Ok, I’m going to be honest. I’m posting a recipe for carrot cake and I don’t even like carrot cake.
You see, I really thought I did. Moist cake slathered in cream cheese icing, how could it be bad? Well, of course my version that I thought I would like is void of raisins, walnuts and canned pineapple. Those items in baked goods, especially the raisins, just don’t generally work for me. I know there are a lot of carrot cake lovers out there getting very angry with me right about now.
So I made this cake and was so excited that it was a little low in fat, full of a vegetable and in sheet cake form so that I could call it a snack cake (snack cake = anytime cake). The flavor is great, the cake is nice and moist (not gummy or dry like some lighter baked goods) and of course the cream cheese icing calls for eating by the spoonful. But still, I just can’t get behind it. There is something about the carrots in the cake that bother me. Sorry carrot cake, you are not for me. Good thing there are other people around, like my husband, who feel differently!
On a different note, let’s talk about this icing for a second. I was contacted by Weight Watchers to try out their cream cheese in one of my recipes. As someone who uses reduced fat cream cheese by default, I welcomed the chance to try a new (to me) brand. The outcome was not disappointing at all. The frosting on this cake was creamy and sweet with a little bit of that cream cheese tang. I may or may not have scraped some off of the cake that I opted out of eating. I’d definitely use their brand in future recipes.
Lighter Carrot Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 5-6 large carrots)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a 13×9 pan with cooking spray and set aside
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside
With an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy
Add eggs, one egg and egg white at a time, mixing between each
Mix in vanilla
Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture and buttermilk as follows: 1/3 of flour mixture, 1/2 of buttermilk, 1/3 of flour mixture, remaining 1/2 of buttermilk, remaining 1/3 flour mixture
Turn off mixture and fold in shredded carrots
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean
Set cake aside to cool
Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 of an 8-ounce block of Weight Watchers cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners sugar*
Using the whisk attachment to an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on high speed until light and creamy
Add vanilla and salt and mix well
Add sugar, 1/2 of a cup at a time until at desired consistency(*2 cups was the perfect amount for me, but if you want a thicker texture and sweeter icing, you may want to add another 1/2 cup)
Once cake has cooled, evenly spread icing over top
Serve immediately or store in refrigerator up to a few days (best served within first 24 hours)
Adapted from Cooking Light
What do you refuse to put into your desserts? Raisins and coconut are high on my list.
Disclaimer: I received a free sample of Weight Watchers cream cheese, however all of the opinions in this post are my own.