It wouldn’t be Easter without carrot cake. And with this healthy carrot cake recipe, you can indulge in dessert without feeling guilty in the slightest. The whole cake comes in at just 200 calories and there’s a microwave version as well as an oven version. So whether you want a traditional single-serving dessert or a quick-as-can-be mug cake, I’ve got you covered!
The low calorie carrot cake in the photos was baked in the oven. I’ve tested both the oven and the microwave methods and honestly? My favorite is definitely the oven version. By baking it, you get a real sponge cake texture, it looks like a proper cake and the house smells like the most amazing bakery while it’s in the oven.
But sometimes you don’t want to wait 15 minutes for the oven to heat up, another 20 for the cake to bake, plus another 10 for it to cool down, right? Sometimes you just want to treat yourself to your favourite cake right this very second.
That’s why I made two versions of this healthy carrot cake: one 45-minute oven-baked version and one 2-minute microwave-steamed version. Same ingredients and same taste. Just not quite the same texture or look. But when you’re eating it at home, on your own, in your PJs, who cares?
Wow, that scenario sounded a lot more sad on the screen than it did in my head, but I’m still writing it. My favorite thing about this healthy carrot cake recipe? It looks absolutely adorable. If you follow all the steps in the recipe, go with the oven method and take the time to decorate it, you really will get a mini 2-layered cake.
Can’t get enough of this healthy carrot cake? I’ve got some other recipes you’ll love. Dig into your favorite Easter dessert first thing in the morning with Carrot Cake Overnight Oats. Then for your afternoon snack attack, nibble on one of The Best Ever Carrot Cake Cookies, which are only 60 calories each.
What can I use instead of mixed spice in carrot cake?
You can make your own mixed spice for carrot cake at home with allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, coriander and ginger. Here’s the exact recipe:
Homemade mixed spice
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground mace
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
Place all the ingredients inside a small jar, screw on the lid and give it a good shake. You’ve then got homemade mixed spice that you can use in any recipe that calls for it.
Mixed spice is pretty difficult to get a hold of outside the UK and not everyone wants to buy ingredients like “ground mace” for a single recipe. That’s why I didn’t include mixed spice in my healthy carrot cake recipe. My recipe only includes cinnamon, but if you love mixed spice, feel free to substitute the ¼ teaspoon cinnamon for ¼ teaspoon mixed spice.
This low fat carrot cake genuinely makes one serving. Like, the cake you see in the photos is what you’ll get to eat for 200 calories. How cool is that?! I know a lot of people get disappointed when they make a healthy mug cake and it turns out to be a ¼ of the size of the one in the photos. But that won’t happen if you make this cake. No siree.
Interested in other healthy mug cakes that are low enough in calories to be healthy, but big enough in size to actually satisfy you? Whip up this Healthy Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake — it only takes 3 minutes to make in the microwave. Or if you’re a chocolate lover, dig into The Best Healthy Mug Brownie in the world for only 100 calories.
The trick to keeping healthy mug cakes low in calories is to find a low-calorie alternative to oil or butter. I usually sub low-fat low-sugar yogurt which adds a great texture and flavor without adding loads of calories. But I’ve also experimented with mashed banana, applesauce and Greek yogurt.
The great thing about using mashed banana or applesauce is that it also helps you cut down on the amount of sugar you’re using, since they’re both naturally sweet. This makes your dessert even healthier and lower in calories.
Healthy Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for One
For the cake
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1oz/30g finely grated carrot
- 2 teaspoons skimmed milk (you can substitute any milk)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 teaspoon raisins
For the frosting
- 1 tablespoon low-fat cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon skimmed milk (you can substitute any milk)
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
- finely grated carrot for decorating
- If you're going to bake your cake in the oven, preheat it to 350F/175C. If you're going to steam it in the microwave, skip this step.
- Lightly grease a 1-cup ramekin and set to one side. In a small bowl, stir together all the cake ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking powder, flaxseed, sugar, carrot, milk and raisins). Scoop into the greased ramekin.
- Oven: Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick, when inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean. Remove from the ramekin and leave to cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing in half horizontally.
- Microwave: Cook in the microwave for 60 seconds, or until springy to the touch. If the cake is still a bit soggy, continue microwaving in batches of 15 seconds until it becomes springy. Remove from the ramekin and leave to cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing in half horizontally.
- To make the frosting, in a small bowl beat together the cream cheese, milk, powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Use the frosting to sandwich the cake halves together and spread a little on top. Use the grated decorate to decorate before serving.
Hi, just found your site today when I was looking for a mojo recipe. I made the green one tonight and as there are only 2 of us I halved the recipe. It was gorgeous and so easy to follow and make. Your website is lovely and so inviting you just want to try all of the recipes they look so fresh and yummy. Thank you.
Thank you so much Rachel! Your comment really made my day 🙂 I'm so glad you liked the mojo recipe. And great initiative halving it - a whole batch would definitely have been too much for two people!
Joy @ Joy Love Food
This sounds delicious! I am definitely a carrot cake lover and find it hard to believe that you weren't one until now :). I love that you've made a healthier version, pinning to try. Thanks for sharing at What'd You Do This Weekend?!
I've finally seen the light and can class myself as a carrot cake lover now, Joy! 🙂
Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg
I'm an obsessive carrot cake fan, Nicola. I love this healthier single-serving recipe. I literally could eat an entire carrot cake and not be mad at it. I can't wait to try these and save some calories while I'm at it. 😀
With this recipe, you're encouraged to eat an entire carrot cake in one sitting! 🙂
This is a smart idea so I don't overate! LOL!
Krissy @ Pretty Wee Things
Oh I love mug cakes! YUM
Hi there! Stopping by from the Creative Inspirations link party. This looks so yummy and every once a in while, I crave carrot cake but don't want to buy/bake an entire cake and carrot cupcakes are sometimes hard to find. Pinning for those moments!
Come to think of it, Ashley, I've never seen carrot cupcakes before! This recipe sounds just perfect for you 🙂
Looks amazing <3
Thank you so much, Mariah!
Your Mug Cake looks wonderful, I love the carrot cake. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday and have a fantastic weekend!
Only 2 T of liquid ingredients for 6T of dry ingredients Isn't something missing.? Won't the mixture be too dry?
I can see why you'd think that, SK, but it really doesn't!
The 2 tablespoons of liquid are helped by the egg yolk and the grated carrot, which add to the moistness.
If your batter is too dry, feel free to add a few drops of water or milk, but the recipe really shouldn't need it.
Where is the egg yolk listed on the ingredients?
Coombe Mill - Fiona Cambouropoulos
This is a great idea. I love how quick and healthy it is. Pinning #MagicMondays
Thanks so much, Fiona. That's why I love it, too!
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
This looks delicious! I love healthy desserts. And you can't beat carrot cake flavor. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much, Lauren. I love healthy desserts, too!
Kathryn @ Family Food on the Table
I love carrot cake but I'm with you - only when it's been healthified 😉 This looks like an especially quick and easy way to get my fix. And I'll definitely be having it for breakfast, as well as dessert!
Thanks so much for the kind words, Kathryn! Since it's so low calorie, it works equally well as a dessert and a breakfast treat, so enjoy! 🙂
Julie @ Running in a Skirt
How delicious! What a great idea. Carrot cake really is a pretty good dessert when made this way.
Thanks so much, Julie. I'm glad you think so! (and I love the name of your blog!!)
Congratulations! This post is going to be featured over at Diana Rambles tomorrow and has been pinned in the Featured at Diana Rambles board at Pinterest, Tweeted, and Yummed. Please grab a featured button off my button page or via the post guidelines graphic. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!
Kylee from Kylee Cooks
I LOVE a good mug cake, but have never tried a carrot cake one. That will obviously change - this looks AMAZING.
Thanks so much, Kylee! It's perfect for when you love carrot cake but no one else in your house does!
Carrot cake is my favorite, I am not making now a days because my kids won't like them, I like your idea of single serving of this Carrot mug cake. I am enjoy without bothering about how to finish other cake.
Exactly, Swathi! Sometimes you just want one serving of something. A mug cake is perfect for that 🙂
Matt @ Plating Pixels
Yum. I keep seeing mug cakes and totally need to make one already!
You haven't made a mug cake yet? You DEFINITELY have to! They will change your foodie life!
I'm a big fan of carrot cake but haven't had it in a while cause of all the sugar. This looks like a healthy way to have one of my favorite cakes again and in a single serving 🙂
Definitely, Stephanie! And with only one portion, there's no way you can over-eat 🙂
I’ve made this recipe twice for my husband and I, and it is by far the best mug cake we’ve tried (and we’ve tried quite a few)! The texture is so similar to a regular cake - not dense like so many other mug cakes - and SO delicious!! I usually swap out the oil for applesauce, and I do have to add a splash more milk for it to come together - but otherwise this recipe is perfect. This is in regular rotation at our house now! 🙂
I'm so glad you like it, Sierra! And great tip about the substitution.
I made this and it didn't make a cake just crumbles with carrots. I felt like I had left some ingredients out. I reread the recipe and I had left nothing out after reading all the reviews I came across your reply to another review that said the egg yolk gave it moisture. There is no egg yolk in the list of ingredients. Please correct this as if I had of added that my cake would of probably been a 5 star review.