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.