Is Carrot Cake Good For You? 7 Ways to Make it Healthier

Imagine you are on vacation in Paris. After dinner, the chef serves you a piece of orange and white delight – carrot cake on the house!

Suddenly, your gym instructor appears in your mind, saying, “No sweets for the next three months!”

You ignore it and take a spoonful of carrot cake that instantly melts in your mouth. You may think, why not? A carrot is a vegetable, and we all know that vegetables are good for you. But wait! Is carrot cake good for you?

Having raw carrots is exceptionally healthy, but carrot cake is an unhealthy option like many other sweet desserts. It is high in fat and sugar. One piece (100g) of carrot cake contains 415 kcal (calories). Sad but true, you’ll need a thousand push-ups to burn off this indulgence.

Let me share the nutritional value of the cake, its pros and cons, and a lot more.

How Healthy is Carrot Cake?

is-carrot-cake-good-for-you

Almost no dessert on earth is healthy! And carrot cake definitely isn’t the exception.

To make a carrot cake, you’ll need – white and brown sugar, oil, refined flour, cream cheese frosting, butter, etc. And none of the ingredients are healthy for you.

Ingredients of Carrot Cake:

  • Carrots: High in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A. Carrot cake has four times more vitamin A than any other cake, which is, unfortunately, just about the only redeeming factor of carrot cake.
  • Flour: Flour makes up the bulk of cake batter, and it helps bind together the ingredients. However white flour unfortunately has very little nutritional value. It is essentially 100% carbohydrates, and contains minimal vitamins and minerals.
  • Butter: It’s used in the cake batter for moisture and tenderness. It is okay for your health if you eat it in small amounts. However, eating butter raises the fat level in your body, so eaten in larger quantities, it is a health risk. 
  • Brown sugar: is a good source of antioxidants compared to the white sugar and other sweeteners. But too much of it can increase blood sugar levels.
  • Milk: Milk is an excellent source of nutrition for most people. But please note that some people are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy. Carrot cake is not dairy free, so it would not be recommended for people with milk allergies or sensitivities.
  • Cream Cheese: Cream cheese sounds like it is cheese, which has protein and other nutrients. However, cream cheese is a less healthy form of cheese. It is low in protein. It is high in vitamin A and has some calcium, but does not have a lot of other benefits.
  • Egg: If you don’t have cardiovascular disease and have a healthy blood cholesterol level, eating eggs, including the yolk, is OK. If you need to follow a low cholesterol diet, or if you are allergic to eggs, using egg substitutes would be preferable.
  • Sugar: a piece of carrot cake contains 51g of sugar, which is a LOT! This is 13 teaspoons of sugar in each slice. Excessive sugar consumption leads to weight gain, diabetes, and obesity.
  • Cinnamon: It has antimicrobial properties and is thought to help keep your gut healthy. Having less than one teaspoon of cinnamon per day is considered harmless.

Usually, cream cheese is used to make frosting, which is full of fat and sugar. Carrot cake contains more saturated fat than any other fruit or vegetable cake.

Carrot cake is low in fiber and protein. It doesn’t have as much iron or potassium as fruit cake. It is even less nutritious than white bread, with four times less zinc.

Health Benefits of Carrot Cake – Infographic

Nutritional Facts of Carrot Cake

Carrot cake contains 556 calories in a 100-gram serving. The following table demonstrates the nutritional information about carrot cake.

Ingredients per 100gmAmount 
Calories556 kcal
Total Fat30.6g
Carbohydrate66.7g
Sugar38.9g
Protein2.78g
Sodium389 mg
Iron2 mg

Are Carrot Cakes Good for Different Health Conditions?

cheesecake

Carrot cake is not an ideal food in general, and it is even less ideal if you have a preexisting health condition. It is high in fat, sugar, and carbs, all of which are unhealthy when eaten in large quantities.

That said, having a small sliver to satisfy your craving probably won’t harm you. Unless, of course, you are allergic to any of the ingredients in that case, you do definitely need to avoid carrot cake entirely.

There are many more conditions to consider before you take a bite.

Is carrot cake suitable for people with diabetes?

Carrot cake is not suitable for people with diabetes. Carrot cakes have a lot of sugar, which can cause your blood sugar level to spike.

Even if you make diabetic cakes, it still has carbs and refined grains that are not good for your blood sugar level. You should eat any type of sweet dessert in moderation. 

Is carrot cake good for high cholesterol?

Carrot cakes are not suitable for high cholesterol. A 100g piece of carrot cake contains 26.7g of fat, which is not compatible with a low-fat diet.

Saturated and trans fat can increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, which is not healthy for the cardiovascular system. Elevated LDL is associated with clogged arteries, and increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), for a diet of 2,000 calories daily, 200 calories (22 grams) or less should come from saturated fat

Is carrot cake good for pregnancy?

You can eat carrot cakes during pregnancy. The cake has no ingredients that are dangerous during pregnancy. However, eating lots of sweets can raise the pregnant mother’s blood sugar level, resulting in gestational diabetes. Eating an excessive amount of calories can also lead to an unhealthy amount of weight gain.  

So, eating a slice of carrot cake occasionally won’t harm you. Moreover, carrots’ vitamin A can help improve your baby’s eyesight. But it probably isn’t a treat to eat every day.  

Is carrot cake good for weight loss?

Carrot cakes are not suitable for weight loss. Sweet desserts like carrot cake contain 51g of sugar per 100g. Eating this much sugar and this many calories makes weight gain very difficult. 

Again, saturated and trans fat can cause weight gain also. So, it is a good idea to avoid carrot cake if you are attempting to lose weight.

Are Other Cakes Healthier Than Carrot Cakes?

chocolate-cake

Here is a comparative list of nutrients in different kinds of cakes that you may eat. This information is based on the USDA database. 

You can see that carrot cake contains more calories than the three other types of cake listed. It has more fat, carbs, sugar, and sodium than any other type of cake. This means that the other types of cake are probably a healthier choice than carrot cake. 

Nutrient Amount in Carrot Cake, per 100gAmount in Tea Cake, per 100gAmount in Cheesecake,per 100gAmount in Chocolate Cake,per 100g
Calories415 kcal368 kcal321 kcal399 kcal
Total Fat26.7 g21 g22.5 g15.9 g
Carbohydrate79.2 g43.9 g25.5 g60.3 g
Fiber1 g1.8 g0.4 g3.2 g
Sugar51 g24.6 g21.8 g37.8 g
Protein5.1 g5.26 g5.5 g3.63 g
Sodium567 mg298 mg438 mg332 mg
Potassium169 mg0 mg90 mg176 mg
Calcium172 mg35 mg51 mg116 mg
Magnesium8 mg0 mg11 mg36 mg
Iron1.01 mg1.89 mg0.63 mg3.6 mg
Vitamin C0.8 mg0 mg0.4 mg1.9 mg
Vitamin B60.076 mg0 mg0.052 mg0.143 mg

Source: USDA Food data Central

Is carrot cake healthier than regular cake?

The amount of carbs, sugar, and fat says it all. 100g of regular tea cake contains 43.9g of carbs, whereas 100g of carrot cake has almost double the number of carbs.

Sugar in traditional tea cake is 24.6g, whereas carrot cake contains 51g sugar. The amount of total fat is similar in both types of cake. So, the regular cake is healthier than carrot cake.

Is carrot cake healthier than cheesecake?

Carrot cake may look less rich than cheesecake, but it actually contains 94 calories more than cheesecake does. Cheesecake is lower in fat, carbs, and sugar than carrot cake. 

But if you look at the nutritional value, carrot cake has does contain a significant amount of vitamin A, which comes from the carrots, and cheesecake does not provide much vitamin A at all. 

In general, when trying to choose the healthier option, it is wise to choose the one with less sugar and fat—which in this case is cheesecake. 

Is carrot cake healthier than chocolate cake? 

The chocolate cake won’t have the vitamin A and fiber, which come from carrots. The total number of calories is approximately the same between the two, but carrot cake contains more fat. The healthier option between these two depends a bit on the individual, and what type of diet they are attempting to follow. 

7 Ways to Make Carrot Cake Healthier

  • Use fruits as natural sweeteners: You can use canned crushed pineapple, raisins, applesauce, and prune puree to sweeten carrot cake with less added sugar naturally.
  • Use whole-wheat flour: It has more fiber than white flour and a subtle, nutty flavor that blends exceptionally well with the spices and carrots that give the cake its flavor.
  • Use Greek yogurt as frosting: You can add greek yogurt to the frosting mix to increase the tangy flavor and creamy texture. It also adds protein and gut-healthy probiotics.
  • Use nuts: Walnuts and pecans are excellent sources of omega-3. They’re also high in protein and fiber. Toast the nuts for flavor before using them in the cake.
  • Use Almond flour: To make your carrot cake gluten-free, you can use almond flour. That tastes amazing and makes the cake healthier.
  • Use coconut cream as frosting: If you are a vegan and want to stay away from animal fat, you can use coconut cream frosting in your carrot cake. That will also make your carrot cake healthier.
  • Use brown sugar or jaggery: You can use brown sugar or jaggery instead of refined white sugar. These have fewer calories than white sugar.

Best Sugar-Free Carrot Cake Recipe 

IngredientsAmount
Cream cheese frostingone pack
Dairy Free Whipped Frosting1 pack
Carrot180 grams
Eggs
Refined coconut oil60 mL 
Apple cider vinegar1 tbsp.
Unsweetened almond milk120 mL
Blanched almond flour210 grams
Coconut flour35 grams
Stevia powder1 tsp.
Erythritol1/4 cup
Cinnamon1 tsp.
Ginger powder1/4 tsp.
Ground cloves1/4 tsp.
Cardamom powder1/4 tsp.
Allspice1/2 tsp.
Baking powder1 tsp.
Baking soda1/2 tsp.

Direction: 

  • Grate the carrot. 
  • Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately. 
  • Combine the ingredients in a big bowl with your grated carrot. 
  • If you like raisins or chopped nuts, include them now.
  • Add maple or coconut sugar for the erythritol in the recipe 
  • Add the batter to any type of baking mold and bake at 180°C for 40 minutes.
  • Use a 9″ springform pan to create a layered cake. 
  • After 40 minutes, remove it from the oven and cool it down
  • Add coconut cream/greek yogurt as frosting. 

This recipe is the healthiest version that a carrot cake can be. No sugar is added here, and no refined oil or flour. The ingredients are whole-grain and natural. So, it is a healthy recipe for carrot cake. You can try this at home; better than your store-bought high-calorie carrot cake.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is carrot cake made with carrots?

Carrot cakes contain real carrots, but some may only contain flavors and artificial ingredients. As a result, eating homemade carrot cake is beneficial because it is highly nutritious and healthy. Using canned carrots or pureed carrots in carrot cake is harmful.

Is carrot cake good for dogs?

Carrot cake is high in sugar and saturated fats, making it unsuitable for dogs. Furthermore, refined flour can upset your dog’s digestive system; your dog can be lactose intolerant. So, avoid giving it to your favorite pet.

Is carrot cake supposed to be thick?

The majority of the carrot cake ingredients are solid. There are also grated or finely chopped carrots. As a result, when the batter is made, most carrot cakes have a thick consistency. After baking, the cake has a thick and firm, nutty texture.

Conclusion

Is carrot cake healthy? No, it is not as healthy as everyone thinks.

Eating carrot cake that is high in fats, sugar, and preservatives is not good for your health. However, you can adjust the ingredients by yourself to make it healthy. Also, you can use alternative flours that are more healthy and filling.

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