I have a bit of a love for cream cheese frosting. And carrots. And warm spices. I mean, cake in general is pretty amazing, but carrot cake has vegetables in it. Vegetables. It should, by all accounts, be healthy, right? Yeah, it’s totally not. But it can be! And then you can eat it for BREAKFAST! And they’re gluten free! And to make them easy to eat on the go, the cream cheese is now inside the bars!
This recipe has all of the important notes of carrot cake:
I switched out regular cream cheese for Neufchâtel cheese and used dried egg whites for fresh, because I had it on hand. If you don’t have dried, just use 3 fresh and cut back on the water a little bit. Also, I’ve been having a discussion about dates with a close friend and I realized this recipe would be amazing sweetened with chopped dates if you don’t like sucralose. I also used brown rice flour here, since I had some I wanted to use up. That makes this recipe gluten free, but if you don’t have brown rice flour, feel free to use whole wheat flour or oat flour.
I peeled and grated carrots until I had 1 1/2 cups of shredded carrots. I used my hand grater, which, at the time, felt like way less work than dragging out my food processor and then cleaning it. I was being lazy.
Then it’s as simple as combining all the dry ingredients and adding water. I started off with a half cup of water but had to double it to get the right consistency, so it’s okay to tweak it a bit. It’s just water anyway. But you want the batter to be thick: it shouldn’t be pourable.
The next step is to sandwich the Neufchâtel cheese between two layers of carrot mixture, so I pressed half of the mixture into a baking dish prepared with cooking spray. Then gently add the remainder of the carrot mixture on top and pat down gently and evenly. It should look like this:
Then pop that baby in the oven! Mine took 35 minutes at 350 degrees. It never browned on top, but the surface was dry and not “squishy” when I gently prodded it with a finger. The next step is the hardest part. Wait. I’m serious. WAIT. You want this to be totally cool before you even try to slice it. If you don’t, it will fall apart when you try to pick it up, and drop molten cream cheese on your lap. (Don’t ask how I know this.)
Once it’s cool, you can slice it and enjoy! This is much more like a dense square than a cake, so it will keep you full for quite a while. I paired mine with a banana for a breakfast around 300 calories.
I think I’ll definitely make this again using dates as a sweetener, but it was super yummy! What do you think? Do you love carrot cake as much as I do? Let me know in the comments!
Breakfast Carrot Cake Squares
A slightly sweet, dense carrot cake sandwiched around cream cheese for a slightly tart, warmly spiced bite.
NUTRITION PER SERVING: 197.4 cals, 8.7g fat, 292.3mg sodium, 24.4g carbs, 6.7g protein.
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 tbsp dried egg whites – 1/4 cup sucralose
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup water
- 8 oz block Neufchâtel cheese, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients thoroughly.
- Stir in the water until there are no dry pockets, then fold in the carrots.
- Press half of the carrot mixture into a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray, pressing it into an even layer.
- Cut the Neufchâtel into 8 pieces and lay out in a grid on top of the bottom layer.
- Carefully spread the remaining carrot mixture on top of the Neufchâtel and press into an even layer.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the squares feel firm when pressed with a finger. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 8 squares.