The person who originally had the crazy idea of making a cake out of an orange, root vegetable deserves to go down in history as one of the greatest minds of mankind. I love cake and a deliciously moist, lightly spiced carrot cake topped with creamy cheese icing has got to be one of my favorite types.
Cake, unfortunately, is not a very diet friendly food and a standard portion of carrot cake can run at around 400 calories, be very high in fat (often from refined vegetable oils), high in refined sugar and low in protein and fiber, meaning it is not very nutrient dense. Not exactly something you can easily fit into your daily macronutrient needs.
My version of carrot cake here is a little different. It's low in fat, has no added refined sugars, is high in protein and fiber. This means that this carrot cake is not only lower in calories and more nutrient dense but also keeps you feeling fuller for longer than a regular slice of standard carrot cake.
First off, the two main ingredients are carrots and dried dates. These serve the multiple functions of keeping the cake nice and moist and also adding to the overall sweetness (a function that would be carried out by refined sugar in a normal cake) while giving the cake a healthy fiber boost . Wholegrain flour replaces refined flour and the the flavored protein powder adds to the sweetness and protein content of the cake. The cream cheese icing uses low-fat cream cheese and vanilla protein powder to greatly reduce the fat and eliminate the added sugar.
There are no added oils in this cake, nor egg yolks, meaning the fat content is very low. This and the lack of sugar, however, mean that the cake does not keep for long (2 days max in the refrigerator). Luckily, the cake won't last that long ;-) .
Ingredients (serves 6)
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For the cake:
- 2 medium carrots (very finely grated)
- 75g pitted dates (very finely chopped)
- 50g wholegrain flour
- 50g vanilla whey protein powder (caramel flavor also works)
- 70g egg whites (~3 eggs whites)
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves
- 1/4 tsp. salt
For the icing:
- 200g very low-fat cream cheese (less than 5g of fat per 100g cheese)
- 50g vanilla whey protein powder
- 1 tsp tapioca starch
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 1lb loaf tin with baking parchment (the link is worth watching just for the dramatic music).
- Grate the carrots as finely as possible using the "star" grater side of a multi-face grater. It should look like an orange pulp when finished.
- Chop the dates with a large sharp knife as finely as possible. It should resemble a thick paste when done. (alternatively just throw the carrots and dates into a powerful food processor and let it do the work).
- Mix the carrot and date pulps together, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Transfer the mix to the lined loaf tin and bake at 180°C for 40 minutes (more or less depending on your oven). A sharp knife, when inserted into the cakes, should come out clean when done.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together the protein powder and tapioca starch and then mix into the cream cheese. Leave in the fridge until required, this gives a better consistency to the icing
- When the cake is baked (your kitchen will smell amazing at this point), remove it from the loaf tin and allow to cool on wire rack until completely cool.
- Once cool, slice the cake in half horizontally and spread about half of the cream cheese icing mix on top of the base layer.
- Place the other layer on top of the bottom layer and spread the remaining icing on top. Serve and bask in the praise of your friends.
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