I don’t like to pretend that sweets are healthy, but some are definitely better than others. We do not buy pre-packaged, processed sweets anymore; I bake our nightly treats once a week (and they usually last that long). Even the ingredients list on baked goods from Super Target or Publix is kind of scary.  If you are going to indulge the calories, you might as well taste real butter and sugar.

So I’m always looking for new recipes to try.  To me, baking is like a really fun science experiment with a delicious ending. One of my birthday gifts from my mother and stepfather was this super fun little book, and I was really excited to flip through it and read about new recipes to make. See?

I swear I’m not one of those narcissistic bloggers; this was taken moments after the gift was opened, and it was easier to use this one than to take and upload  new shot. Besides, this way you get to see my shoe calendar in the background.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Healthy Carrot Cake recipe. The book actually has a little piece of cardboard to help it stand up so you can easily read it while baking.

The recipe is on the flip side. The cake is “packed with carrots to help you see in the dark!!” Sounds good to me!

Recipe

  • 5 ounces soft brown sugar (I used dark because it’s what we had)
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 ounces plain flour with rising agent (I used regular flour and my cake wasn’t as tall as it should have been)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 ounces chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 ounces raisins
  • 4 ounces grated carrots
  • 1/4 pint vegetable oil

I had never made carrot cake and was a little nervous to try, but I jumped right in and grated up some carrots.

I used way more than 4 ounces of carrots. I also did not peel my carrots, and my cake did not turn the next day, as I’ve read can happen with carrot cake.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the sugar, nuts, raisins and carrots and stir them together.

Add the eggs and oil and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Grease a loaf pan (I use non-stick cooking spray) and spoon the mixture into the pan. Bake for one hour or until it is firm to the touch. (Mine took a lot less time because I didn’t use that self-rising flour … probably about 40 minutes.)

For the topping, I used about a half block of neufchatel cheese (it’s in the dairy section with the cream cheese and slightly lower in fat — tastes the same but less creamy), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and about a half cup of powdered sugar. You just beat it together and keep tasting it until it’s right to you!

My other most recent baking adventure was Healthy Zucchini bread from The Wife of a Dairyman. I was in 4-H and FFA and covered agriculture as a reporter, so I love reading her blog and seeing the photos of farm life. Her recipes are excellent, too.

Topped with white chocolate peanut butter from Peanut Butter and Co, the last piece of zucchini bread made an excellent morning treat (and paired very well with coffee)!

You can find the recipe the Wife of a Dairyman’s zucchini bread recipe here.

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