This delicious and easy light carrot cake recipe is perfect for spring. One of my must make desserts every spring is carrot cake. I adore carrot cake, it’s always an Easter favorite for us. Unfortunately even with all those carrots, carrot cake is not exactly what one could call health food, at least not with most recipes. I’ve always been a big fan of swapping out some of the oil in my baking recipes and replacing it with applesauce, which is exactly what I did with this delicious carrot cake.
This week I’ve been sharing some of my favorite ways to lighten up recipes using Mott’s Applesauce over on Better Homes and Gardens Delish Dish Blog. Today I’m sharing this light carrot cake recipe.
In this light carrot cake recipe I replace some of the oil with applesauce. I even use applesauce in my not so light carrot cake recipe. I think it really helps with a great texture and moist crumb. While this light carrot cake recipe is created by doctoring a cake mix, I also have a from scratch healthy carrot cake recipe that you can try. It is a bit lighter and it has a secret ingredient that provides extra protein and fiber, as well as applesauce. I even use applesauce in my carrot cake cupcakes. Basically almost every version of carrot cake I make includes applesauce. I think the only carrot cake recipe I have without applesauce would be my carrot sheet cake recipe.
The frosting in this recipe gets a bit of a makeover as well. I use a Greek yogurt frosting, or Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting to be more specific. While the frosting still has cream cheese in it, I’ve replaced the butter in my usual cream cheese recipe with plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. I’m not sure I’d call it a light frosting, but it’s a step in the right direction. Some people make a Greek yogurt frosting with just Greek yogurt, vanilla and powdered sugar. Personally it’s a bit too tart for me, so I find this combo a nice compromise. Just make sure you strain off any liquid, you want your yogurt as thick as possible to make the frosting. That is also why you want Greek yogurt, as it’s thicker than traditional yogurt.
Light Carrot Cake Recipe
Light Carrot Cake
This light carrot cake recipe gets a little help from a cake mix and unsweetened applesauce.
Light Carrot Cake
- 1 package yellow, white, spice or carrot cake mix standard size cake mix found in grocery store
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup finely shredded carrot
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup plain non-fat strained GREEK yogurt make sure to use GREEK yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lightly grease and flour a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, buttermilk, oil, applesauce, vanilla, cinnamon ginger, and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Stir in carrots. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cool completely prior to frosting.
In a large bowl, combine softened cream cheese, Greek yogurt and vanilla. Mix until light and fluffy. Gradually mix in powdered sugar until frosting is spreadable.
- Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Sprinkle with the nuts. Cut into bars. Makes 32 bars.
Adapted from BHG for Delish Dish feature.
Buttermilk can be replaced with regular milk.
Make sure to use GREEK yogurt, as it's thicker than regular yogurt. Also make sure to strain off any liquid, you want the yogurt to be as thick as possible. Runny yogurt will produce a runny frosting.
Disclosure: This recipe was sponsored by BHG and Mott’s Applesauce. All opinions however are mine and mine alone.