A healthier take on a seasonal classic – Pineapple Carrot Cake! Your guests will not believe this is made healthier. Using whole grain flour, greek yogurt, pineapple and a delicious greek yogurt cream cheese frosting. This carrot cake is loved by so many!
This post was originally published April 2017, but has been updated with new photos and more directions April 2020. Same delicious recipe!
TWENTY FOUR CARROT MAGIC IN THE AAIIIRRRR
“Head to toe soul player (look out).”
I just got side-tracked with all things Bruno Mars for about 20 minutes… Mainly the carpool karaoke with James. And then on the Ellen DeGeneres Show… The world wide web is a rabbit hole. Oh my gosh I am killing it with the carrot/rabbit connections right now.
Alright, alright – So what are we here chatting about today? CARROT CAKE. But not just any carrot cake…
Delicious Greek Yogurt Pineapple Carrot Cake
Does anyone else think carrot cake is underrated? I will admit, it might not be my all-time favorite cake but it is damn good. There is just something about how all of the ingredients come together in this pineapple carrot cake that is unlike any other.
I have a friend who loves carrot cake (let’s just say this friend isn’t the “healthiest” eater) and he really loves this cake.
In this particular (healthier) recipe we’ve got whole grains, Greek yogurt for added moisture, pineapple for extra sweetness, and a cream cheese Greek yogurt frosting that is most definitely… not optional.
I’m fairly certain that carrot cake without a frosting is against the rules.
Ingredients You Need
- whole wheat pastry flour (or half regular AP/ half whole wheat)
- baking soda & salt – the leavening agent and salt balances flavor.
- carrot cake spices – ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves.
- granulated sugar – brown or coconut will have the best flavor here.
- oil – for added moisture and keeps the cake soft. You can use avocado, coconut oil (melted/cooled), or olive oil works too.
- Greek yogurt – this replaces some of the oil but also plays a part in keeping the cake moist. We’re also using it in the cream cheese frosting!
- eggs – a staple in many cake recipes. They add structure and stability.
- crushed pineapple – a delicious addition to this carrot cake. Adds sweetness as well as some moisture.
- grated carrots – I like grated carrots here for little bits that blend well into the batter.
- chopped walnuts – walnuts in carrot cake is essentially an unwritten rule.
- cream cheese & confectioners sugar – for the frosting, of course.
You can make this cake by hand!
This cake comes together very easily by hand – you don’t need an electric mixer to make the cake batter. (Though it comes in handy for the frosting!)
And the cake bakes fairly quickly too, less than 40 minutes!
Step 1 – dry ingredients
In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients, flour through spices. Set aside.
Step 2 – wet ingredients
In a large bowl whisk together sugar and oil until combined, then whisk in yogurt until combined. Add eggs one at a time until fully combined.
Step 3 – combine
Gently fold dry ingredients to large bowl of wet ingredients, until just combined. Then add in crushed pineapple, grated carrots, and lastly crushed walnuts, gently stirring until everything comes together.
Step 4 – bake
Pour carrot cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. Watch your oven to make sure you don’t over-bake. Check for doneness with inserted toothpick until the center comes out clean.
Step 5 – the frosting
Allow the cake to cool completely before preparing the cream cheese frosting.
In large bowl using beaters or paddle stand mixer attachment, beat together softened cream cheese and yogurt, then gently add in powdered sugar a little at a time, until light and fluffy. The more powdered sugar you add, the thicker the frosting will be.
Once the frosting is ready and the cake has cooled, spread on the creamy goodness.
Helpful Baking Tips
HAND MIXING VS ELECTRIC – This carrot cake recipe can be stirred together by hand, or easily made in a stand mixer. I’ve made this cake both ways and the batter comes together easily whichever route you choose.
GRATED CARROTS – I will say I would suggest using freshly grated carrots compared to store-bought–they just have a much softer texture. A little grating never hurt nobody (sung to the tune of Fergie).
COOLING – Once the cake has done it’s thing in the oven, it takes about an hour total to cool before you should frost it. And then once it is frosted you can *technically* dig right in 😀
Making this carrot cake for a party?
This cake can be made a day in advance. And the chilled frosting makes the cake easier to cut into 🙂
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rating below! I love hearing from you and it helps others learn more about the recipe too. Xx Ashley
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour*
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1/3 cup oil (avocado, sunflower or olive oil preferably)
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (0%, lowfat or full fat all work)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup canned crushed pineapple (slightly drained)
- 2 cups grated carrots (about 3/4 lb)
- 1 cup crushed walnuts
- 8oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with butter or oil, set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients, flour through spices. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together sugar and oil until combined, then whisk in yogurt until combined. Add eggs one at a time until fully combined. This can also be done in stand mixer with paddle attachment
- Gently fold dry ingredients to large bowl of wet ingredients, until just combined. Then add in crushed pineapple, grated carrots, and lastly crushed walnuts, gently stirring until everything comes together.
- Pour carrot cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Watch your oven to make sure you don’t over-bake. Cover with foil if edges brown too fast. Check for doneness with inserted toothpick coming out with little to no crumbs. Allow cake to cool for a full hour before frosting. (Can also cool in fridge for 30-45 minutes.)
- Prepare the frosting after the cake has cooled: In large bowl using beaters or paddle stand mixer attachment, beat together softened cream cheese and yogurt, then gently add in powdered sugar a little at a time, until light and fluffy. The more powdered sugar you add, the thicker the frosting will be.
- Once the frosting is ready and the cake has cooled, spread on the creamy goodness. Chill cake for 30 minutes before cutting into and serving. Enjoy!
*could likely sub a 1:1 all-purpose GF baking flour if needed. My go-to for this is Bob’s Red Mill. Or sub with half whole wheat, half all-purpose flour.
When draining the pineapple, you can leave some liquid behind, just not all of it.
Cake can be made one day in advance.
Store cake in fridge and enjoy within four to five days.
(Prep time includes cooling time)
- Serving Size: 1/24th
- Calories: 195
- Sugar: 15g
- Sodium: 208mg
- Fat: 10g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Unsaturated Fat: 7g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 4g
- Cholesterol: 33mg