There's something deliciously deceptive about our friend, Carrot Cake. See, it's the word "carrot". For some reason, we get lulled into a sense of security by putting our "selective listening" ears on and forgetting about the whole "cake" part of the equation. Miraculously, that gloriously amber crumb with the lusciously smooth icing becomes simply carrots, cooked a little differently to the ol' "steam & season", but healthy nonetheless. Same thing happens with Banana Bread.
Carrot cake and I are the best of frenemies. I freaking love my girl CC but she can be quite conniving. Just one slice can pack as many calories as a Mars Bar and about a quarter of the daily recommended fat intake.
What is it that people like about carrot cake? Besides the fact that it's cake, folks. For me, it's the warmth of the spices, the nuttiness of the walnuts, and the tang of the cream cheese icing. Carrot Cake healthy enough for breakfast? Challenge accepted. (I should note, there are loads of great raw/not raw healthi-fied carrot cake recipes on The Internet Machine, but I decided to make a smoothie that can be made as an individual portion and, from what I've seen, has less fat and fructose than recipes that recreate the cake texture).
Carrot Cake Smoothie (serves 1 for a meal, 2 for a snack. Low fructose. Gluten free. Dairy free option.)
- 1 carrot, grated (about 1/3-1/2 cup)
- 15g vanilla, chocolate or cinnamon protein powder (or half a banana instead)
- 1 egg white (or 2 tbs of boxed egg whites) (optional, but recommended if you're not using protein powder as the protein will help with the metabolism of the fructose/carbohydrates in the carrot and banana)
- 4 raw walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/4 avocado
- 1/4C almond milk (or your milk of preference)
- Juice of 1/2 a medium lemon
- 1 Tbs organic Greek yoghurt (optional)
- Handful baby spinach (optional...but good for you)
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
- Ground cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg
- Pop about 1/3C of ice in your blender then pour over about 1Tbs of boiling water. No need to be fussy with measurements - basically you're just giving your ice a bit of foreplay so that the cubes don't completely fudge your blender.
- Add all the ingredients above to the blender besides the spices and avocado. If you're adding spinach, make sure it's closest to the blades so you don't get stringy bits.
- Add the avocado and a couple of pinches of cinnamon, and a pinch each of ground cloves and nutmeg. START SMALL and work your way up to more spice - you don't want to waste a bunch of ingredients just because you got a bit happy with the cloves.
- Sprinkle with orange zest and pepitas for photographic effect
Why you can be friends with this carrot cake without worrying about what she's going to do behind your back:
At about 275 calories per serve (using WPI and not banana), it's got plenty of protein (21g), a healthy dose of good fats (15g), not too carb-heavy (15g, 7g of which is fibre) and despite hitting the sweet tooth it only has 4g of sugar. You're also getting a bunch of vitamin C and A, plus beta-carotene (an antioxidant) so you'll be glowing from the inside out.
Not into carrot cake (gasp!)? Perhaps you'd prefer my Pumpkin Pie Green Monster!