Preventing Macular Degeneration with Carrot Cake

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(Original Post Date:  June 4, 2010)

Sometimes I feel like eating cake.  The problem is, I seldom want to stop eating cake.  The twisted solution in my mind, of course, is to make a cake that is somewhat healthy (in the attempt to make me feel better about over-indulging in dessert).

Carrots are a good source of Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene, essential for macular health (so are the eggs in this recipe, which contain lutein and zeaxanthin).  Plus, the cream cheese frosting has calcium.  And hey – walnuts are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is also found in fish.  And last, don’t forget about the cinnamon which contains water-soluble polyphenolic polymers (derived from the antioxidant catechins) that have shown to decrease fasting blood sugar levels and drop blood cholesterol/triglyceride levels.

Why take vitamins when you can just eat them in the form of carrot cake?   This isn’t dessert – this is health food!

Carrot Cake:

  • 2 c. finely grated carrots
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 3/4 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 – 1 c. walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c. golden raisins (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans, lining the bottoms with parchment paper.

2.  Combine carrots, brown sugar, sugar, oil, eggs, salt, and vanilla.  Mix until thoroughly combined.

3.  Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

4.  Dump wet ingredients into dry, and gently mix until just combined.  Stir in nuts and raisins, taking care not to over-mix.

5.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, and bake for approximately 25 minutes until done.

6.  Cool 5 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack.  Remove parchment paper carefully and allow to cool for several hours.  Frost when completely cooled.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 c.)
  • ~2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1.  Cream room temperature butter and cream cheese with salt and vanilla.  Slowly add in about 2 cups of powdered sugar – more or less depending on the desired consistency.

2.  Frost the cake once completely cooled.  Start by placing the first layer onto a plate.  Spread approximately 1 – 1 1/2 cups frosting evenly across the top before adding the second layer.  Spread the remaining frosting across the sides and top and decorate with finely chopped walnuts.


  1. Joyce says:

    Hi Mika, does it matter if I use “light” or “dark” brown sugar? Thanks!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi Joyce,
      Not really… I use either light or dark brown sugar… whatever I have on hand.


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