Flour is somewhat famous for its carrot cake. Or maybe it’s just that it is my husband Christopher’s most favorite Flour cake, so in my mind it’s the most famous cake we have. Countless special occasions have been celebrated by the Chang-Myers household with a slice of carrot cake and two forks. (Yes, I suppose we could each get our own slice, but I always think the cake is going to be a present for Christopher and then I simply can’t help but join in.)
So when it came time to try and develop a low-sugar—make that no-sugar—version of this cake, I knew I had my work cut out for me. Flour’s carrot cake is decidedly one of the sweeter things we offer; the cake itself is sweet and the frosting has a fair amount of sugar in it as well. How could I get the same luscious, rich, addictive flavor without using any sugar? Could I create a cake that would be as good as the one that Christopher adores? It turns out that, using a few tricks up my sleeve, the answer is YES! Apple juice concentrate acts as the sweetener here along with pineapple juice that is reduced down until syrupy. The pineapple is naturally sweet, and two kinds of raisins help make your mind think this cake is laden with sugar. The frosting is a variation of a cream cheese frosting that my pastry chef Sarah used when making her own wedding cake. It’s creamy, tangy, and lightly sweetened with more reduced apple juice. You’ll feel good about making this cake for your family—and I feel great about bringing this home, not just for special occasions, but for every occasion.
Recipe and headnote excerpted from Baking With Less Sugar (Chronicle Books, 2015). —Joanne Chang