Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe – Perfect Balance of Taste and Nutrition

Looking for a healthy carrot cake recipe that is tasty and guilt-free? This one’s all about keeping it moist and delicious without the flour, eggs, butter, or added sugar. It is a treat you can feel good about – and it is super yummy too!

slices of healthy homemade carrot cake

Just to let you know, this carrot cake has no frosting but if you want to add some frosting then check out these 15 Carrot Cake Frosting Alternatives (Without Cream Cheese)!

Healthy Ingredients For Healthy Carrot Cake

This cake has all the good and none of the bad. It’s sugar-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, and—most importantly—mouth-watering delicious. 

healthy carrot cake recipe ingredients

Remember that this cake’s ingredients are selected to replace what you typically use for a regular carrot cake, except the carrots, of course. You can change a few things to make it your own, just be careful because too many tweaks could end up changing the cake more than you’d expect.

Ready to go? I will quickly explain the ingredients I used in this cake recipe.

Oats: Since this is a flourless carrot cake, the oats will play the role of flour in our cake. You can buy ready-made oat flour in stores or even on Amazon here, but I suggest making your own at home. Don’t worry; it’s much easier than you think. All you need to do is blend regular rolled oats in a food processor until they turn into fine oat flour.

One Degree Gluten Free Sprouted Rolled Oats 5 lbs.


I really like using One Degree gluten-free sprouted rolled oats above for all my oat recipes. They are gluten-free and sprouted, making them super digestible and nutrient-rich. Their texture is just perfect for baking, and the fact that they’re organic and non-GMO is a big plus in my book. They are just ideal for adding that wholesome touch to the carrot cake.

Carrots: For this recipe, using grated or shredded carrots is best. Store-bought shredded carrots are good to use but tend to be dry, so it’s much better to grate them at home to add extra moisture to your cake.

Sunflower and Sesame Seeds: This is the secret to a nut-free carrot cake, perfect for anyone with an allergy. Toasted sunflower and sesame seeds give the recipe a nutty flavor profile and a satisfying crunch with each bite. 

Banana: One of Mother Nature’s most potent sweeteners. As bananas mature and ripen, the starches transform into sugars, meaning the more it ripens, the sweeter it will make your cake. Bananas that are already quite brown or even almost black are the best.

Lemon: You may not believe it, but lemon’s delightful tart touch elevates your carrot cake to the next level! Don’t worry—the citrus twist is barely perceptible and only cuts through the sweetness to enhance the other flavors. In the cake, we’ll use both lemon juice and lemon zest.

Baking Soda and Baking Powder: Since this recipe does not have eggs or self-rising flour, these will be our leavening agents. The cake won’t rise much, but these are still helpful so that the cake won’t turn out too dense and heavy.

Dried Fruits: Raisins, apricots, and dates can add some extra dimension and complexity to the flavor and texture of your cake, as well as additional sweetness.

Milk: This is the one and only liquid in the cake mixture. While you can choose any milk you’d prefer, keep in mind that your choice will subtly affect the taste of the final result. Make sure to choose one you’d like! In the recipe video below, I used regular full-fat milk.

Ready to Bake?

Follow These Simple Steps for a Deliciously Healthy Carrot Cake

healthy carrot cake recipe no sugar

Making this cake easier than a regular carrot cake, which turns it into the perfect recipe for people eager to enjoy something delicious and healthy without much effort.

If you’re ready to go,  I will talk you through the steps, and don’t worry, I baked this cake quite a few times already, so I can tell you it is straightforward for anyone, whether you are a beginner or a pro.

If you don’t feel like reading just skip to the video below in the recipe card.

1. Toast the Seeds

The first step is toasting your seeds. While you could use them raw if preferred, this step is the key to enhancing their nutty flavor and adding a satisfying crunching texture.

toasting the sunflower and sesame seeds on a pan

Toast the sunflower and sesame seeds on a pan over medium heat for approximately five minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden or silicone spatula to prevent hotspot burning. You will notice they are done when their color has turned a lovely shade of golden brown, and you can smell the nutty fragrance in the air.

Note: Be careful not to let them toast for too long! Sunflower seeds can turn very bitter if burnt.

2. Mix Carrots and Bananas

Now is the time to set up the baseline of our mixture. If you haven’t done so before, this is also the time to grate the carrots and mash the bananas.

adding mashed bananas to the grated carrots in a mixing bowl

In a clean bowl, incorporate 1 cup of grated carrots with 1 1/2 mashed bananas, then zest the lemon and add a dash of lemon juice.

With a spatula, mix and fold the mixture until well combined. It should look like a somewhat sticky mixture with mostly carrots and a few little banana chunks.

Pro-Tip: Lemon zest dries out fast, so it’s best to use it immediately for maximum flavor.

3. Mix In the Oats and Leavening Agents

incorporating the oats and leavening agents

Mix in 1 ¼ cups of rolled oats that you’ve ground into oat flour, then add ½ teaspoon each of baking soda and baking powder. .

combining the ingredients in a mixing bowl

Follow through by using your spatula to mix all ingredients until just incorporated. The result will look less like cake batter and more akin to cookie dough—thick, lumpy, and not particularly liquidy.

Top Tip: While the recipe has no gluten that could make your cake tough, overmixing oat flour can turn it gummy and ruin its texture. It’s best to fold ingredients until just combined.

4. Finish the mixture

adding dried fruits to the mixture

Now, it’s time to add the finishing touches to the cake. Incorporate 1 cup of the dried fruit mixture and follow through with the toasted seeds you prepared at the start of the recipe. Finish it by adding ½ cup of milk and grab your spatula to mix it until incorporated.

mixing all the ingredients

This is the step to incorporate all additional mix-ins you’d like for your cake! The final result should be a thick, firm, and compact dough-like batter.

5. It’s baking time!

Prepare an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper to prevent your cake from sticking to the pan.

cake batter in a pan

Once done, scoop the cake batter and pour it inside. Grab a spatula and distribute it evenly across the pan, focusing on smoothing out the top until as flat as possible.

baking the carrot cake in a preheated oven

Immediately after, bake the carrot cake in a preheated oven set at 180°C (356°F) for approximately 40 minutes, or until the cake top turns a beautiful golden brown and the aroma fills your kitchen.

Note: Don’t expect the cake to rise much—it will be more dense than the regular carrot cake!

6. Serve and Enjoy

Remove the cake from the oven and enjoy it as it is since it is most delicious when warm and straight out of the oven.

decorating the top of the carrot cake

However, if you’d like to decorate it a bit, feel free to dust the top of the carrot cake with confectioner’s sugar or stevia powder for a sugar-free option.

My Favorite Serving Suggestion: I like it with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey for added flavor.

The Perfect Recipe To Customize

adding some honey to the carrot cake
  • Pick your preferred seeds or nuts: While the recipe calls for sunflower and sesame seeds, you can incorporate pumpkin or any other type. You can also add pecans or walnuts.
  • Opt for your favorite milk or milk substitute: You can use dairy milk or any alternative you prefer without risking any substantial change in the recipe. Almond, soy, oat, coconut—the choice is yours!
  • Mix and match the dried fruits: The dried fruits are mix-ins you can change to your heart’s content. Dried prunes, sultanas, or dried tart cherries can also enhance the flavor of the cake.
  • Change the sweetness to taste: Add a dash of maple syrup or honey if you prefer your cake to be sweeter. A few more dates can also enhance the sweetness.

This recipe is very forgiving as long as you stick to the general instructions, so don’t be afraid to customize it to match your tastes, needs, and cravings!

carrot cake

Make It Vegan

To make this healthy carrot cake with oats vegan, you only need to tweak a few things. Since the recipe is already free from eggs, and butter, the main change is to use plant-based milk like almond, soy, oat, or potato milk.

Also, make sure the dried fruits and any other additions are vegan, as some processed foods might have hidden animal-derived ingredients. With these simple substitutions, your carrot cake will be a delightful vegan-friendly treat.

Check Out Also: If you enjoyed this healthy carrot cake recipe, be sure to check out how I prepared this 140-year-old oat cookies recipe here.

Healthy Carrot Cake That Balances Flavor and Nutrition Perfectly

Recipe by Jen Evansy
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Imagine a carrot cake that’s as good for your body as it is for your taste buds. That’s exactly what this healthy carrot cake recipe offers. It’s a straightforward, no-fuss cake that’s moist, lightly sweetened with the natural goodness of carrots, and has a lovely hint of citrus to keep things interesting. Perfect for anyone who loves a good slice of cake but doesn’t want to compromise on health. It’s a recipe that proves sometimes the simplest things can be the most satisfying.

Cook Mode

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  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats (about 125g), Try these Gluten Free Sprouted Rolled Oats here

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (30g)

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (30)

  • 1 cup grated carrots (about 110g)

  • 1/2 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about 225g)

  • 1 tablespoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (15ml)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (2.5g)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (2.5g)

  • 1 cup dried fruits (raisins, apricots, dates) (about 160g)

  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice (120ml)


  • Toast sunflower and sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until brown and fragrant.
  • In a bowl, mix together grated carrots and mashed bananas.
  • Add lemon zest and lemon juice to the carrot-banana mixture and mix well.
  • Grind 1 ¼ cups of instant rolled oats to a fine flour, then combine with ½ teaspoon each of baking soda and baking powder. and give it a good mix.
  • Add dried fruits, toasted seeds, and milk, combining everything evenly
  • Transfer the batter to an 8-inch square cake pan, smoothing the top.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (356°F) for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Optionally, dust with sugar or stevia powder before serving.
  • Enjoy your healthy carrot cake!

Recipe Video


  • Choosing Bananas: Use overly ripe bananas as they are sweeter and mash easily, enhancing the natural sweetness of the cake without added sugar.
  • Toasting Seeds: Toast the sunflower and sesame seeds until they are just golden brown to enhance their nutty flavor. Be careful not to burn them, as this can impart a bitter taste.
  • Grating Carrots: Grate the carrots finely for a smoother cake texture. Larger pieces can make the cake less cohesive and more difficult to slice.
  • Checking Doneness: Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake to check for doneness. It should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, sour cream, or a drizzle of honey for added flavor.

Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size: 0g
  • Total number of serves: 10
  • Calories: 70kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Protein: 1.5g
  • Fat: 4.5g

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Storing This Carrot Cake: Best Enjoyed Fresh!

While there’s nothing quite like savoring this carrot cake warm and fresh from the oven, if you do have leftovers, here’s how to keep them tasty.

First, let the cake cool completely – patience is key! Then, wrap it up snugly in cling film or aluminum foil, or better yet, pop it in an airtight container. This will keep it quite moist in the fridge for up to a week.

Ready for Another Yummy Oat Recipe?

Did you have fun making that healthy carrot cake? I sure hope it added a little nutrition to your day! If you’re already looking around for what to whip up next, I have another oat recipe for you: oat cookies! They’re super easy, tasty, and have that perfect chewy middle we all love. Plus, it’s a great way to get some more oats into your diet in a yummy way. I have a feeling you’re going to love these just as much!

Let’s Chat About It!

How’d your carrot cake turn out? I would really like to know! Whether you followed the recipe to a T or added your twist, tell me all about it. You can leave a comment right here on the blog or in the comment section of the YouTube video. Got any questions or ran into a little trouble? Can’t wait to hear from you – I’ll be right here, ready to reply.

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About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.