When trying to decide on a healthier cake option, Carrot Cake is always the first that comes to mind. It is simple, nutritious, and seductive with that cream cheese icing. When we wanted to make a Birthday surprise for our Uncle, you would think that all of this would be enough for me and Ari. Think again!

It was early July when we sat down to brainstorm, and considering the season, neither of us felt like a spice cake since the flavors make us think of fall. We decided this summer cake had to be more refreshing than a spice cake and maybe even contain more vegetables. So, we added not only carrot but zucchini, applesauce, reduced the sugar, and opted to use half egg whites instead of using all whole eggs. This moist vanilla cake is worthy of any spring/summer cake baking rotation, plus it sneaks in 2 cups of carrots and 2 cups of zucchini!

So then we asked… “Okay, so we have this healthier cake that could pass as a great quick bread, how do we make this celebration worthy?”

The answer ended up being to add a Vermont Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Frosting and maple & brown sugar roasted pecans! We adapted our basic cream cheese frosting by adding 1/4 cup all natural Vermont Maple Syrup and a 1/2 teaspoon of maple flavoring. The candied pecan recipe we used can be found here.

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Carrot & Zucchini Vanilla Cake
Recipe type: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yields: 24
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots, divided
  • 2 cups grated zucchini, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare cupcake pans with liners.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Take one cup of both the carrots and zucchini and food process until pureed.
  4. In a small bowl lightly beat the whole eggs and egg whites together.
  5. Mix pureed carrots and zucchini with beaten eggs, applesauce, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
  6. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until almost combined. Fold in grated carrots and zucchini, careful to not over mix the batter.
  7. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake at 350°F for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.
This cake comes out with flecks of green and orange. If you would like to further camouflage your vegetables, you may puree all of the vegetables instead of grating half. Just add them all when you add the pureed vegetables in the recipe.