These healthier Carrot Cake Bars are low in sugar per serving, high in protein and contain veggies! Yes, veggies.
Yes! For all you carrot cake lovers out there, this is right up your alley! I must confess that I haven’t been a fan of carrot cake which some people may sense as weird. However, I definitely enjoyed these, although I didn’t enjoy the thought of giving them away.
The main ingredients in these yummy treats are carrots, zucchini, walnuts and dates! And of course to top it up, I used a Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting for more smoothness and extra protein. These carrot cake bars may have a lot going on in regards to the ingredients, but the outcome is indeed rewarding.
While making these bad boys, I chose to mainly focus on three things. The first thing was maintaining a moderately low sugar content without omitting the sweetness. Actually to be blunt, I wanted to make sure it didn’t taste like a soaked sponge, because ewe! It was tricky trying to moderate the sugar, but since these carrot cake bars contain a variety of ingredients, I was able to rely mainly on the natural sugars from the carrots, zucchini and dates.
Secondly, the texture was another point of focus because let’s face it, texture is everything. You don’t want your cake dry like a boring documentary or too moist like cat food. The trick to achieving the perfect texture in these carrot cake bars is to squeeze out the excess moisture from the shredded carrots and the zucchini. These vegetables preserve a lot of moisture and could cause delay in baking time or s soggy-ish texture if the moisture isn’t properly squeezed out. You can use a paper towel or your good old trusted hands to squeeze these wonderful veggies.
Finally, I focused on the protein, not because I wanted to make this is a protein recipe, but to make it as versatile as possible. With the addition of the walnuts and the Greek yogurt frosting, these carrot cake bars could make a great post workout treat! If you’re strength or weight training, then these would be a great treat to try. Why not eat some cake to grow your cakes?
I will also be catering these as well and will update them on my catering page. Happy hump day!
INGREDIENTS: yields 12 servings
1 1/2 cups light spelt flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 free range eggs (beaten)
2 large shredded carrots
1 medium shredded zucchini
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 cup light brown sugar (or coconut brown sugar)
1/4 cup pure honey (optional, taste your batter)
1/2 cup chopped dates (pitted)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts pieces
1 eight ounce package softened Greek yogurt cream cheese (I used President’s Choice)
3/4 cup organic powdered sugar
1.5 tsp. lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9×5 baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Shred zucchini and carrots into a large bowl and squeeze out the excess moisture using a paper towel. Set aside in a large bowl which you will use to combine your wet ingredients.
3. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. Combine remaining wet ingredients in the carrot zucchini bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined.
4. Spread batter into the baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. When ready, let it cool completely for about 45 minutes to an hour before frosting.
5. To make the frosting, combine all frosting ingredients in a bowl and mix. Frost as desired and cut into bars.
*Note: To make things quicker, you can make the carrot cake bars the night before. Just place it on a cooling rack and cover with parchment paper. Leave at room temperature and frost the next day. These preserve for about one week in the refrigerator.