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Kalyn's Kitchen

Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake with Zucchini, Apple, and Carrot

This Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake with Zucchini, Apple, and Carrot would be nice for a special occasion, and this tasty low-sugar and low-glycemic cake is loaded with healthy vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Use Zucchini Recipes to find more recipes like this.

Click here to PIN this Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake!

Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake with Zucchini, Apple, and Carrot found on KalynsKitchen.com

Recently I got two e-mails within a couple of days asking me if I had any recipes for healthier desserts. I do have a good collection of those kinds of things back in the archives, so I asked people on the Kalyn’s Kitchen Facebook page what they thought about having an occasional feature to spotlight healthier desserts and other more indulgent dishes. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of the idea, so occasionally on Thursdays I’m going to share recipes for things that are more of a treat than my usual low-carb offerings.

Treats featured on Thursday won’t always be sweets, but they’ll be the kind of recipes that would be an occasional treat if you’re following a carb-conscious eating plan. I realize not everyone might want that kind of recipe, but if you’re a strictly low-carb eater, there will always be the weekly Low-Carb Round-Up coming up the next day, and when I can find them I’ll offer low-carb alternates to the Thursday Treat featured that day in the links immediately following the recipe, so just scroll down and check those out if you don’t want to indulge in a higher-carb treat!

For the first Thursday Treat, it seemed perfect to mark the arrival of Fall with Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake with Zucchini, Apple, and Carrot, which is a delicious loaf cake and a great way to celebrate the bounty of the season. I heard about this recipe  years ago from Twitter, and when my friend Addie sent out a link saying it was the most searched for recipe in the Austin American Statesman recipe database, I had to take a look.

When I saw the recipe Addie tweeted for a cake with zucchini, carrots, and apple, I thought it would be fun to make a low-sugar and whole wheat version. (Now I can no longer find the original recipe online, so I’m even more glad I came up with a low-sugar version.)

I didn’t have the right size pan back in 2009 when I posted this recipe, so mine turned out a bit flat, but otherwise I loved this Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake, especially the way you see colorful flecks of carrot in the finished cake. Some people might consider this more of a bread than a cake, but this was delicious, no matter what you call it!

Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake with Zucchini, Apple, and Carrot found on KalynsKitchen.com

Start preheating the oven, then combine the white whole wheat flour, sweetener of your choice, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and mix together. Add the grated apple, grated carrot, grated zucchini, and chopped pecans to the flour mixture. Then toss with a large spoon so all the ingredients are well-coated with flour.

Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake with Zucchini, Apple, and Carrot found on KalynsKitchen.com

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the canola oil, buttermilk, and eggs, beating together well. Stir the egg mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture, and stir just until combined. The mixture was fairly stiff. Pour into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or oil. (Here’s where you can see that I needed an 8 x 4 inch pan, but only had a 9 x 5 inch pan!) And here’s the finished cake, which I thought looked very tasty despite the fact that there was a slight crack in the top.

Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake with Zucchini, Apple, and Carrot found on KalynsKitchen.com

Low-Carb Cake or Muffins with Zucchini:

Low-Carb Zucchini Blueberry Cake with Lemon Frosting ~ All Day I Dream About Food
Gluten-Free and Low-Carb Flourless Zucchini Muffins with Pecans ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Low-Carb German Chocolate Zucchini Cake ~ Low-Carb Yum

Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake with Zucchini, Apple, and Carrot

This Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake with Zucchini, Apple, and Carrot would be a nice treat to share with guests.


  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 3/4 cup Stevia in the Raw or other sweetener of your choice (or use sugar if you prefer)
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (I used fine grind sea salt)
  • 1/2 cup peeled and grated Granny Smith apple (1 medium-sized apple)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot (1 medium carrot)
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts, original recipe used 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • non-stick spray or oil for coating loaf pan


  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C and spray a 8 X 4 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray or oil (Or you can use a 9 x 5 inch pan and have a flatter cake like I did!)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add white whole wheat flour, sweetener (Stevia in the Raw ), cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Mix together with large spoon until well-combined.
  4. Add grated apple, grated carrot, grated zucchini, and chopped pecans to the bowl with the flour mixture.
  5. Use the spoon to toss ingredients together until all ingredients are well coated with flour.
  6. In a smaller bowl, add canola oil, buttermilk, and eggs, and beat with a whisk for about 30 seconds, until well combined.
  7. Pour egg mixture into the other bowl with the flour mixture and stir until just combined. (Mixture will be fairly stiff.)
  8. Pour cake into oiled loaf pan.
  9. Bake at 350F/175C for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out completely clean. (For me, that was exactly 50 minutes.)
  10. Cool cake in the pan placed on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove cake from pan (I used a knife to go around the edge) and cool cake completely on rack before slicing.



This lasted several days in the refrigerator, but only because I was very diligently using portion control!

I used Saigon Cassia cinnamon from The Spice House.

Recipe adapted from Garden Harvest Cake by Jennifer Dunklee for the Austin American Spokesman.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:

This Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake is probably too high in carbs for a traditional low-carb eating plan, but made with white whole wheat flour and an approved sweetener, this cake would be approved for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet and would probably work for other low-glycemic eating plans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:

Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

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50 comments on “Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Garden Harvest Cake with Zucchini, Apple, and Carrot”

  1. Kait, I think we should claim it's supposed to have that crack! Glad you liked it.

  2. I made it today and it is awesome! Mine cracked, too, along the top. But I can live with that! 🙂

  3. Sarah Jo, I really aren't a good enough baker to even venture a guess, sorry.

  4. I made this today exactly according to recipe but I ended up making them into smaller sized muffins. Baked at 350*, these were done at 22 minutes because the batter seemed to be a bit wetter than I expected. My muffins look really different. Flavor is fine, they taste great. But they look as if they have been soaking in syrup. Very "holey". Do you know why this happened?

  5. I just made this. Quite tasty. I split the sweetener to 1/2 C Splenda and 1/4 C brown sugar.

  6. Wonderful basic recipe – easy, yummy and healthy! I used my breadmaker and a combination of whole grain flours, a pear instead of an apple, raw sunflower seeds for the nuts and a bit of molasses with the splenda. Will get apples and walnuts at the store and try that combo. As another commenter mentioned, it is delicious with my homemade plain greek yogurt!

  7. Just tasted it, it's delicious! The only problem is you can't get bored of it, the texture and the taste are extremely intriguing. I think next time I will try maple syrup or molasses instead of sugar. I bet a slice of this cake with some extremely creamy plain yoghurt would be a heavenly match. Thank you 🙂

  8. Claire, yes I find that Splenda and Sugar can be used interchangeably in recipes in the same amounts.

  9. To substitute regular sugar for the splenda, should I use the same amount (3/4 cup?).

  10. Katherine I don't know for sure how it will turn out with regular whole wheat flour, but I'm guessing not as good because white whole wheat cooks more like white flour. Maybe the cake will just be a bit denser though and you won't mind it, give it a try.

  11. Can I use all whole wheat flour (not white whole wheat) ?

  12. Lanora, me too! Glad you liked it.

  13. Thanks- I really enjoyed this 🙂

  14. Yum! I made your harvest cake and it was delicious! Next time, I think I might add some raisins.

  15. Just made this pretty and moist cake/bread. I substituted the sugar with Agave Nectar and used walnuts as my nut. The batter was nice and thick.Oh ya, I also tossed in a bit of flax seed meal. i will grind, drain, and freeze some of the last of the zuccinis for this recipe and give as gifts. Healthy food at xmas for those you really love!I really like your site. Thanks

  16. Leah, thanks for sharing that. Glad to hear it was a hit!

  17. I realized I missed the buttermilk part after I started the recipe. A quick google search suggested I could substitute milk w/ a bit of lemon juice or vinegar for buttermilk. I used the 1/4 cup of 2% milk with 1 tsp of lemon juice and it worked out fine. The bread got thumbs up at my house.

  18. I do appreciate this! So very much! I think I will make this for our clients and let you know how it is recieved. They have been begging for something baked…besides eggs. 🙂


  19. Anonymous, I haven't tried it with regular milk, but I'm pretty sure it would work. If you try it, come back and let us know how it worked out.

  20. Can regular (nonfat, or lowfat 2%) milk be used in place of the buttermilk?


  21. Apple Hill, I'm thinking that in the winter when no zucchini from the garden is available you could make this just increasing the amount of carrot and apple for an even sweeter cake.

    Kevin, I thought it was brilliant too when I saw the recipe. I just had to try it!

  22. Combining the zucchini, carrot and apple in one cake is a great idea!

  23. wow this looks great. i love apple bread and carrot cake, and this looks like a cool way to combine them! yum!!

    seasons says fall YAY
    weather says summer .. boo

  24. I forgot to say that the original recipe called for walnuts, but when a recipe says walnuts, my mind automatically converts it to pecans!

    Deanna, I agree, it's more like a bread to me too.

    Julie, good to know it still turned out even with more liquid. I usually squeeze some of the water out of the zucchini, but this time my zucchini wasn't too wet.

    Joyce, I'm looking in South Beach Diet Supercharged (the latest book) and it says Fat Free or 1% buttermilk, up to 2 cups a day even for phase one. The buttermilk I buy has 2.5 grams of fat per cup, so I'm sure the small amount in this cake is fine. Good question though, I've never found buttermilk here labeled "fat free" or 1% but since the fat content is so low I've used it without worrying.

  25. My 1st post, and you will likely be able to tell….lol

    I am following SBD, and was wondering about the Buttermilk. I am not very well versed in the Foods to Enjoy list, but I don't believe that buttermilk is on there. At least not a full fat version.

    Just curious what your opinion on the subject may be.

    Thank you for your site/blog. You have been a wealth of information & recipes for SBD, and for that there is no comparison.

  26. I just made this, and it is absolutely delicious!

    Just an FYI, my grated fruit and veggies were quite juicy, so the batter was much thinner than yours. They still turned out wonderfully! Thanks for posting!

  27. This is a great cake, but I call it a bread. Super moist and easy, and my husband loves it too.

  28. Yum! I love the additions of pecans.

  29. I don't have any experience using Stevia for cooking; if any else does, please let us know how it worked for you.

    I used a stand-up cheese grater to grate the apple and carrot and a food processor to grate the zucchini. I had one of those huge zucchinis, but if I'd been grating a smaller one I might have just grated it with the cheese grater too.

  30. What grating method did you use to get those nice thin strips. I have a hard time with this. Thanks, Janet

  31. How delicious! I am on a mission to cook as much zucchini bread as I can before the season is over so this will hopefully make it into the rotation. I love the trilogy that you used.

  32. This looks so very healthy and yummy

  33. ahhh, low-sugar – that's wonderful! and it looks like such a moist, wholesome treat. bookmarked. x

  34. I *love* these kinds of recipes!

    A dessert with whole wheat and veggies, what more can you ask for!

    Regarding the sugar, I use the (slightly) bitter Stevia in my tea. It's completely natural and has been used in Japan for decades.

    Anyone have any experience using Stevia for cooking/baking? Any recommended brands? Is the ratio roughly half (i.e 1 cup of sugar = 1/2 cup of stevia)?

  35. Oh my I have only had these one time in my life, but it was one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten.

  36. Definitely nice to have a recipe that isn't full of 2 1/2 cups of sugar! I love how much goodness is packed in this cake 🙂

  37. Thanks everyone. Glad other people are appreciating the healthful qualities and rustic look of this delicious cake. Thanks again to Addie for tweeting the recipe!

  38. I love how hearty and healthy this cake is!!! Perfect!

  39. Yum! This looks like the perfect thing to make next week when Labor Day is over and we start heading into Fall in earnest.

  40. Holy cow – look at all of those fruits and veggies! Along with the whole-wheat flour, you could get a day's worth of fiber in one delicious slice. This looks so moist. Buttermilk is always such a great secret weapon for moistness.

  41. I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Kalyn! Thanks for adapting it and sharing it with your readers. I'm sure they will love it as much as the Austin American-Statesman readers did!

    Hope you are well!
    Addie Broyles

  42. h, just look at those colourful ingredients..how can one not feel good when eating this!

  43. Love this creation! I bet this was super moist! Great way to sneak in the fruits and veggies too:)

  44. I really enjoy seeing the different breads you've made. I've been feasting on zucchini bread for weeks, but the addition of apple and carrot would taste extra special. I also go for a combination of regular flour and whole wheat, but I guess you can really up the fiber with the white whole wheat.

  45. This looks awesome, Kalyn! I love zucchini cake! Thanks so much for the link love! 🙂

  46. This looks great, I have begun using the white whole wheat flour, and like it very much. Thanks, this will make it's way to my table.

  47. This is such a healthy and beautiful cake, would love to try it !

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