spice cake
Food and Wine

To Your Health with Spice Cake

We all want to become and stay slim and healthy and we know what to put on our plates to do so – vegetables and whole grains. But our taste buds and that inner child within us all keeps saying, ‘I don’t want to eat that stuff. Give me dessert.’

Now, if you will ignore the pun, we can have our cake and eat it too, or, more specifically, get our veggies and whole grain nutrition in the form of a yummy spice cake that has a rich brownie like texture, fragrant, spicy flavor and so few calories that you can have a second piece.

The main ingredients are carrots and whole grain flour. The cake is also vegan, containing no dairy products or eggs. The rich icing that adds guilt and calories to so many desserts has been replaced by a topping of good-for-you coconut.

My guests always enjoy this cake and it disappears quickly at any pot luck. However, you might not want to mention that it’s healthy – at least until after it has been sampled. So, I usually call it Spice Cake. Here is the recipe:


Spice Cake


3 cups water (710 ml)

2 cups sugar (473 ml)

1 pound washed, unpeeled carrots; chopped or grated (1 kg) (See note.)

1 tablespoon oil (15 ml)

3 tablespoons spices (45 ml) (See note.)

2 tablespoons grated coconut (30 ml)

3 cups (710 ml) whole wheat flour

1 heaping teaspoon (5 ml) baking soda


Oil one large oblong baking pan or two small round ones.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Combine in a large pot, the water, sugar, carrots, oil and spices.

Bring ingredients to a boil. Cook for five minutes and cool.

After the mixture has cooled, add the whole wheat flour and baking soda.
Mix well and put batter into the prepared pan(s). Sprinkle with grated coconut.

Bake at 325F for one hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Note: There is no need to peel the carrots. The peel adds fiber, vitamins and minerals. Any hint of bitterness is eliminated by the spices. Ideally a food processor or blender is available to do the grating or chopping. For variety, beets can replace the carrots. Again, do not peel. Just wash and trim.

Additional Note:  For the spices, choose what you like or what you have from among cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and mace. Freshly grated spices, especially the ginger, are ideal, but ground spices work well. If you have a pumpkin pie spice mix, it would also work. I always sneak in a pinch of curry powder. It adds a unique, special and unidentifiable touch of flavor.

Now when friends ask how you stay so trim and shapely, you can honestly reply, “I eat lots of cake.”

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