Moist, easy to stir together, and loaded with the classic flavors you expect from Carrot Cake, these Healthy Carrot Cake Bars are a perfect springtime treat. And: They’re a totally fun way to serve up veggies to the little ones! This post is sponsored by Nellie’s Free Range Eggs.
Carrot Cake Bars
I partnered with Nellie’s Free Range Eggs on this recipe because I love that their eggs add indulgent flavor and protein–and that the company works with small family farmers to produce high quality eggs. We’re friends with many local farmers and have seen firsthand how difficult that path can be, so this I love knowing that buying these eggs helps to support families just like mine.
Which brings us to this recipe. I always think of carrot cake in the spring and I love to play with carrots this time of the year to make treats for my family. We’ve been loving these Carrot Cake Bars, which are simply a lightened up version of classic carrot cake baked in a square baking pan. They have less oil than the classic version, but all of the flavor—and a hefty dose of produce too!
Click HERE to see the full recipe.
Moist Carrot Cake
The key to making moist carrot cake is usually oil, but in this healthier recipe, I use both oil and applesauce to add natural sweetness and flavor, too. The cup and a half of fresh carrots also ensures that the batter stays moist—and they soften nicely when baked into the bars.
In addition to the flavor, I love how easy this recipe is to stir together and get into the oven, especially if you start with store-bought grated carrots!
Ingredients in Carrot Cake Bars
To make this recipe for Carrot Cake Bars, you’ll need:
- grated carrots (either purchased or grated from a whole carrot)
- neutral oil, such as canola
- applesauce (I use unsweetened smooth)
- all-purpose flour or gluten-free cup for cup flour blend
- baking powder and baking soda
- golden raisins
I like to add the raisins for additional sweetness—and because the Carrot Cake I remember eating as a kid always had raisins!—but if you don’t want to add them you don’t have to. In fact, you could sub chopped walnuts or even chocolate chips (if you’re feeling like breaking all traditions!) and get great results.
How to Make Carrot Cake Bars Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at the process involved in making this recipe:
- Preheat the oven and grease your pan well. (photo 1)
- Grate the carrot if not using store bought grated carrots. (photo 2)
- Stir together the wet ingredients. (photo 3)
- Fold in the dry, being gentle to avoid overworking the flour. (photo 4)
- Bake! (photo 5)
- Cool fully on a wire rack. (photo 6)
Carrot Cake Frosting
The frosting for these Carrot Cake Bars is a simple mix of cream cheese, vanilla extract, and honey. (photo 7) Once the cream cheese is softened, all you need to do is beat the ingredients together with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds or until fluffy. (photo 8) So easy!
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes! You can make it up to 24 hours ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or tightly covered in plastic wrap and frost before serving. Or, make the whole thing and refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving—it’s actually really great served cold.
Tips for Making the Best Carrot Cake Bars
- • Grease your pan very well to eliminate the likelihood of the cake sticking.
- • Gently fold the ingredients together to avoid overworking the batter.
- • Use store bought grated carrots or grate them on a grater at home.
- • Make sure that the cream cheese isn’t super cold, and is instead softened at room temperature for at least an hour, so it mixes up smooth. It will otherwise be lumpy.
- • Taste the frosting and add more honey if desired for sweetness.
Click HERE to see the full recipe.
Thanks to Nellie’s Free Range Eggs for sponsoring this post!