Fruit-Sweetened Carrot Cake Loaf

Fruit-sweetened carrot cake loaf. This loaf is incredibly moist and naturally sweetened with dates and apple sauce. Have it for breakfast, snack or dessert!

carrot cake loaf

A delicious fruit-sweetened dessert. The best part about this carrot cake loaf? It can be a nutritious breakfast or snack, yet it’s sweet enough for dessert.

Unlike my favorite banana bread, this carrot cake loaf is sweetened with dates, applesauce (and pineapple if you’d like), which makes it sweeter. It’s insanely moist thanks to all the fruits and a touch of oil. I love it best when served with sunflower seed butter for a little boost of protein and extra flavor. It’s the best combination, trust me! Plus, this way, you’re combining carbs and protein for a nutritious breakfast or snack.

To take it to the next level, try serving it with ice cream (like this date-sweetened vanilla ice cream) or your favorite frosting. Whichever way you decide to go, it will be delicious.

And if you’re looking for a vegan carrot cake loaf, check out my Vegan Carrot Cake Loaf with Streusel Topping.

How to Make A Fruit-Sweetened Carrot Cake Loaf:

Here are the steps that you need to make a delicious carrot cake loaf.

  1. Getting Ready

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan using butter or oil.

  2. Combine the Wet Ingredients

    In a food processor, add the dates, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Process until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Don’t worry if you have small pieces of dates. Add the grated carrots and pulse a few times. Set aside.

  3. Combine the Dry Ingredients

    In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Transfer the date mixture to the bowl as well as the eggs. Stir it all together until combined.

  4. Bake

    Transfer to the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Wait 10 minutes before slicing.

date mixture in a food processor
carrot cake mixture in a food processor
unbaked carrot cake in a loaf pan

Tips to Make the Best Carrot Cake Loaf:

  • Make sure that you use the spoon and level method to measure flour. To do this, take a spoon to scoop the flour and add it to a measuring cup. Take the back of a knife to scrape and level the top. If scooping the flour directly with the measuring cup, you will end up using more flour than the recipe requires.
  • Use Medjool dates for the best results. I don’t recommend using Deglet Noor dates, which aren’t as sweet.
  • Add raisins and/or nuts to the batter if you want a crunch and extra sweetness.

Fruit-Sweetened Carrot Cake Loaf FAQ:

Can I Use Other Oils?

You can replace the olive oil with melted coconut oil or a light-tasting oil, like avocado oil.

Can I Use Different Flours?

I tested this recipe with spelt and whole wheat flour. The loaf was a bit too moist using spelt flour, but I still loved it. If you love extra moist (almost lightly undercooked) desserts, you can try it using spelt flour. Whole wheat flour resulted in a dryer, but still very moist loaf. I used whole wheat bread flour.

Can I Make This Recipe Vegan?

I haven’t tried it myself, but some have successfully made it using a flax egg. If you want a vegan recipe, you can check out this vegan carrot cake loaf with streusel topping (though this one is not fruit-sweetened).

Can I Make This Recipe Gluten-Free?

If you want to try a gluten-free option, I recommend using a 1:1 gluten-free flour mix. I haven’t tried it myself yet, so I can’t guarantee the same results. But it’s worth a try!

What Can I Use Instead of Apple Sauce?

You can replace the applesauce with crushed pineapple (in the same amount) or you can do half pineapple and half applesauce.

More Fruit-Sweetened Dessert Recipes:

baked carrot cake loaf in a loaf pan
slices of fruit-sweetened carrot cake loaf with sunflower seed butter

Watch How to Make the Recipe:

Fruit-Sweetened Carrot Cake Loaf
Print Pin
5 from 8 votes

Fruit-Sweetened Carot Cake Loaf

This carrot cake loaf is sweetened with dates and applesauce and is made high in fiber thanks to whole wheat flour. A nutritious breakfast, snack or dessert.
Course Dessert
Cuisine vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 cup apple sauce (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Walnuts and raisins (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan using butter or oil.
  • In a food processor, add the dates, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Process until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Don't worry if you have small pieces of dates. Add the grated carrots and pulse a few times. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Transfer the date mixture to the bowl as well as the eggs. Stir it all together until combined.
  • Transfer to the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Wait 10 minutes before slicing.

Video

Notes

You can add raisins and walnuts if you’d like. 
The loaf was a little overly moist using spelt flour, but I still loved it. If you love extra moist (almost lightly undercooked) desserts, you can try it using spelt. Whole wheat flour resulted in a dryer, but still very moist loaf. I used whole wheat bread flour.
You can replace the olive oil with melted coconut oil or a light-tasting oil (like avocado oil) if you prefer.
I use a spoon and level method for measuring flour.
You can try replacing the apple sauce with crushed pineapple (in the same amount) or you can do half pineapple and half applesauce.

If you make this carrot cake loaf, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys. And of course, if you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!

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61 Comments

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      Hi Alida. Sorry but I haven’t tried it. It would change the recipe significantly if using grain-free flours. I’m not much help until I try it myself. Sorry! If you do try it, let me know. It could help others!

      • CarGo

        5 stars
        Delicious! Made it as per the instructions (no mods), and with spelt flour. It was beautifully moist and succulent. My eight year old, who hates all cakes, gobbled three slices and is begging for more. Keep the fruit-sweetened recipes coming!

    • Rachel

      5 stars
      Wow another delicious recipe! Keep them coming 🙂
      I made it together with my kids and we all absolutely loved it! This is a real treat
      Thank you so much

  • Victoria

    5 stars
    I am in love with this recipe and how “sweet” it tastes with no sugar! It has been the perfect pick-me up treat. Thank you!!

  • Rachael

    5 stars
    I just made this, and I’m trying to not eat the whole batch in one sitting! So delicious! I added walnuts and dark chocolate chips for a more “dessert” kind of feel, and it’s absolutely fabulous. And quick to pull together too! Thanks Caroline!

  • Joanna

    4 stars
    I enjoyed making these with a few substitutions. I omitted ginger, nutmeg, and clove, ’cause I didn’t have them. I added a few tablespoons of almond flour, and some water because whenever I bake with whole wheat flour, the finished product turns dry and dense. Taste-wise, it’s good. Would you know how many calories are there in one slice?

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      I’m happy you liked the taste of it! I’m sorry you gave it a 4 star review though as you didn’t exactly follow the recipe. It might be a little misleading for others looking at doing the recipe. Thank you for explaining your substitutions though. I don’t calculate the calories for the recipes on my blog at this time, but it’s something I’m hoping to do in the future. Sorry for the inconvenience! Have a great weekend. 🙂

  • Faaiza

    Hi!
    I’ve just come across your blog & loving all your recipes. This carrot cake recipe is just what I was looking for. I wondered what your thoughts on rye flour for this recipe are? Would it work?
    I tend to bake with spelt/rye/grain free flours, I’m no expert in that but it’s because I try to avoid wheat for health reasons.

    I hope you can let me know what you think!

    Thanks

    🙂

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      Hi Faaiza, thank you so much! To be honest, I’ve never used rye flour myself (other than buying rye bread), so I can’t be sure. However, I have tried the recipe with spelt flour and it was delicious! If you try it with rye, let me know! Otherwise, I hope the spelt gives you an option. 🙂

  • Posy

    5 stars
    This is delicious!!! I’ve been looking for whole fruit sweetened dessert recipes for a long time, and they’re definitely few and far between. Thank you for this site! I’m excited to try your other recipes. I made a few modifications to the carrot loaf: used 1 whole apple instead of applesauce (chopped and whirred with dates), 1/3 c olive oil for a slightly richer crumb, and doubled the ginger for a little more spice. Yum!!!

  • Carol-Ann

    I tried it twice and both times it was so wet that it was unedible yet the outside was brown. So upset that I wasted all those ingredients. Straight into the green bin.

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      I’m so sorry that happened. I’m not sure what to say as I’ve never had this issue and I’ve had great feedback from everyone who’s tried the recipe. Did you by any chance change something in the recipe?

  • Em

    5 stars
    I didn’t have any applesauce or dates, but I do have two bags of carrots and two bunches of bananas, both at the end of their rope. So I crossed my fingers and switched the applesauce and dates for two cups of mashed bananas (and made muffins instead of bread in case they were a little soft) and this has turned out quite well! Now I’m eager to get to the grocery store and try this as it was meant to be.

    It’s quite difficult to find “sugar free” baking recipes where sugar isn’t just replaced with honey or maple syrup, so I’ve really been enjoying this site!

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      Hi Em, thank you so much for your sweet comment! I’m so glad it turned out well, even with the substitutions. I’ll have to try it myself too! I hope you’ll enjoy the original recipe as well. 🙂 Happy weekend!

  • Natalie

    5 stars
    Great recipe!!! I tried it using flax eggs and it worked really well. I made it for my 16 month old daughter, and she gobbled it.

  • Aleef Noor

    Hello,
    This recipe is exactly what I was looking for, but I don’t have applesauce. Is it okay to leave it out?

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      Hi Aleef, unfortunately the applesauce is an important part of the recipe as it adds moisture and some sweetness. The loaf may be dry without it. The closest alternative would be mashed bananas (in the same amount), although this would change the flavour. Otherwise, you could try adding oil, although I can’t guarantee any amount or that the result would be the same. I highly recommend sticking to the recipe if possible. Hope you’ll find something that works!

  • Alisha Ross

    5 stars
    Can’t wait to try the recipes for Passover!! Thanks for the great recipes. I appreciate it so much!!

  • Michelle Hauser

    5 stars
    This recipe is incredible; just incredible. I gave up sugar and white flour 4 years ago and also gave up baking. I do miss special-occasion baking, though, and this recipe fills the bill. You are a culinary genius.

  • Samantha

    5 stars
    Absolutely loved this recipe!
    Did a few switches:
    – Subbed four option for brown rice flour
    – Subbed applesauce for mashed bananas
    – Subbed vanilla extract for vanilla bean
    – Did not have enough carrots so did half carrots, half apple
    – Subbed olive oil for coconut oil

    It turned out really well and i enjoyed it so so much! The natural sweetness was great, and not too sweet so it was right up my alley.
    I will be trying it again this weekend, this time I will try mixing brown rice and chickpea flour, and substituting the eggs for flax eggs!

  • Danica

    5 stars
    These were amazing! I have been on a no sugar challenge including added sugar and this site has been really nice. Thank you so much! Is there any way you can turn this into muffins?

    • Nourished by Caroline

      Hi Danica, thank you so much for the sweet comment. I’m always happy to help! As for making them into muffins, I haven’t tried it yet. However, I’ve had success making other bread recipes into muffins by baking them for 15-18 minutes. It’s worth a try! If you want a recipe that’s been tested, I do have a recent carrot muffin recipe on the blog. They do have maple however, so I’m not sure if they fit your preferences. If so, look for maple carrot muffins on the blog. Hope this helps!

  • Fiona

    5 stars
    Another fantastic recipe! I am so in love with your banana loaf recipe that I thought I’d try this one and it was so good. I used spelt flour and melted coconut oil in place of butter. I also added in some raisins (that looked a bit sad, so I soaked in hot water for 10 mins first) and chopped walnuts. The loaf is so juicy and moist, it’s the perfect recipe. Pulsing the carrots makes them disappear into the batter you you don’t get that ‘carroty’ look as with most carrot cakes. I think that’s a bonus though. I love that I can share this with my toddler for a morning snack. So happy to have found your wonderful website, thank you 🙂

  • Wendy

    Hi, I saw that you said you could also add pineapple, but it didn’t say how or how much. Can you specific, as I would like to try it that way. Thanks!

    • Nourished by Caroline

      Thank you for rating the recipe. 🙂 I haven’t tried it into muffins yet, but from experience with turning other breads into muffins, my guess would be around 18-20 minutes. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! I’ll also update the recipe when I try it too.

  • blancamecof

    Hi Caroline! Loved this recipe and I’m looking forward to trying it. However I’ve got to ask, how do you make the applesauce??

  • Brier

    5 stars
    Great recipe!
    I made this with about 15 regular sized dates, and all purpose flour. The loaf turned out great.. I wouldn’t make it any other way now! It is especially tasty toasted with butter or peanut butter.

    • Nourished by Caroline

      Hi! I haven’t tried it with oat flour, so I can’t guarantee that it would work. My guess is that it will result in a “gummy” bread that won’t rise as much. I wouldn’t recommend substituting the flour completely with oat flour or oats. If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, I believe your best option would be to try Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF flour mix. I hope this helps a little!

  • Carissa

    I’d like to make this in a cake pan rather than a loaf. What size pan do you think would work for the amount of batter?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Nourished by Caroline

      Hi Carissa, I can’t say for sure, but I would try an 8″ or 9″ round cake pan. Try to choose one where the batter isn’t too thin at the bottom of the pan. It might also change the baking time, so you might want to take it out a little sooner and see if it needs more time.

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WELCOME!

Nourished by Caroline

I’m Caroline, a registered dietitian located in Kelowna, British Columbia. I focus on plant-based nutrition and intuitive eating. I believe in living a balanced life, while eating the food you love. Learn more about my practice here or book an appointment today!

 

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