Healthier carrot cake recipe

Healthier Carrot Cake Recipe for a Crowd

Healthier Carrot Cake with cream cheese

This healthier carrot cake is a classic carrot cake recipe that’s lower in fat than the original and reduced in sugar too.

Apparently National Carrot Cake Day is in February but we think of carrot cake as a spring dessert, the kind of no-fail recipe you make around Easter. Dressed up with luscious cream cheese frosting it feels a little festive, although it really is a humble cake that is simple to make.

Healthier Carrot Cake is a moist cake, made with less oil than most carrot cakes so isn’t greasy. Plus it doesn’t have pineapple in it so the crumb never feels wet. And it has just the right amount of cream cheese icing.

It’s an old Crosby’s recipe that we adapted slightly — reducing the sugar a bit and baking it in a 9”x13” pan instead of as a layer cake. And I cut the frosting recipe in half, which gives just the right amount to spread a swirling layer over the top of the cake.

This is the perfect cake for an Easter crowd. It stays moist so you can make it a few days ahead and frost it on the day you plan to serve it. (You can make the frosting ahead too and leave it in the fridge until you’re ready.) Even better, a 9”x 13” cake is easy to serve and the cake can be cut into as many as 20 pieces.

If you want to go even lower in fat try our recipe for Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Icing. Or, make our Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies.


Healthier Carrot Cake Recipe for a Crowd

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4 from 1 review

Healthier Carrot Cake for a Crowd is a classic carrot cake recipe that’s lower in fat than the original with less in sugar. Extra easy

  • Author: Crosby Molasses
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1520 serving(s) 1x
  • Category: Cakes


  • 2 cups flour (can use half whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups packed grated carrots (about 4 large carrots)


  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 22 ½ cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Line a 9”x13” pan with parchment paper
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. In a large bowl whisk the oil with the molasses and sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then vanilla.
  5. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture.
  6. Fold in carrots and walnut and mix until combined.
  7. Scrape into prepared pan and spread evenly.
  8. Bake 50-55 minutes until a tester comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs attached.
  9. Let cool completely before icing.


  1. Beat together cream cheese and butter. Beat in the sugar until you reach desired stiffness. Mix in vanilla.
  2. Spread on cool cake.

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Calorie count based on the cake being cut into 18 pieces. Nutritional count includes frosting.

Nutritional info: Per slice.

  • Calories: 341
  • Fat: 17.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.2g
  • Cholesterol: 56.8 mg
  • Carbs: 42.8 g
  • Sugar: 30.8 g
  • Sodium: 240.4 mg
  • Fibre: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 4.3 g
  • Potassium: 184 mg
  • Calcium: 35.6 g


  • March 10, 2023


    Could you add pineapple? My husband loves carrot cake with pineapple.

    • March 15, 2023

      Crosby Molasses

      Hello Rhonda. We have never tried this recipe with pineapple. If you give it a try, please let us know :) -Marie from Crosby’s Kitchen

  • September 16, 2022

    Lynn Tremblay

    Hi could you use almond flour instead of regular white flour? Thank you.

    • September 19, 2022

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Lynn, we have never tried this recipe with almond flour but if you give it a try, please let us know :) -Marie from Crosby’s Kitchen

      • September 22, 2022

        Noreen Benedetti Barbe

        Why would Crosby’s Kitchen not do the test cake run?

  • April 6, 2021

    Sharon Whitaker

    Thanks for the great recipes, and proving great replies as well, every single thing that i have cooked or baked has been amazing, didnt know that molasses was such a big hit

    • April 8, 2021

      Crosby Molasses

      Thanks Sharon!

  • April 1, 2021


    My Husbands 70th Birthday is on Saturday & all he wants is a carrot cake…so thanks for the recipe…Bonita

    • April 8, 2021

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Bonita, Happy Birthday to your husband. Hope he enjoyed the cake.

  • April 9, 2020

    Elayne Mott

    Hi there: Just wondering, since there’s just my husband & I at home now a days, if I cut the recipe in half, what size pan would you recommend & at what temperature and for how long would I bake it. Thanks.

    • April 16, 2020

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Elayne, I’d use a deep 8×8 pan for a half recipe. I’d keep it at the same temperature and start checking for doneness at about 40 minutes. Enjoy.

  • April 9, 2020

    Judy baker

    4can you half this recipe?

    • April 16, 2020

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Judy, Yes, you can half the recipe. I’d use a deep 8″x 8″ pan. I’d keep it at the same temperature and start checking for doneness at about 40 minutes. Enjoy.

  • April 9, 2020

    Judy baker

    5can you half the recipe?

    • June 15, 2021

      Marie-Pierre Lessard


  • April 9, 2020

    Cathy Fancy

    I believe this recipe is missing 2 tsp baking powder from the list of ingredients…I made it and it did not turn out well.

    • April 16, 2020

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Cathy, The 2 tsp. of baking soda and four eggs should give it enough lift. Were you thinking that it should have baking powder in addition to the baking soda? (I’d like to figure out why the recipe didn’t work for you.)

  • January 1, 2019

    sidrah mubashir

    Can I use plain black strap molasses robust flavour in this recipe instead of the fancy one and if the quantity remains the same.

    • January 3, 2019

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Sidrah, Yes, if you enjoy the flavour of blackstrap molasses then you could use it in this recipe. (Keep in mind that the cake will be darker and less sweet with blackstrap.)

      • August 10, 2023


        I was thinking the same thing. I LOVE the richness of blackstrap and found this recipe turned out great, but seemed something was lacking. My first thought was to add a full 1t of salt next time, but reading this comment I think using blackstrap might just do the trick for me! Also, I had read on another site to grate carrots using a smaller size than regular, but for this cake I would not do that again. This could also account for the slight flatness — the carrot flavour didn’t pop out because they were too fine.

        I had 500ml of whipping cream on hand that I needed to use up and my dh said make carrot cake and use that instead of cream cheese for the icing. I added about 1.5c of icing sugar and about 1/2t salt (even 1/4t would probably have been enough) and it was a hit!! Because of the corn starch in the icing sugar the whipped cream doesn’t deflate overnight so I can keep it in a container in the fridge and just take it out when we have our cake!

        Oh, and I used about 1c raisins because I didn’t have any walnuts, and could have probably added another 1/2c if you like raisins in your carrot cake! :)

        Thanks again for another great recipe! :)

  • April 14, 2017

    L. Morrow

    Because of nut allergies, could you substitute plumped raisins for the walnuts?

    • April 17, 2017

      Hi there,
      Yes, you could substitute all sorts of things for the walnuts. Raisins would be a great variation.

  • April 8, 2017


    At what point do you add the 1 1/4 cups of sugar into the cake mixture?

    • April 12, 2017

      Hi Kay, You can add the sugar when you add the molasses. Apologies, and thank you for letting me know that I had missed that in the instructions. All fixed now.

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