October 26, 2016
Carrot cake with nuts and cream cheese icing on a wooden board next to raw carrot

Nutty Carrot Cake

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

A light cream cheese frosting turns this one-layer cake into a party-worthy dessert, perfect for decorating. If you are making this cake in advance and freezing it, freeze it unfrosted; thaw at room temperature, then decorate the cake shortly before serving.

Makes 16 pieces


2 cups flour

½ cup toasted wheat germ

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1⅓ cups granulated sugar

1¼ cups buttermilk

3 tablespoons extra-light vegetable oil, such as olive or canola oil

3 cups coarsely grated carrots

⅓ cup dried currants

¼ cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)

4 ounces fat-free cream cheese

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dust with flour, shaking out the excess.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt.

3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs and granulated sugar until light and lemon colored. Beat in the buttermilk and oil.

4. Fold in the flour mixture. Stir in the carrots, currants and pistachios.

5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out onto the rack to cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheeses, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla together. When the cake is cool, frost the top and sides with the cream cheese frosting.

Nutrition per piece: 226 calories, 5.1g total fat (1g saturated), 29mg cholesterol, 2g dietary fiber, 39g carbohydrate, 7g protein, 238mg sodium.

Good source of: beta carotene, selenium, thiamin.

From The Wellness Kitchen, by the staff of The Wellness Kitchen and the editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter.