No-added Sugar Carrot Cake Recipe

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3.4 stars from 30 ratings of No-Added Sugar Carrot Cake

Sugar Free Carrot Cake Recipe?

Many people search the internet for sugar-free carrot cake. Such a thing does not actually exist, since carrots naturally contain a small quantity of sugar. However, it is possible to make a cake that contains no added refined sugar.

Many recipes for sugar-free carrot cake use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. However, there are potentially serious side effects with most artificial sweeteners. Some "natural" sweeteners such as Stevia or xylitol have been heavily processed.

It is best is to use foods as close to their natural state as possible and this cake is sweetened with pureed dried dates. This is easy to do and dates are very high in fiber and nutrients so make a great alternative to sugar. Although dates are very sweet, several studies, such as this one reported in the Nutrition Journal, suggest they are safe for diabetics to eat.

Why Make a Sugar-Free Cake?

There is some evidence that suggests excessive sugar consumption could contribute to high levels of unhealthy blood fats and lower levels of HDL (the good cholesterol.) High sugar consumption can increase the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes and can suppress the immune system.

Consuming refined sugar causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly, and the body then produces more insulin to compensate. This then creates an drop in blood sugar. This seesaw effect creates energy slumps and can cause headaches. Often people eat refined sugar along with other refined carbohydrates such as white flour or white pasta. These have the same effect as refined sugar so adding to the seesaw effect.

On the other hand, eating complex carbohydrates creates more sustained energy. The cake in this recipe is made with wholemeal flour, which along with other ingredients, provides a steady release of energy. And because it is made with sunflower oil instead of butter it is very easy to make!

Sugar-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

Finding the right ingredients for icing your sugar-free cake can be a challenge!
Finding the right ingredients for icing your sugar-free cake can be a challenge! | Source

Icing a Sugar-free Cake

The most challenging part of making a sugar-free cake is finding a way to make an icing or frosting. Luckily, carrot cake traditionally comes topped with soft cheese and on its own this makes an acceptable topping. You can use a low-fat variety if keeping fat levels low is important.

Natural Topping Sweeteners

To make the topping more frosting-like you can a small amount of a natural sweetener. It’s best to experiment a bit to see which you prefer. I like to use either baobab or lacuma powders. These are a low-glycemic powders made from the fruit of the African baobab tree or the South America lacuma tree. Both have many health benefits. The drawback with baobab in particular is that it is not always readily available and is fairly expensive. However, both powders last a long time because you only need a small quantity.

One advantage to using a powder is that this keeps the topping firm. With the other suggested sweeteners the cream cheese topping can sometimes become a little runny, so it’s best to make the it in advance and let it firm up in the fridge.

Other natural sweeteners you could use are: vanilla extract, applesauce or honey. (Recent studies suggest small quantities of honey do not raise blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes.)

Another option is to make some extra date puree and use that in the frosting. This will probably not be as smooth as the other options, but will taste just as good!

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hour 20 min
Yields: approximately 12 slices

No-Added Sugar Carrot Cake Ingredients

  • 190 grams/6oz dates/1 cup
  • 250gram/9 oz/1 ½ cups flour (wholemeal or spelt, unsifted volume)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 240ml/8 fluid oz/1 cup sunflower oil (corn oil is suitable substitute)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 340grams/12 oz/2 cups carrots (the cup measure is for carrots that have been grated or shredded in a food processor and is the volume when packed)

Optional Ingredients

  • 120 grams/4 oz/1 cup chopped walnuts (it’s also nice with some ground almonds, as much or little as you fancy)
  • Whole walnuts to decorate

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 x 225 gram/8 oz pack of cream cheese, any variety. (Mascarpone cheese is also good, though pricey so best kept for special occasions.)

Any ONE of the following:

  • 1 tablespoon boabab or lacuma powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely pureed dates (just add an extra 4 dates when preparing those for the cake and reserve one tablespoon for the topping.)
  • 1 dessert spoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of applesauce


Oven temperature: 180°C/160°Fan oven/350°F/Gas mark 4.

1) Cover dates in water, and boil while you get on with the rest of cake.

(Alternately you can cover them with boiling water and leave to soak for several hours until soft.)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cook the dates. (These dates have been chopped, but you don’t need to do that.) Line the tin with greaseproof paper, and then grease it with oil or butter. Beat the eggs. Pour wet ingredients into dry.Adding the carrots.Mix thoroughly. Pour into the cake pan. The top of the cake may crack slightly.
Cook the dates. (These dates have been chopped, but you don’t need to do that.)
Cook the dates. (These dates have been chopped, but you don’t need to do that.) | Source
Line the tin with greaseproof paper, and then grease it with oil or butter.
Line the tin with greaseproof paper, and then grease it with oil or butter. | Source
Beat the eggs.
Beat the eggs. | Source
Pour wet ingredients into dry.
Pour wet ingredients into dry. | Source
Adding the carrots.
Adding the carrots. | Source
Mix thoroughly.
Mix thoroughly. | Source
Pour into the cake pan.
Pour into the cake pan. | Source
The top of the cake may crack slightly.
The top of the cake may crack slightly. | Source

2) Grease an 8 inch/20 cm cake tin, and line with baking parchment, making it higher than the sides of the tin. (This helps prevent the cake burning on top.)

3) In a large bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, soda and cinnamon. Add nuts if you are using them.

4) Beat the eggs (this is easiest with an electric beater, but a whisk will do.)

5) Grate the carrots.

6) The dates should be ready now, so remove them from the heat and puree till smooth.

7) Add all wet ingredients - the carrots, eggs, oil and dates - to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

8) Pour into the baking tin and bake for 45 - 55 minutes. To check it is ready, insert a skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is ready; if the skewer has cake mixture sticking to it, it needs to cook for longer.

Tip: all ovens vary in how fast they cook, so it’s best to check the cake after the shorter time and leave in for longer if necessary. Do this quickly so the oven doesn’t cool.

9) Leave the cake to cool for around 5 minutes and then turn onto a wire tray. Leave it to cool completely before adding the topping.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

To Make the Topping

  1. Beat the cream cheese till smooth.
  2. If using sweetener, add it to the cheese and beat till thoroughly mixed in.
  3. Spread on the cake. (It will not to completely smooth.)
  4. Decorate with walnuts if you are using them.

Approximate values per 100 gram slice (makes 12 slices.)

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 100
Calories 347
Calories from Fat225
% Daily Value *
Fat 25 g38%
Saturated fat 6 g30%
Carbohydrates 28 g9%
Sugar 11 g
Fiber 4 g16%
Protein 6 g12%
Cholesterol 63 mg21%
Sodium 185 mg8%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Other recipes using dates instead of sugar

Oil-Free Variation

if you want a low fat cake, you can simply omit the oil. We discovered this by accident when my daughter made the cake and forgot to add oil. The texture is more sponge-like, and it won't keep quite so long, but it tastes just fine.


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Comments 31 comments

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This looks great especially since I'm trying to diet. Do you think I could use almond or brown rice flour?

LaThing profile image

LaThing 3 years ago from From a World Within, USA

I have started to cut down on sugar intake and this recipe will work great for my family. We love carrot cake and I haven't made one recently..... Thanks for sharing. Voting up and useful....

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Susan, I’m pretty sure I have made it with almond flour in the past and it was fine. I haven’t tried rice flour so I’m not so sure about that. The texture might be too heavy, but I could be wrong! (If you want to reduce the calories more could try a little less oil.)

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

LaThing, I’m glad this will be useful for your family. I have quite a few “sugar-free” recipes because I try to limit my family’s intake too.

Thanks for the vote up!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I love carrot cake....the messier the better. :) No sugar? I'm willing to try anything once. Thanks for the recipe, Yvonne!

summerberrie 3 years ago

I love carrot cake. Especially the frosting. This sounds like a healthy winner for the Easter holiday and the spring season.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

no sugar carrot cake..hmm gotta try it gave it a five star :)

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

A wonderful recipe which I vote up and save ;have a great day.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I love carrot cake...having some this weekend and really looking forward to it!

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

carrot cake and no this is like a half n half cream topping on top..loved the recipe, Melovy.


Sheri Faye profile image

Sheri Faye 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

That sounds like a yummy and fairly guilt free treat. I will try it!

livingsta profile image

livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

This sounds interesting Melovy. I have made dates and carrot cake in the past, where I chopped off dates finely and added to the cake mixture. That cake still required extra sugar. I like it's taste and it is healthy compared to other cakes.

This one with pureed dates sounds interesting, will definitely give it a try when I next bake one. Thank you for sharing this.

Votes up, pinning and sharing!

Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

Mmmmm - I need this recipe! I can indulge in sweets more than I should, so it is wonderful to know how to make a delicious dessert with no extra sugar!

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Who knew that you could make a delicious carrot cake recipe that is also sugar free? Thanks for the great recipe!

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Bill, I guarantee you won't miss the sugar! Thanks for your comment.

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Summerberrie, the frosting was the most challenging part to get right, but this one is definitely tasty. Thanks for popping by!

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Frank Atanacio,


Realhousewife, thanks for your comments and hope you enjoy this cake as much as we do!

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Ruchira, you could probably use cream instead of the cream cheese topping and it would still be great. It's one of my favourite recipes and I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Sherri Faye, I also like that it's guilt free!

Thanks for your comments!

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Livingsta, I haven't tried carrot cake with chopped dates, but I think this would come out differently, yes. I often use dates instead of sugar in baking and have successfully fed this to my children's friends, which is a pretty good test I think!

Thanks very much for sharing!

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Marcy, and Randomcreative, indulge away!

Sugar free and guilt-free!

rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

A little less sugar in our lives is a good thing! This looks amazing. I will definitely have to try this. Thanks for sharing.

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

rose-the-planner, a little less sugar is definitely one of my mottos. I work on the theory that if I avoid it in baking as much as possible then it's okay to have the occasional cake when eating out. Hope you enjoy this cake - it really is tasty.

ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 3 years ago from Chennai, India

An engaging recipe! I admire your novel idea of using pureed dates as a healthy substitute for refined sugar. Easy-to-follow instructions and drool-worthy photos make me want to give it a try. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up, pinned & shared

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Ishwaryaa, sorry I didn't reply sooner, I must have missed your comment. Hope you enjoy this. I very often use pureed dates instead of sugar, and several of my recipes on here have them. I'll link them up.

Thanks very much for your comment and for sharing.

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Ah Ha! Sweetened with pureed dates ! How clever! I might try this as a loaf cake with no icing! Thanks!

Melovy profile image

Melovy 2 years ago from UK Author

It would work great as a loaf Rebecca!

Nancy Owens profile image

Nancy Owens 2 years ago from USA

I love carrot cake and this sounds delish! I shared and pinned for future reference.

Melovy profile image

Melovy 2 years ago from UK Author

Hope you enjoy it Nancy. I love this cake. Thanks for your comment and for pinning.

sheilamarie78 profile image

sheilamarie78 16 months ago

I like the idea of using dates as a sweetener. Sounds great.

renee21 profile image

renee21 15 months ago

Great hub!

Els 3 months ago

Ive tried a sugar free carrot cake before and it was a disaster. Pleased to say that your recipe is brilliant and produced a fabulous cake! My friends all loved it and wouldn't have guessed it didn't have added sugar. Thank you!

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