calories by one-third compared with the original recipe.

Number of servings

Serves 12


    For the cake

  1. 1 1/3 cups shredded carrots
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
  4. 2 cups sugar
  5. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  6. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  7. 1/2 cup corn oil
  8. 1/2 cup applesauce
  9. 5 egg whites from large eggs
  10. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  11. 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  12. 1/2 cup coconut
  13. 1/2 cup canned, crushed pineapple (in own juice), drained
  14. For the frosting

  15. 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese spread, at room temperature
  16. 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  17. 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  18. 1 teaspoon lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch cake pan with cooking spray. Dust with a bit of flour (about 1 tablespoon) and turn the pan over to remove most of it.

In a medium saucepan, add the carrots and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat together the oil, applesauce, egg whites and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until well blended. Fold in the cooked carrots, walnuts, coconut and pineapple.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely on the cooling rack, about 1 hour.

To make the frosting, using an electric mixer slowly beat the cream cheese in a small mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar slowly and continue beating. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Mix until smooth. Frost the top and sides of the cake.

Nutritional analysis per serving

Serving size: A 3-inch square

  • Total fat 12 g
  • Calories 388
  • Protein 6 g
  • Cholesterol 1 mg
  • Total carbohydrate 64 g
  • Dietary fiber 2 g
  • Monounsaturated fat 3 g
  • Saturated fat 3 g
  • Sodium 325 mg
  • Added sugars 33 g
  • Trans fat Trace
April 18, 2014