The other day as I was driving to work, I heard on the radio a couple of FM broadcasters declaring their shock revelation of traditional cream cheese frosted carrot cakes containing as much as 854 calories per slice. Significantly more calories – and fat – than a McDonald’s Big Mac burger.
Calories: As many as 854 (with a whopping 480 calories from fat!)
Calories: 540 (260 of these calories from fat)
To put things into perspective, most major health and nutrition organizations consensually agree that daily fat intake be limited to no more than 30% of total daily calories. So, for a person on a 1500 calorie-per-day diet, total fat intake for the day should be no more than 50g. One slice of carrot cake however, adds up to almost the entire fat allowance for the day, not to mention more than half of the recommended daily calorie intake.
A further irony, given that carrot cakes are often seen as the healthier choice of cake, is that a slice of frosted chocolate cake typically has less than 300 calories and around 15g of fat. With those stats, you may as well go straight for the chocolate cake! Unless of course you prefer carrot cake, in which case you should most definitely indulge because it’s not like you eat carrot every single day (heck, where is the fun in life if you never let yourself enjoy a few indulgences).
For those of you however who are very health conscious and would prefer to “say no” to a calorie and fat laden slice of cake, you can always make your own slimmed-down version. After hearing the dismal news report mentioned above, I decided to head home after work and see what I could come up with by using only ingredients I already had on hand (I knew I already had carrots because I have a human rabbit in my house who eats her way through a kilo or two of carrots a week).
Here’s what I took from my pantry and refrigerator:
Bananas – 2 (medium, and very ripe)
Carrots – 2 (large)
Dates – 1/2 cup (dried and pitted)
Peanut Butter – about 1/4 to 1/3 cup (very oily)
Sugar – 1/3 cup
Almond milk – 1/3 cup (plain, unsweetened)
Chia seeds – 2 tbsps (soaked in 6 tbsps water)
Baking soda – 2 tsps (dissolved in a little almond milk)
Flour – 2 cups (plain)
Cinnamon – 1 tsp
Walnuts – 1/4 cup (chopped)
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Lemon – 1
Powdered sugar – 3/4 cup
Almond milk (extra – approx. 1 tbsp)
Heat the oven to 175 C. Grease a rectangular baking pan and set aside.
First, soak the dates in hot boiling water, and set aside. Next, prepare two chia eggs by mixing the chia seeds in 6 tbsps of water and leaving to set for at least 5 minutes. Finally, grate the carrots and put aside. Now you’re ready to start baking.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
In a blender, add the two bananas, the peanut butter with as much oil as possible, and the dates (with about 1/4 of the amount of water that they were soaking in – the rest can be disposed of). Pulse until just combined; the texture should be wet but slightly lumpy. Add the baking soda (already dissolved in a little almond milk), and then pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Finally, add the chia eggs and walnuts. Gently mix everything together until the flour can no longer be seen. Pour into the cake pan and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
While the cake is baking, make a lemon powdered glaze by simply mixing together the juice of one lemon with 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and adding a little almond milk until a runny glaze-like consistency is achieved. When the cake comes out of the oven and has cooled a little, poke holes in the surface and pour the glaze all over. Then leave the cake to completely cool before slicing.
The end result is a health-ier lemon-glazed carrot cake with not-so-alarming nutrition stats:
Makes 20 servings (20 slices)
Serving Size 1 slice / Amount Per Serving:
Calories 140 (calories from fat – 35)
Total Fat 3.65g (saturated fat .0.6g)