This easy, quick carrot bread recipe is like a lightened up version of carrot cake that you can feel good about eating for snacks or breakfast. It’s made with whole wheat flour, spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and allspice, and sweetened only with maple syrup. Even the optional cream-cheese glaze is sweetened only with maple syrup, making this a real food treat you can feel great about serving anytime.
This is another healthy, anyone-can-make bread recipe to add to your best bread recipes collection!
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While many of us make zucchini bread all the time (especially when you have recipes like this honey sweetened double chocolate loaf and this orange zucchini bread to name a few), carrot bread is a little less well known. Or maybe I should say less often made.
Maybe it’s because there isn’t a season for carrots like there is for zucchini. While you can get zucchini all year around now, there’s still a definite season for it – that time of year we’re inundated with it and are just trying to figure out how to use it all up.
That’s never a thing with carrots (or at least for most of us). Carrots are just always around. Which actually is why it’s a good idea to have a great carrot bread recipe – you can make it anytime you want.
And with this whole wheat, maple sweetened version you will want to, I promise. It’s moist and tender and the maple not only lightly sweetens the bread, but gives it a depth of flavor you just can’t get from cane sugar.
Okay, you may be thinking, “how is this different from carrot cake?”
Well, it’s not as rich for starters. There’s only 1/4 cup of added fat in the whole recipe, compared to a cup or more in cakes. And of course it’s a lot less sweet with just 1/2 cup of maple syrup. Maybe there are whole wheat carrot cakes, but that’s another thing that separates this from typical cakes. So the texture is moist and dense, like a great quick bread.
You can glaze it or not – it’s up to you. When you do glaze it, it does seem more like carrot cake to me, but I think that’s a good thing because this is a pretty healthy recipe and if it reminds you of cake, then – yay!
Spiced Carrot Bread Recipe
Sometimes I think we see bread as too complicated to make. But as you can see from the simple pantry ingredients above, quick breads are as easy to make as cookies. Maybe even easier since you just add the dough all at once to a pan and let it cook instead of shaping and baking multiple batches of cookies. The hands-on time is pretty minimal.
For this spiced carrot bread recipe you will need:
- Whole Wheat Flour (Whole Wheat White Flour or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour also work)
- Grated Carrots
- Pure Maple Syrup
- Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
- Baking Powder, Soda, and Salt
- Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, Allspice
- Chopped Walnuts or Pecans (optional)
- Cream Cheese for optional glaze
Tools & Equipment:
- 8×4″ Loaf Pan
- Silicone Pastry Brush
- Large Mixing Bowl & Wooden Spoon (I use my favorite Kitchenaid Mixer just because I use it for everything, but a bowl and spoon work fine for quick breads.)
- Small Bowl or 1-Cup Glass Measure
- Metal Cooling Rack
- Waxed Paper
- Serrated Bread Knife (this is the one I use and LOVE)
I love showing the simple steps to making quick breads because it literally is just a matter of mixing the dry ingredients together, mixing the wet ingredients in a separate bowl (I like to use a glass measuring cup to make it easy to pour), and then combining the two.
That’s it – in about 10 minutes you can have the hands-on part of a quick bread done. Easy peasy.
I did want to show that the dough for this carrot bread recipe is really thick. Some quick bread dough is not, but that’s what gives this bread it’s moist and tender crumb.
Because the dough is thick, you’ll have to spread it evenly in the loaf pan using a spatula, versus pouring the dough in.
It will need to bake for about an hour, I start checking with a toothpick in the center at 55 minutes, and then setting for another 5 minutes if there is dough on the toothpick. My oven baked this in 60 minutes – yours may need less or more, so really use the toothpick or you may have doughy centers or too dry bread.
Since it’s carrot bread, what better glaze than cream cheese? And cream cheese combined with maple is a match made in heaven, I think. The glaze is totally optional, of course – this bread is good either way.
In the glaze pictured in these photos, I used 3 tablespoons maple syrup to 3 ounces of cream cheese and it was a little too thin, (we don’t want all the glaze on the wax paper, do we?). In the printable recipe (click on either top or bottom arrows for the full recipe), I decreased the syrup to only 2 tablespoons with a teaspoon or so added for thinning if needed, which is much better.
I really think you will enjoy this bread – it’s like a treat with the added health benefits of carrots, which also add their own sweetness.
If you’re lessening your added sugar intake like we are, you will find foods like this carrot bread recipe plenty sweet. All the other flavors come though stronger since they aren’t covered up by sugar. We find we taste more and more flavors in our food the less sugar we eat – it’s a really surprising thing that we are loving!
Spiced Carrot Bread Recipe (Maple Sweetened, Whole Wheat)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour*
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup butter melted (plus more for greasing)
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans optional
- 3 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x4-inch loaf pan with softened butter using a pastry brush (or line the pan with parchment and grease only the ends).
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.
- In a small bowl or glass measuring cup stir together the wet ingredients with a fork: yogurt, maple syrup, butter, and egg. Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix just until the flour is combined. Fold in the carrots along with the nuts (if using) - the dough will be thick.
- Spread the dough in the prepared pan, using a spatula to smooth the top evenly. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a metal rack to cool completely.
When cool, make optional glaze:
- Combine softened cream cheese** and maple syrup with a whisk until smooth. If needed, use a bit more syrup to thin more, 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Use a spoon to pour evenly over the loaf.
- Refrigerate to set glaze.
Other Easy Quick Breads To Try:
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