When trying to keep a healthy, clean diet there are times when you need to be able to eat something that is ready-made, easy to eat on the go but also tastes like comfort food. Carrot cake doesn’t usually come to mind as a health food, but this option definitely is just that. I try not to stock the pantry with things like packaged protein bars and granola bars because so many of the options out there (even the “healthy” options) are way too calorie-dense for my liking or packed with excess sugar or have ingredients I don’t really understand. Making your own is such a better option when possible because you have absolute control over what goes in to your body and there’s no adding preservatives to make it last on a long truck ride to the store and then on the shelf before getting to you.
This recipe is one I adapted from Jamie Eason (love her recipes, they’re great!) and I like it for a lot of reasons. First and foremost the nutrition: when made exactly as described, it’s grain free (and can be made gluten free), dairy free, sugar free and mostly fat free. Don’t be scared off though! It’s still great :) Of course, like all recipes I post here I encourage you to adapt it to your needs: don’t like adding whey protein? Don’t. Prefer real sugar or a different alternative? Use what you like. This is just what I do, but it’s a forgiving recipe and can be adjusted to your preferences.
This also comes together really easily and can be wrapped individually once cooled so that you have a healthy snack at the ready to grab on the go or to pack for work. I was glad I had a batch already made for my unexpected trip to Maryland last week and Parker and I were both so glad to have a healthy snack on the road. We had more energy for the long car ride and didn’t have the guilt of getting something tempting at a gas station.
Also, this is a great snack for the “afternoon slump” that so many of us experience. I don’t know about you, but around 3-4pm is dangerous territory for me: it’s the time I start dragging and I notice I’m most susceptible to sugar and carbohydrate cravings. I don’t usually feel like making a green smoothie or pulling out left over grilled chicken and veggies, even though those would be great-for-me options. So this recipe is satisfies the craving, with no effort required when made in advance, and I like to eat it while sipping hot tea to give me a little boost of caffeine plus that makes me feel sophisticated like I’m having high tea in London or something. :)
This recipe uses carrot baby food for the carrot flavor. You could puree your own carrots, and I have before, it just changes the texture and requires more work. Carrot baby food has no additives and is smoother than you can usually make at home. Feel free to use your own pureed carrots though!
Clean Eating Carrot Cake – with Protein!
- 1 cup oat flour (or flour of your choice – I’ve used almond flour before and it was great too)
- 2 scoops vanilla whey protein
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 4 egg whites
- 3/4 cup sweetener of choice (I use about 60/40 split Xylitol and Stevia in the Raw, respectively. Splenda, Truvia, and sucanat are also good options)
- 8 oz carrot baby food
- 4 oz water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking dish with non-stick spray- I used my favorite mini-bundt pan but a 9″x13″ glass or aluminum pan works too, just keep an eye on the baking time and check often near the end.
- Mix all dry ingredients except sweetener (flour, whey protein, spices, baking soda and salt) together in a bowl.
- Mix egg whites, sweetener/sugar, baby food carrots and water in a bowl.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together.
- Pour ingredients into dish.
- Bake 20-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Yields: 16 servings