Best Healthy Carrot Cake

What better way to ease into a new week than with cake? And it’s not just any cake. It’s the best healthy carrot cake I’ve ever made. As a committed cake-tester, I have to say, this one ticked all the cake boxes. Frosted with thick Greek yoghurt and a citrusy honey glaze, it will impress even the toughest cake critic.

If like me, you like to have your cake and eat it, then this recipe is possibly the answer. In support of my 80/20 food rule, there are heaps of nutritional benefits to eating carrot cake for breakfast. And that, without the guilt.

For the batter, I’ve used one of South Africa’s favourite breakfast cereals, FutureLife Smart Oats. I love getting creative with new food products and using them in unconventional ways. I recently tried the FutureLife breakfast cereal range. After tasting the chocolate granola, I’d intended making a fruit bake with chocolate granola crumble. Unfortunately we polished the box before it reached the mixing bowl. I then moved on to the Smart Oats. A breakfast cake with vegetables sounded like an easy sell for fussy eaters or anyone looking for a healthy tea time treat, so carrot cake it was.

Best Healthy Carrot Cake

What to expect from a healthy carrot cake

The crumb texture is lighter than a conventional carrot cake but still moist and very carroty. For the dry ingredient quota I’ve used wholemeal flour, almond meal and finely ground Smart oats. Cinnamon and mixed spice add warmth to this classic bake. To keep it wholesome and light, the frosting is replaced with Greek yoghurt. For a tangy twist, I drizzle the top with orange infused honey syrup.


Best healthy carrot cake

Serves 12
  • 400g, carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) FutureLife Smart Oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose cake flour
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) wholemeal flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (finely ground almonds)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Orange syrup

  • zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cups thick, Greek yoghurt, to finish
  • fresh thyme (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 160º C.
  2. Grease and line a 22cm round cake tin with baking paper.
  3. Place the carrots in a large processor and blitz until fine.
  4. Add the orange zest, sugar, honey, oil, buttermilk and eggs to the carrots and blend until well combined.
  5. Sift together all the dry ingredients, except the walnuts and add to the carrot mixture.
  6. Blitz briefly until the flour is incorporated.
  7. Fold through the walnuts.
  8. Transfer the batter to the baking tin and bake for 55-60 minutes. Check for doneness before removing from the oven.
  9. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  10. To make the orange syrup, place the zest, juice ad honey in a saucepan. Boil hard until reduced and sticky.
  11. Place the cooled cake on a cake stand and spread the yoghurt generously over the top.
  12. Drizzle with orange syrup and scatter with sprigs of fresh thyme.
  13. Serve immediately.



You may also like this classic carrot cake recipe from Astrid Field’s beautiful baking book, High Tea at Home. Or, the famous Brazilian Cake from Food 52’s Genius Desserts.

Classic Carrot cake

Brazilian carrot cake from Genius Desserts







10 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi, Really looks good. I don’t have a sweet tooth hence my love for carrot cake vs chocolate cake. I will always chose a healthier option so this is a definite print and try – i’ll let you know how it goes.

    Ps I also love the smoothie recipe, they are my staple diet.

  • Dilys Freschi
    10 August 2017 10:26 am

    Carrot cake looks amazing, I am definitely going to enjoy making it, thank you Di

  • Dianne Bibby
    11 August 2017 6:38 am

    Without a doubt, one of our favourite cakes at the moment. Hope you’re going to love it as much as we do.

  • Dianne Bibby
    11 August 2017 6:42 am

    Vegetable cakes are so versatile. I sometimes substitute the carrot with well drained zucchini, which is just as delicious and moist. Grated lemon peel also adds great flavour. This cake is not overly sweet either.

  • Healthy!? For real!? This looks waaay too perfect to even be the slightest bit healthy. But hey, I’m not gonna argue with you. Definitely need to try this soon!

  • Such a eye grabbing title, I just had to read it. This carrot cake recipe has a lot of ingredients though, but I still love the end result. Thanks for sharing this.

  • You’d think so, right? It’s so packed full of good-for-you ingredients, including heaps of carrots and oats. I love using thick Greek yoghurt in place of the usual cream cheese frosting. Definitely ticks the right boxes for me.

  • It does have quite a few ingredients but the quick blender method makes it super simple to put together. Hope you give it a try sometime soon. Thanks for stopping by Karl.

  • is there any sub for the future life oats? can you use regular oat bran or oat flour?

  • Dianne Bibby
    10 July 2020 10:58 am

    Hello Jen. Apologies for the late reply. Yes, I would use half the amount of oat flour in place of the Future Life, then increase the almond flour from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.

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