Healthier apricot carrot cake

Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes

Cake with vegetables sounds healthy, but is usually far from it. This version lightens up the traditional recipe with dried apricots, applesauce, and coconut sugar; reduces the fat and swaps in coconut oil; and swaps out half of the white flour for whole wheat. Add in walnuts for Omega-3s (or leave them out to make this school safe) and you have a healthier option for your Easter table that’s equally delicious and showstopping.

Take me to the cake!

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I’m still struggling with the eternal question: Is it worth it to healthify desserts? If my kid factors into the equation, then yes. He’s often satisfied with a “healthy” sweet. I, on the other hand, really wanted a doughnut for breakfast and no amount of healthy treats was going to cut it.

However! If there’s a recipe ripe for healthifying, a dessert starring a vegetable is it.

I started recipe testing this cake by dumping everything into a bowl and calling it a day. The results were delicious, but dense, so I decided to do as others have done and whip the eggs and sugar at the start to make the crumb a bit lighter. Often, cake directions tell you to cream butter and sugar / butter and eggs / sugar and eggs (as in this case) until they’re “light and fluffy.” Unfortunately, the coconut sugar is so dark that you’ll never really achieve this. What you want instead is just to aerate the eggs, sugar, and other liquids. Don’t worry about it too much, just make sure that you see lots of bubbles once all of the liquid is combined.

Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes
Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes

Alone, this cake is delicious, but tastes like a muffin or a quick bread, not a cake. But slathered in cream cheese frosting, this is a CAKE.

Can I tell you a secret about making the frosting? I don’t measure the sugar. You heard that: I don’t measure the sugar. I mix in a couple of large spoonfuls and then add more to taste. I like a frosting that isn’t too sweet and the beauty of cream cheese frosting is the tang, which gets totally masked by too much sugar.

Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes
Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes
Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes
Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes

Apricot carrot cake

Adapted from Bake from Scratch and Natasha’s Kitchen

Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (about 45 minutes of active time, including frosting the cake)
Yield: 8 GIANT slices, 10-12 normal slices

1 cup apricots, chopped
1 Tbsp flour (AP or Whole Wheat)
4 eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour (pastry or white whole wheat are also great)
1 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp fine sea salt
12 oz carrots; trimmed, peeled, and shredded (about 3 cups, lightly packed shredded carrots)
1 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 375.

Grease two 9-inch cake pans, or a 12-cup muffin tin liberally with melted coconut oil or cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a small bowl, chop the apricots and toss with 1 Tbsp of flour (either AP or whole wheat). Set aside.

Toast your walnuts in the preheating oven, keeping an eye to ensure that they don’t burn while you continue prepping your other ingredients. Set aside.

Trim, peel, and shred your carrots. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 3 minutes on a medium high setting (or on high if your hand mixer isn’t very strong). The eggs won’t get lighter in color because the coconut sugar is quite dark, but you will see lots of little air bubbles formed and the volume of the liquid should increase.

Reduce the speed of your mixer to low (medium-low for a hand mixer) and slowly add the oil, applesauce, and vanilla extract.

Sift the dry ingredients together into the wet ingredients. Fold until just combined and no lumps remain.

Fold in the carrots, apricots, and toasted walnuts (if using).

Pour half of the mixture into each cake pan (or, fill each muffin cup until about 2/3 full).

Bake, rotating halfway through, for 20-23 minutes for the cakes or 15-18 minutes for the muffins. You want the cakes to be springy when touched and for a tester to come out with a few crumbs or clean.

Let the cake cool entirely before icing.


Cream cheese frosting
2 blocks cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter (1 cup), softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more to taste

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer or your hand mixer, combine and whip the butter and cream cheese on high for 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt and whip on medium to combine.

Add the powdered sugar a few Tbsp at a time and SLOWLY whip the sugar into the rest of the mixture on low (otherwise you’ll have powdered sugar all over your kitchen). Once the initial amount of powdered sugar is incorporated, add more, a few Tbsp at a time, to taste. When all of the sugar you want is incorporated, turn the mixer back to high and whip for 3-4 more minutes.

Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes
Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes



Mexican chocolate zucchini muffins

We had an I-ONLY-WANT-TO-EAT-CAKE-FOR-LUNCH episode recently, so I decided to give the people what they really want: Cake for breakfast. But not!

In honor of Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, I added some cayenne for the slightest of kicks in these healthy-ish breakfast/snack/anytime muffins. In honor of wanting to maintain balance in our diets, I added whole wheat flour, coconut sugar, avocado oil, zucchini, applesauce, and blackberries.

These muffins are really incredibly easy. No need to drain the zucchini or use separate bowls for the mixing. They're also free of dairy and refined sugar if you skip the chocolate chips, and can easily be made vegan by swapping in two flax eggs. The batter is thick (almost like a brownie batter), but puffs up with a light, airy, and not at all dry crumb.

This batch only made 11 muffins because Sticky Fingers here kept munching on the blackberries and chocolate chips I'd measured out. All of my other batches made an even dozen.

This batch only made 11 muffins because Sticky Fingers here kept munching on the blackberries and chocolate chips I'd measured out. All of my other batches made an even dozen.

Mexican chocolate zucchini muffins

1-2 cups shredded zucchini (from one medium zucchini)
2 eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup avocado oil (coconut and olive oil also work fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup white flour
¾ whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cayenne or chili powder
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1 small container fresh blackberries, or 1 cup frozen berries (not defrosted)

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the shredded zucchini with eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix well. Add the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cayenne, cinnamon, and salt, and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks (if using) and the blackberries.

Line or spray cupcake tins with coconut oil. Fill each opening ¾ full and bake for 23-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Yield: 10-12 muffins

Vegan raspberry doughnuts

Vegan raspberry doughnuts | Me & The Moose. We’ve lightened up traditional Hannukah jelly doughnuts by baking instead of frying, and using freeze-dried raspberries instead of a sugary jelly filling. #Hannukah #sufganiyot #doughnuts #donuts #raspberries #healthybaking #healthyrecipes

Egads. I meant to post these doughnuts for the first night of Hannukah, which was four days ago. Whoops. Truth be told, I struggled with this post. Initially, I used an Ina recipe for Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts and they were delicious, but very very sweet, especially with the icing and sprinkles I used.

I reduced the sugar in the batter, which definitely helped, but they weren't really a healthy alternative to traditional fried sufganiyot. The mountain of powdered sugar in the icing totally undid any of the benefits of baking. Though I've posted a couple of recipes for holiday cookies and sweets over the past few months, we don't feed M much sugar and when we do, we try to make it the unprocessed variety. I definitely couldn't give him one of these without a side helping of maternal guilt.

So, I decided to make my own healthy alternative that's also safe for kids with allergies. These beauties are egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and don't use any processed sugar. They're also super tasty! I'm actually fighting the urge to eat one right now.

Vegan raspberry doughnuts | Me & The Moose. We’ve lightened up traditional Hannukah jelly doughnuts by baking instead of frying, and using freeze-dried raspberries instead of a sugary jelly filling. #Hannukah #sufganiyot #doughnuts #donuts #raspberries #healthybaking #healthyrecipes

A note about flax eggs: In my recent vegan baking adventures, I've tried a few different combinations of flax seed, water, and baking powder. I like Joy the Baker's best. She combines 1 Tbsp of flax seed meal with 3 Tbsp of water and lets this goop sit for 30 minutes. At the end, she stirs in a generous pinch of baking powder and uses the flax egg immediately. I used 1/8 tsp of baking powder and it worked quite well. If using this concoction to replace the eggs in another recipe, don't reduce the amount of baking powder or soda called for in the recipe due to the baking powder in the flax egg.

Vegan raspberry doughnuts | Me & The Moose. We’ve lightened up traditional Hannukah jelly doughnuts by baking instead of frying, and using freeze-dried raspberries instead of a sugary jelly filling. #Hannukah #sufganiyot #doughnuts #donuts #raspberries #healthybaking #healthyrecipes

Vegan raspberry doughnuts

1 Flax egg (1 Tbsp flax seed meal, 3 Tbsp water, and 1/8 tsp baking powder)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup light coconut milk
1 Tbsp apple sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freeze-dried raspberries

Preheat oven to 375. Make flax egg by combining flax seed meal and water and letting sit for 30 minutes. At the end of the 30 minutes, add baking powder and stir. Prep your doughnut pan by spraying with olive or coconut oil.

While the flax egg is setting, combine the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a measuring cup, whisk together the coconut milk, olive oil, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients and the flax egg to the dry and stir gently with a spatula until just combined. Add the raspberries and stir, breaking them up gently. Spoon mixture into greased doughnut molds until ¾ full.

Bake for 17 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Yield: 9 donuts

Vegan raspberry doughnuts | Me & The Moose. We’ve lightened up traditional Hannukah jelly doughnuts by baking instead of frying, and using freeze-dried raspberries instead of a sugary jelly filling. #Hannukah #sufganiyot #doughnuts #donuts #raspberries #healthybaking #healthyrecipes