Traybake time: Lighter carrot cake recipe

Lighter carrot cake recipe low fat low sugar pineapple

The weather’s been lovely and warm here, and once the heat is on I naturally gravitate towards lighter bites and don’t want my treats to be too rich or stodgy, so I’ve come up with a recipe that swaps out some of the refined sugar and oil in this cake batter with tinned fruit. I had a few carrots at the bottom of the fridge that needed using up, and decided to have a go at making a slightly healthier version of carrot cake for snacking on throughout the week.

There’s also an optional thin yogurt glaze on the top instead of a thick cream cheese icing, or you could just leave the cake plain if you prefer.

Lighter carrot cake traybake recipe

Makes 12 slices.


  • 2 medium eggs
  • 125g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 30ml sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 120g tinned pineapple pieces (in own juice, drained weight)
  • 200g carrots, drained and coarsely grated
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

For the yogurt glaze icing (optional):

  • 75g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Greek style yogurt

Substitutions for hard to find ingredients

If you can’t get tinned pineapple pieces, tinned crushed pineapple is even better. You could also use tinned fruit salad in its own juice, tinned peaches or apple puree.

No self raising flour? Use plain flour with 2 teaspoons of baking powder added to it instead.

If you can’t find light brown muscovado sugar, use soft brown sugar instead, or a mixture of white sugar and dark brown sugar.


  • Preheat the oven to 180 C / 160 C fan oven / Gas Mark 4.
  • Grease an 18cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.
  • Beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil together well, until light and fluffy.
  • Thoroughly chop up the pineapple pieces and mix into the egg mixture along with the grated carrot.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and the spices on top of the egg mixture, then mix well.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool completely before adding the optional yogurt glaze icing.
  • To make the yogurt glaze, whisk the yogurt thoroughly into the icing sugar then drizzle over the cake to create a thin layer on the top. Leave to set for at least an hour.
  • Cut into 12 slices and serve.

The easiest way to make this recipe is in a food processor that has a grater attachment, but it’s still quick and simple enough to do by hand.

Avoid food waste: keep the juice that you strain off the pineapple and add it to ice lollies, smoothies and cocktails.

If you want to increase the fruit content of this cake even more, try adding a small handful of raisins or sultanas to the batter before cooking. You could also add a few chopped pecans to the cake mixture to make it more filling.

The non-iced version of this cake can be frozen.

Next time I make it I’ll try using wholemeal plain flour, although we can’t get hold of that too readily around here at the moment. I’ll come back update the recipe if I manage to make a wholemeal version anytime soon.


This makes a lovely light cake that’s perfect with a cup of tea, and contains a fair amount of hidden fruit and vegetables without compromising on the taste. Let me know if you make this recipe.


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