In the meantime, I've really enjoyed sharing some of my kitchen experiments as I try to tweak my favorite desserts to reduce their sugar content. I have been working diligently to curb my sugar cravings and, ultimately, stave off the diabetes that runs in my family, but every now and then a sweet treat is nice, so I've been working to find a few healthier alternatives to have in my baking arsenal.
Carrot cake is one of those desserts that I have easily convinced myself is healthy in the past (it has carrots!), but in reality the sugar, fat, and caloric content on a typical carrot muffin is staggering! It's one of my favorite desserts, though, so recently I fiddled around with my carrot cake recipe, trying to make a healthy carrot cake. Frankly, I'd still classify this carrot cake as an "indulgence," but it is sugar-free and grain-free - even the icing - so it's more in line with Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar program, which has helped me immensely. This sugar-free carrot cake recipe is made with coconut flour, brown rice syrup, and stevia so, while it's still high in calories and fat, it doesn't have the high sugar content of a traditional carrot cake. To lower the sugar content even more, you can skip or cut back on the pineapple.
Refined Sugar Free Carrot Cake Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup fresh pineapple (optional)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Splash of lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 nutmeg
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup oil (I used olive, melted coconut works too)
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:
- One package full fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 tbsp butter, softened
- 1/4 cup stevia (I used Truvia, which has a milder after taste than other stevia brands)
- Splash of milk (I had coconut milk on hand)
- Unsweetened, shredded coconut
Sugar-Free Carrot Cake:
When you bake with coconut flour, you need to add an alarming number of eggs so don't worry - that's not a typo! Combine the eggs, oil, lemon juice, and brown rice syrup until mixed thoroughly. Stir in the coconut flour, baking soda and spices until well mixed. Add the shredded carrot and pineapple.
Pour in a well greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes (oven time may vary). Allow to cool, then transfer to a wire rack where it should cool some more. Half an hour later and my cake was still a touch too warm for icing, so I would wait an hour next time.
Use an electric mixer to combine the softened butter, cream cheese, and stevia. Try with a little less stevia - maybe a 1/8 cup - and taste test. Some people cannot handle the aftertaste of stevia, but I found the Truvia brand I used was milder than others, plus the delicious carrot cake and cream cheese overpowered the stevia and all I tasted was a mild sweetness. If you find it sweet enough, skip the rest of the Stevia. I added a splash of coconut milk to help make the icing a little easier to spread, but it's optional.
I topped my carrot cake with some unsweetened, shredded coconut, sliced dragon fruit (so pretty - and delicious, I'd never had one before!), pineapple sticks, and kiwi - simply because it looked pretty, but the fresh fruit does increase the overall sugar content.