Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reduced Fat Carrot Cake

for the cake:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 4-oz jar carrot baby food
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded

for the frosting
1 8-oz package of Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1 cup Fluff
1 1/2 tsps vanilla
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 pan and line the bottom with parchment. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, baby food and sugar until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the oil to the egg mixture, while still mixing. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing until nearly smooth. Fold in the carrots. Spread the batter in the prepped pan and bake until a toothpick comes out almost clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting. For the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, Fluff and vanilla. Add the sugar and mix till smooth.


I'm back! And I brought some cake. When I asked my girlfriend what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday I was expecting her to say something like "super chocolate fudge", "strawberry butter cake" or something. But she said "reduced fat carrot cake". I said "er, what?" But she insisted. She had found this recipe in one of my Cook's Illustrated magazines and really wanted it. So I made it. It's actually really good, you would never guess that it was reduced fat. According to CI, it has a third of the fat of regular carrot cake and about half the calories. Not too shabby. Plus the frosting (the most important part) is wicked good. I was a bit worried, since it had Fluff in it. Fluff kind of weirds me out. The cakes texture isn't perfect, but I think if you served it to someone and didn't tell them it was a light version they would never know.

Ok, first the dry ingredients. Flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. In a bowl. Whisked together. Now, the wet ingredients and the sugar. Eggs, brown sugar and baby food. Yeah, baby food. Apparently a lot of low fat carrot cake recipes call for things like prune puree. I don't know why you would use that when carrot puree is available and matches the flavor you are going for, but who can tell why people do anything. Make sure to get baby food that has just carrots and water as its ingredients. You don't want any of the other stuff they might put in there. Anyway, mix the wet stuff together. Add half the dry stuff, mix it together, then the rest of the dry stuff and mix it most of the way. Now it's carrot time. These are just bagged pre-shredded ones, but next time I think I will do it myself. They were a little thick, not that you notice it in the finished product. Fold those in. Next, spread it out in the prepped pan. I don't have a 9x13 pan, only a 8x11. So I used most of the batter in the pan and then made a little cake in a ramikin. Baked at 350 till they're done. While they were cooking I made the frosting. I'd never had Neufchatel before, it's pretty good. First you take the cheese, vanilla and Fluff and mix them together. Ok, I'm not really a big Fluff fan. I was deeply concerned about putting it in one of my favorite frostings. But you don't notice it and according to CI it adds something good. So there you go. Anyway, mix it all together, then add the powdered sugar. Mix it together and that's that. Feel free to ignore the finger marks in it. Hey, I had to check it! What if it was no good? Let's move along, ok? Pull out the cake, let it cool and frost it. I frosted up the little one for my girlie. So there it is, reduced fat carrot cake. Good times kids, I highly recommend it.


Anonymous said...

That frosting sounds so. good! Really! Fluff is an interesting thing to pop in, and now we may be converts. Sweet birthday treat. Pun intended.

Michele said...

I find it really interesting that the recipe had baby food in it. Very cool! I could definitely go for a taste of that cake!

Joie de vivre said...

I remember this one. My hubby has requested a St. Louis gooey cake (I think that's the name). He saw it in one of my Cook's Country's. The frosting does look good.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good to me right now with afternoon tea!

vanillasugarblog said...

CI knows how to make a recipe perfect. So, I can see why she choose it. Good call!
It really does look good Bob or wicked! lol

tamilyn said...

Doesn't look low fat at all. Carrot cake is alway good for a party-I bet it would work in a jelly roll pan to feed a crowd.

Reeni said...

I love that 'fluffy' icing and I bet the baby food made it moist. I have a real bad cake craving now, it looks really tasty!!

Karen said...

How nice that you made her the cake she wanted. Sweet. That frosting sounds kind of yummy to me. I haven't had Fluff in YEARS... maybe I'm missing it!

Anonymous said...

Baby food...okay I never thought of that...omg the possibilities. Have you tried banana baby food...pears...veal...just kidding.

Bob said...

duo: You can't taste the fluff, it just adds some body and sweetness. Give it a shot, it's good stuff.

Michele: I know, weird isn't it? But it works. :)

Joie: gooey cake? I'm intrigued.

5 Star Foodie: I had it with coffee for breakfast. ;)

Dawn: Thanks!

tamilyn: Doesn't taste it either. Heh.

Reeni: CI says that's what the baby food does, keep it moist. I see no reason to doubt them. ;)

Karen: Of course I made her the cake she wanted! I hadn't had fluff since I was a kid. It's really weird stuff.

noble pig: Well, veal is baby food, technically. Heh.

Coleens Recipes said...

Wonderful photographs!

Joie de vivre said...

Just stopping by to say hi! Thanks, as always, for your comments.

Kiezie said...

This looks really good. I'm not a fluff fan either but I might try it for this!! :)

Tangled Noodle said...

What I love about this recipe is that it doesn't ask for some strange, faux-ingredient like butter substitute or something. I've used applesauce to replace oil in some baked goods but never thought of baby food! What a great idea!

You are so sweet to make your GF exactly what she wanted for her birthday!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic step by step instructions!
and this is a delicious looking cake!

Hayley said...

I love carrot cake! Definitely intrigued by the Fluff icing! I've been wanted to make some fluffernutter cupcakes for a little while...may have to try that recipe out!

Bob said...

Coleens Recipes: Thanks!

Joie: ;)

ChefBliss: It doesn't taste like fluff at all, it's wicked good.

Tangled: I never would have thought of baby food myself. Gotta keep the girlie happy. :)

Dimah: Thanks!

Hayley: Oooo, fluffernutter cupcakes sound awesome!

Creative Classroom Core said...

I love carrot cake. So nice to see a recipe for a healthier version. Thanks for sharing!

Shane T. Wingerd said...

I wonder is anyone would notice id I used your Cream cheese fluff frosting on the Carrot cake I have to make this week for a birthday party.. Hmmmmm... casue It sounds REALLY good..!!

Bob said...

finsmom: No sweat. :)

Culinary Alchemist: I bet if you didn't tell anyone it wasn't normal cream cheese frosting they would never notice. It is wicked good. ;)

Anonymous said...

you didnt mention the amount of oil to add to the eggs

Bob said...

Anonymous: Whoops! Fixed it. Sorry about that.


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