Healthy Carrot Cake

Posted by Brette in Food
Please welcome my guest blogger today, Jennifer Margulis:

Jennifer with 3 of her 4 children

Have you ever heard of agave?

No, not the hip new Mexican restaurant that opened down the street.

Agave is a plant that grows in Mexico and out of which tequila is made. But agave nectar, which comes from the sap of the plant, is a natural sweetener that tastes a lot like honey but is healthier for you.

Since your body digests it slowly, it doesn’t cause low blood sugar, it’s low on the glycemic index (though this varies by processing method, etc.), and is becoming increasingly popular among diabetics.

It’s also great for baking.To read much more on agave, read Sweet Savvy’s post here.

So what does this have to do with making cakes?

I know your taste buds believe otherwise but humans don’t need refined sugar of any kind. Ever. Neither do kids (of any age, though it gets harder to have your say as they get older and obsessed with candy, gum, lollipops, chocolate … you get the idea.)

No sugar, then how do you bake a cake? Make this healthy agave-sweetened carrot cake recipe, adapted from one by Andrew Weil, and dive into it without the guilt or the blood sugar crash after you eat!

2 cups firmly packed finely grated carrots (do this with the S-shaped blade in the cuisinart and it’s ready in seconds)
Juice of 1 large orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup agave nectar (found in the bulk section of most natural food stores, near the maple syrup)
1 Tablespoon Brewer’s Yeast + 2 Tablespoons of bran + enough unbleached white flour to make one cup
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the carrots, orange juice, vanilla, olive oil, and agave.

3. In another bowl or big measuring cup, stir together all the dry ingredients.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the carrot mixture, stirring until just mixed. Do not overstir.

5. Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch-square baking pan and bake at 350 for 45+ minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Jennifer Margulis is a travel, culture, and parenting writer whose articles have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Smithsonian Magazine. A contributing editor at Mothering magazine, she writes a popular blog called “Mothering Outside the Lines,” updated three times a week. She lives in southern Oregon with her husband and four children. Read more about her books and articles at her Website: Follow her on Twitter @jennifermarguli

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