A healthier carrot cake banana bread with dairy-free cream cheese frosting. This recipe is made oat flour, almond flour, maple syrup and topped with a lightened-up cream cheese yogurt frosting. Enjoy for breakfast or to bring to a holiday brunch!
Carrot cake may be one of the best ways to celebrate the spring season. Its warm spices mingling with the shredded carrots bring makes for the perfect segue from winter to spring. You better believe that once the weather starts to shift and flowers begin to bloom, baking a carrot cake makes it’s way on to the to-do list.
This carrot cake banana bread a delicious combination of healthy banana bread and classic carrot cake. It tastes like banana bread but packed with shredded carrots and optimal add-ins like raisins and nuts, and a dairy-free cream cheese frosting. The nutritious ingredients make for a healthy bread that still tastes incredibly indulgent. It’s the best of both worlds, without compromising taste and flavor!
If you’re looking for a show-stopping spring recipe, this is it! It makes the perfect addition to your spring brunch menu or Easter celebration. You can enjoy this carrot cake banana bread as a sweet breakfast or brunch option or a healthier dessert!
Healthier Carrot Cake Banana Bread
So what makes this carrot cake banana bread healthy?
For starters, this banana bread gets most of its sugars from extra ripe bananas and a touch of maple syrup. This makes for a refined sugar-free recipe that’s much lower in sugar than most traditional banana bread or carrot cakes.
The base of this carrot cake banana bread is also made with a combination of oat flour and almond flour. This adds whole grains, healthy fats, and fiber while keeping it naturally gluten-free. You can boost this bread’s nutrition and flavor by adding in raisins, walnuts or even coconut. However, I know this can be controversial so I choose to leave them out. But by all means, feel free to get creative!
Lastly, the dairy-free cream cheese frosting! While this addition is optional, I highly recommend it. It makes for a stunning presentation and makes the bread tastes extra indulgent. It’s made with almond-based cream cheese, dairy-free yogurt and a touch of powdered sugar or maple syrup. For a refined-free sugar option, you could use powdered monk fruit, maple sugar or coconut sugar. That being said, the powdered maple sugar or coconut sugar will make the frosting darker.
I recommend using a touch of powdered sugar for the best results. It’s only three tablespoons of the whole batch. Feel feel to use two tablespoons of maple syrup, however, it is slightly thinner and less firm than the powdered sugar option.
Nourished by Nutrition Facts
When you think carrot nutrition, eye-sight probably comes to mind! Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A. This antioxidant promotes good vision and is necessary for growth, development, and immune function. (1) (2) Carrots come in a wide variety of colors ranging from orange to yellow, red and purple, each containing unique concentrations of various antioxidants like lutein, lycopene, and polyacetylenes. These are important for eye health and reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. Carrots are also a good source of fiber, vitamin K, potassium, biotin, and B6. (3) (4)
Bananas are known for their natural sugars. This makes them perfect for sweetening smoothies and baked goods without much or any added sugar. Their natural sugar also provides quick energy making them a great pre-workout snack. Aside from natural sugar, bananas contain a good amount of potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber and several antioxidants.
These heart-healthy nuts often get overlooked despite their incredible nutrition profile. Pecans are a good source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These unsaturated fats can help decrease total cholesterol as well as LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the blood. (5) Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. They’re also a good source of phytonutrients like vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants protect the body from diseases, cancers, as well as infections by reducing free radicals. (6)
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Healthy Carrot Cake Banana Bread
A healthier carrot cake banana bread with dairy-free cream cheese frosting. This recipe is made oat flour, almond flour, maple syrup and a lightened-up cream cheese yogurt frosting.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 45 min
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 1 8x4 loaf 1x
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed extra ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons avocado oil or melted coconut oil
1 cup lightly packed shredded carrots (about 2 large carrots)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans + more for topping (optional)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz dairy-free cream cheese (I like Kite Hill)
2 1/2 tablespoons dairy-free yogurt
3 tablespoons powdered sugar (or 2 tablespoons maple syrup)**
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 8×4 loaf pan with parchment paper or lightly coat with avocado or coconut oil
In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together together mashed banana, maple syrups, eggs, oil, and vanilla until well combined. Fold in carrots. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Careful not to over mix. Gently fold in 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans, if using
Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes. The loaf is done when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.
Remove from oven and place pan on wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the loaf from pan and place on wire rack to finish cooling completely before frosting or slicing
To make cream cheese frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, yogurt, powdered sugar (or maple syrup), vanilla, and almond extract together using a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread over cooled bread. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired.
The carrot cake banana bread last in an airtight container in the frisge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
Using maple syrup makes a thinner frosting but the flavor is delicious. If you’re looking for a lower sugar option, I recommend powdered monk fruit.
* I originally used use Kite Hill Greek-style almond yogurt. However, I do not love the new formula. I now use Kite Hill regular almond milk yogurt. You can sub 2% Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt.