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Sugarfree Carrot Cake without strange ingredients like "applesauce"

I am looking for a easy recipe for carrot cake without sugar.

But I have a problem. Most recipes I found, involves strange ingredients like applesauce, dade purree, honey, pineapple sauce and more.

I just want a completely basic carrot cake recipe. With no unordinery ingredients. Using either Stevia or Splenda as a sweetener. But the rest should be just standard ingrediens like flour, nuts, carrot and butter etc.

Can someone help me out?

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  1. It sounds like you might want to adapt a spice cake recipe by adding carrots and walnuts. If you want to cut sugar carbs, you really don't want to use granular Splenda, which is bulked up with high glycemic carbs. Xylitol tastes a lot better, is natural and will bulk and moisturize like real sugar. And you might want to try white carbalose flour in place of regular to further lower carbs if that is your overall goal. The cake in this recipe could be made with Diabetisweet brown sugar substitute, the only decent tasting one I've ever found. I buy it online at netrition.com, along with granular xylitol and carbalose flour. Frost or not as you wish. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    1. I suggest you post this on the Special Diets thread. Also, I have to say that I don't find applesauce strange in the context of a moist cake.

      http://tinyurl.com/8kwyvgy Low carb carrot cake

      Here is a low carb carrot cake which uses crushed pineapple instead of applesauce to create moistness. You will notice that almond meal is subbed for flour, to cut down carbs. For recipes particularly designed to use Splenda or other artificial sweeeteners, I'd check the mfg. web sites where recipes should be posted.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        I think the OP may not want the fruit in there. And both pineapple and apple sauce are concentrated sources of sugar... I'm not sure if the poster is after low carb or not, given the choice of flour and carrots.

        1. re: mcf

          Agreed, but the cake is described as low carb. It does use artificial sweetener and almond meal. Not sure there is a perfect combo here.

          1. re: mcf

            Bobby Deen has a carrot cake recipe with no sugar- apple butter and canola oil; there are others out there that use a banana and orange juice. If I have a chance to bake one I'll let you know.

            1. re: elrectanus

              Apple butter, oj and bananas are very highly concentrated sources of sugars.

        2. Hi Ramius,

          Lots of expert posters precede me on this board. What are you going for "sugar free" (of course, no cake is 100% sugar free); however, as mcf said we can help more if we know who you're cooking for! Are you just looking to cut back on sugar, or are you looking to make a dessert for a diabetic? Cheers!

          1. No offense meant, but I'm trying to get my head around the notion that applesauce is in any way "weird" or un-ordinary. Or odd as a carrot cake ingredient, even, since it's pretty common to recipes I've seen. The suggestion that the OP might be looking for a low-carb, fruit-free alternative, however, would rule it out, but however good a sweetening job xylitol might do it'll take a lot of extra carrot to give it the moisture that applesauce or pineapple provide.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Will Owen

              My presumption, based upon his intention to use stevia and Splenda, was that adding fruit wasn't on his agenda, though it may be on yours or mine. Adding plenty of oil (my favorite recipe does both, pineapple and plenty of oil) moistens the heck out of it, too, with our without fruit.

            2. I'd think Splenda to be a more unordinary ingredient than honey in many parts of the world where my relatives live, but that's appropos of nothing.

              The following recipe adds recipes that are standard to many carrot cake recipes--like raisins--and omits the more exotic pineapple sauce, dates, and applesauce. However, you may feel free to modify to meet your tastes, or to continue your search.


              1. I would suggest something like this:
                referring to the Splenda site regarding subbing for sugar.

                13 Replies
                1. re: maxie

                  Thats not sugar free?
                  I could always try to just change sugar for splenda in a standard recipe. But I rather find a specially made recipe for using artificial sweetener instead.

                  Has anyone tried stevia in cakes before?

                  1. re: Ramius

                    sugar helps hold the structure of a cake. just subbing out some other sweetener isn't a 1-for-1 solution.

                    carrot cake is an american cake. applesauce is a common replacement for fat in cakes -- here in america. it's easily made by simmering some apples in water til soft, then draining and mashing them.

                    pineapples are a frequent addition to this cake too -- here in the us.

                    if you don't get answers you like, may i suggest google? although none of us ever ate your contentious mystery pizza, i dare say most of us have had carrot cake.



                    these came up immediately on the google.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      "sugar helps hold the structure of a cake. just subbing out some other sweetener isn't a 1-for-1 solution."

                      It is with xylitol. Moisturizes and bulks just like sugar, IME.

                      1. re: mcf

                        happy to defer to you on this, having never used the stuff. wondering if the op considers it a "weird" ingredient, though?

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          Hard to say, the OP may be just a tad persnickety, or have a hard time getting certain ingredients. Xylitol is the only one that bulks and moisturizes like sugar, but it's only 40% less carbs than sugar, so I often will cut it 50/50 with liquid sucralose (which gives me an awful bad taste and mouth feel if I use it alone). No loss of quality, so far.

                          1. re: mcf

                            Does the xylitol maintain its laxative effect when used in baking? It's a no-go for me in candy, as the effects are potent and fast.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              I was going to post the same thing but you beat me to it. Not everyone responds to xylitol (or other sugar alcohols) that way, but for those who do, the effects really are unpleasant!

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                It depends on whether you're a metabolizer or not. My family and I only get the effect if it's a huge amount, like a replacement for confectioner's sugar in cream cheese frosting (which I will NOT be repeating), but not in routine use as in a cake or cookies. If you don't metabolize it, you get the ill effects, but I seem to metabolize it unless I get a huge amount, then I don't metabolize it all. Some folks are VERY sugar alchohol sensitive and that does not go away with baking.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  It takes about 3 pieces of candy in an entire day to send me speed-walking down the hall....so it sounds like I'll be better off with moderation as my limit!

                                  (I have no metabolic/diabetic issues, just a tendency toward the Rubenesque...)

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    The thing that does that to me is sunchokes or Sweet Perfection sweetener. I think both are high in inulin.

                        2. re: hotoynoodle

                          carrot cake is also typically made with oil. It's not a butter-based cake (although I'm
                          such recipes exist they are not typical). It does sound to me like OP is looking for something specific perhaps so specific as to be his or her own invention. Please experiment away but don't get so angry that what you imagine to be carrot cake does not exist yet.

                        3. re: Ramius

                          Your best bet may be experimentation. I don't believe you are going to get a satisfactory answer here for a number of reasons. Perhaps you can contact the artificial sweetener companies. Surely they have a stockpile of recipes highlighting usage of their product.

                      2. What the hell do you mean by "carrot cake without sugar"?

                        Even if you use a sugar substitute, there will still be sugar in your carrot cake ... you know that right? Because, last I checked the GMO folks still have not found a way to grow a sugar-free carrot.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          flour is a simple carb too -- body reacts like it would to table sugar. however, i do think the op means "added" sugar.

                        2. where do you live that honey and applesauce are strange and difficult to obtain?

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: sunshine842

                            I'm from the UK and applesauce is a strange ingredient to me - even having it as one word is unfamiliar. I've seen it as an ingredient in american recipes, but to me it's a recipe in itself, not one generic thing. Easy to make though, obviously.

                            1. re: gembellina

                              but doesn't it exist as apple puree or apple compote? I know I bought it whilst in the UK on hols last summer in a small town, which would lead me to believe it's not rare or exotic (and it certainly wasn't hard to find -- I wasn't even looking for it; just looking for things for picnic lunches.)

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                It exists as a condiment, usually eaten with roast pork. It does come in jars in the supermarket but it would be along with the mustard etc which I think is why it's unfamiliar as a baking ingredient.

                                1. re: gembellina

                                  it's sold in the fruit aisle in the US (and here on the continent) -- so it's not specifically for use as a baking ingredient -- but it does an admirable job of substituting for some of the fat and sugar in "regular" recipes while still leaving things moist and tender.

                                  I use it to make homemade granola - after a Nigella Lawson recipe.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    I've been looking at some recipes since reading this thread and I quite like the idea - especially something with spices, raisins, nuts etc.

                                    1. re: gembellina

                                      Good luck -- I think you'll like it. (I also saw that Sainsbury's carries unsweetened apple puree, should you not want to make your own).

                                      1. re: gembellina

                                        Yes "applesauce cake" (like what you describe) is actually its own thing and may predate its use as a fat substitute - I can't say for sure but I suspect so. Not all versions are low-fat even. A lot of these things were invented to use up preserves people had after canning season. Then the low fat era came along and people started putting applesauce into all kinds of cake and muffin recipes. Then low carb I guess and you get further bastardization. On one point I have to agree with OP - I would not choose a carrot cake recipe with applesauce in it. Pineapple however I consider a standard ingredient in the kind of carrot cake I like (raisins, nuts, oil-based, etc).

                            2. I have no idea if this is what you're looking for, but since you are willing to use flour and butter, I'm assuming you don't want low carb or low fat. If I were you, I would try a yeast bread using cooked, pureed carrots as the liquid and enriching the dough with eggs. The carrots would add some sweetness without sugar and if you use enough butter, you might wind up with a nice brioche-like texture. I would definitely eat that!

                              1. Theoretical question here. If I take a normal recipe for carrot cake, where there is around 2 desiliters of sugar. Can I replace all that with one tablespoon of stevia? Or won´t that work somehow?

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Ramius

                                  Stevia is a tricky ingredient. Since it is plant based, the sweetness level can vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. I've purchased liquid stevia that required a full teaspoon to sweeten coffee and I've purchased liquid stevia that would sweeten coffee with just a drop or two. I've tried powdered stevia that was very powerful as a sweetener but had a horrible herbal/bitter aftertaste, and I've tried powdered stevia that was barely sweet at all. If you have a brand that you like, by all means try it - but your finished product WILL NOT have the same texture as a cake made with sugar, even if you get the sweetness level right. Sugar does more than just sweeten in baked goods.

                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                    I've apparently only ever managed to find the bitter/herbal aftertaste...by the third day of grimacing every time I took a swallow of coffee, I threw the box out.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      Yeah, I've never found a stevia that didn't add a flavor of its own in addition to sweetness. I don't mind it so much in savory dishes, since you generally only use a touch and other strong flavors cover up the aftertaste, but in sweets and especially in coffee I find it revolting.

                                  2. re: Ramius

                                    I think not.A few conversion tips and bits of information.

                                    SUGAR......cane or beet,granulated white,light brown or dark is a MODIFIED LIQUID ...................
                                    IT DISSOLVES or MELTS you need to take into account more than just the sweet or caloric properties.There are textural,moisture values to replace with something.Unsweetened apple sauce,unsweetened pumpkin or yam/sweet potato or maybe even carrot puree are good options to start with.Likely less,not by equal volume.

                                    the volume measure of sugar = tare weight of sugar
                                    US 1 cup volume = weight 7oz or 200g

                                  3. Splenda has a traditional carrot cake recipe, why not just use that?

                                    Yes, it has pineapple, but I've never made a carrot cake without pineapple so they didn't add it in just because they are using splenda instead of sugar, Pineapple is a traditional ingredient in carrot cake.

                                    Also, they use oil and not butter. I think most "regular" carrot cake recipes use oit and not butter. So this looks pretty traditional to me except for splenda instead of sugar.

                                    27 Replies
                                    1. re: Jpan99

                                      Exactly - I knew this was probably out there but the OP seems to have very specific ideas.

                                      1. re: Jpan99

                                        Pineapple is a traditional ingredient in American carrot cake. It's not made that way in the UK, and presumably not in wherever the OP is from either. I did find one BBC recipe that uses pineapple and it's billed as having exotic, Caribbean flavours! So I can understand why the OP thinks it's odd.

                                        1. re: gembellina

                                          If this is indicative of carrot cake eaten in Norway, yes, it's quite different from American.


                                          You could nix the pineapple and add more nuts

                                          1. re: gembellina

                                            Thank you!!
                                            Its so typical of many american recipes to just LOAD the product full of different strange products.

                                            When some of these recipes includes both apple sauce, pineapple, carrot, and perhaps even a fourth fruit, it can´t possibly taste carrot at all.

                                            A carrot cake is a cake made with carrots. Its not a pineapple cake. That simple. If both ingredients were used, then its a Carrot and Pinapple Cake. Which is something entirely different.

                                            1. re: Ramius

                                              Based on this thread, I think the term "different strange products" has several interpretations...

                                              1. re: Ramius

                                                Well, I'm not sure that's exactly what I was saying! Just that there are interpretations of recipes that are very traditional in one place and very strange in another - the point being that it works both ways!

                                                1. re: Ramius

                                                  Yannow, I could just end this line of discussion by mentioning lutefisk.

                                                  They're not "different strange products," they're foods that are common and readily available here.

                                                  By LOADS, I'll just assume you mean we have more variety than you do.

                                                  1. re: Ramius

                                                    what is strange and different to YOU is not strange in other places, as you were rather quick and sharp to point out.

                                                    American carrot cake traditionally has pineapple. If that's not traditional to where YOU are that's fine, but that doesn't make it strange. Just different.

                                                    And different doesn't mean bad or good, or better or worse. Just different.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      I did some looking yesterday and found the "pineapple" option doesn't have much if any history in carrot cake before the 80's and it was slim then,certainly not as deep as apple sauce.

                                                      1. re: lcool

                                                        that's 30 years....that's more than a generation, and longer than some of the folks on this board have been breathing.

                                                        It doesn't change the fact that different is just different -- it doesn't inherently mean bad.

                                                        (I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean by "certainly not as deep as applesauce", so I can't comment on that.)

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          I'm old and my menu,food history and cookbook collection spans more than a century,3 or more generations.In the US,first the egg was evil,then all fat was a villain next sugar is a sin without a sense of balance.The number of baking recipes corrupted for a while in the name of remove ? to make it "healthy" abound.The willy nilly removal this or that evil ingredient and replace it with apple sauce was common.Often by home bakers with little or experience for the sense of "why" the basic ratios work
                                                          It was the magic bullet with bran and on the shelf everywhere and frequently about as much fun to eat the result as bullets or hockey pucks.It took some time for big corporate food and their test kitchens to get in the game and get something on the shelf.Dole or DelMonte couldn't let Motts etc get the entire market,so enters pineapple.

                                                          1. re: lcool

                                                            What I´m trying to say is that my principal is to cherish the ingredients. Keep it simple.

                                                            That means, let the carrot shine in a carrot cake. Don´t divert attention away from the taste with other fruits and vegetables.

                                                            I suppose the argument is that this fruit gives moisture, while that fruit gives sweetness, and that sauce gives roundness etc. And you could go on forever that way.

                                                            But when a carrot cake has both pinapple, apple sauce, coconut, cinnamon and walnuts in it. I really see no other way than calling this a fruit cake. Not a carrot cake.

                                                            Its always about simplicity. Pick and use your ingredients wisely, and let them keep their identity. Thats always been the key in cooking for hundreds of years. And now most recognized dishes around the world are mixed with a very refined selection of flavours.

                                                            If its not absolutely neccessary, then leave it out.

                                                            1. re: Ramius

                                                              Yet you are pushing just as hard for change to the classic.A cake that evolved from a long history of basic spice cakes and the ready availability of flour as we know it.
                                                              ALL and I repeat ALL the recipes I looked at spanning 50 years,UK and US have some measure,combination of cinnamon,nutmeg or cloves and some LEVEL of dark SUGAR.All but 2 of over 25 give a measure of chopped nuts,fine to coarse and use the word OPTIONAL as an ingredient.
                                                              Now I ask,with your changes,choices of no dark sugar or spices,"what shall you call your cake ?".Does it have a NEW name or title?
                                                              Here I'll assume your elimination of cane or beet sugar is for calorie or other health reasons,perhaps incorrectly.You are pursuing the same thing that the advent of apple sauce and pineapple puree were.The reduction of another ingredient that wasn't perceived "as healthy" etc,replaced by something with less ( ? ) for nutritive,health or caloric reasons not just moisture.

                                                              1. re: Ramius

                                                                "That means, let the carrot shine in a carrot cake. Don´t divert attention away from the taste with other fruits and vegetables."

                                                                Most of us aren't eating carrot cake for the vegetable flavor. :-)

                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                  Haha quite right, no amount of cream cheese frosting would make me want to eat a carrot cake that was recognisably carroty!

                                                                2. re: Ramius

                                                                  While I'll be the first to agree that this is the umpty-leventh time I've referred someone to Food Timeline today --

                                                                  taking a look here: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcakes...

                                                                  would show you that honey has been used in carrot cake since the 10th century, nutmeg and spice since the 17th, almonds off and on throughout the centuries, raisins every once in a while, orange peel, orange juice, potato (!!), and any number of different types of chopped nuts.

                                                                  Please take the Arabs and the British to task for bastardizing carrot cake, though -- because the article states that it didn't become mainstream in the US until well into the 20th century.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    The potato isn't a surprise,flour was a luxury for many centuries,a high starch potato,riced sort of dry was often an ingredient,IE some of the earliest "flourless"
                                                                    A handy trick when you want "Kosher for Passover" without relying 100% on nuts for dessert.

                                                                  2. re: Ramius

                                                                    When I think of carrot cake, it always comes back to this classic, published in the early 1980s in the Silver Palate Cookbook.


                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                              Never heard of pineapple being traditional in carrot cake, and never had one made at a home that contained it when I lived in New England.

                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                "traditional" is a slippery slope, but i have worked for several high-end steak house chains whose carrot cakes included pineapple. <shrugs>

                                                                1. re: escondido123


                                                                  I think it's in there at least half the time, based upon a lifetime of making and eating it. My recipe is old, don't know where it's from, by it contains crushed pineapple.

                                                              2. re: Ramius

                                                                While that Norwegian version doesn't put pineapple in the cake, they use pineapple flavored cream cheese for the frosting. So is that "strange" to you?

                                                                Nothing strange about nuts, pineapple or raisins in a carrot cake. The bulk of the cake is grated carrots. The other items enhance the flavor, add moisture and texture to what would be, in my opinion, a very plain cake. I believe the addition of apple sauce to a cake recipe is fairly recent as it adds moisture and lets you reduce the oil/fat in a recipe which is what a lot of people are looking for these days.

                                                                1. re: Jpan99

                                                                  That is a good idea! I saw the recipe earlier but didn't recognize that ingredient for cream cheese. Cream cheese frosting is usually too sweet for me so pineapple would be a welcome addition.

                                                                2. re: Ramius

                                                                  so what's with the orange pineapple cream cheese frosting in your recipe link?

                                                                  i have never eaten reindeer or whale, although i understand them not to be out of place on a norwegian table. however, i don't regard them as "weird" simply because they may be foreign to me.

                                                                  strange board behavior to ask for help yet basically dismiss all suggestions out-of-hand. have you never cooked and modified a recipe on your own? if you don't want pineapple in the cake, no one is making it mandatory.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                    Reindeer is good. But i´ve never eaten whale. I don´t know anyone who has either.

                                                                  2. re: Ramius

                                                                    I think you'll find people here actually love to learn about other food traditions and discuss these differences - given the right tone of discussion.
                                                                    Oh and it does taste like carrot. And also, delicious. But I gather you're not interested to hear that.
                                                                    If you're only interested in recipes of a certain origin, I bet chowhounders can also point in the direction of websites with more English & European recipes, or help you refine your seach skills. While Splenda is an English invention, it seems it was developed for market by Johnson and Johnson, so perhaps it's not surprising Splenda recipes are often American.
                                                                    You get many helpful responses here. I'm not sure why, frankly.

                                                              3. Maybe carrot muffins would be less sweet and more "carroty" -- many recipes online.
                                                                I love these
                                                                but I can taste both carrots and peanuts.
                                                                Or these

                                                                    1. re: Ramius

                                                                      Nice looking! What was your sugar free solution?

                                                                    2. They are now making stevia for general distribution in the US as Truvia or Pervia (I think.) Those sites should offer carrot cake recipes. Please know that not all stevia products are alike in taste or potency and some have after tastes. I never use green stevia only white for cooking and for sweetening. I buy mine on the Web in larger sizes. For using in tea or coffee I have been pleased with "Stevia in th Raw" when on the run- it comes in packets. While it is less sweet than my regular brand I use one whole packet in my mug and it's fine. I haven't baked with Splenda but have had good results in the past. I think this product may be a closer as a sugar substitutes in regard to interactions that develop flavor.On the bag it tells you what the ratio is- think it's a one to match to sugar. You can use your favorite carrot cake recipe.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: elrectanus

                                                                        Truvia is half erythritol, I believe.

                                                                        1. re: elrectanus

                                                                          I think all of those things taste awful.
                                                                          I'd rather just eat some carrots.

                                                                          1. re: magiesmom

                                                                            Stevia is not for everyone. I've been using it for years and am very pleased with it. If it's good stevia product you only need a little. As to the ingredients in the store bought products, I haven't use them for a long time so would have to read the packages.