A slice of carrot cake served at a typical restaurant contains 1,550 calories and 24 grams of saturated fat. That type of indulgence would leave you with few -- if any -- Weight Watchers points left for an entire day. Make your own carrot cake with nutrient-dense, low-fat, low-sugar ingredients for a treat that supplies between 4 and 10 Weight Watchers points and can easily fit into your 49 weekly PointsPlus allowance.
Substitute Applesauce for Oil
Typical carrot cake recipes call for over 1 cup of vegetable oil. Per cup, vegetable oil contains 1,920 calories and 224 grams of fat. By swapping the oil for an equal amount of unsweetened applesauce, you'll lower that amount to 100 calories and no added fat. You'll also be able to use less sugar since applesauce is naturally sweet. Health food expert Nancy Fox suggests substituting up to three-fourths of the oil called for in a carrot cake recipe with applesauce for about 10 Weight Watchers Plus Points per serving.
Increase the Fiber
The Weight Watchers PointsPlus program takes the fiber content of a food into account when assigning points. For a higher-fiber, low-fat version of carrot cake with approximately 7 Weight Watchers Plus Points in every serving, the program recommends using whole-wheat flour along with all-purpose flour. Don't try to substitute all of the regular flour with a whole-grain alternative -- it'll make your carrot cake heavier and denser than normal. Instead, replace up to 50 percent of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat pastry flour for a lighter texture with extra fiber.
Skip the Eggs
Eggs are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, but they're also high in saturated fat and cholesterol. A carrot cake recipe calling for four whole eggs would contain 19 grams of fat, about 6 grams of saturated fat and 744 grams of cholesterol. By using an egg substitute, you'll decrease the added fat and cholesterol to zero. A Weight Watchers carrot cake cupcake recipe calling for egg substitute, applesauce, boxed white cake mix, low-fat buttermilk, shredded carrots, pineapple and pecans supplies around 5 PlusPoints per serving.
Lower the Fat in the Frosting
The cream cheese frosting traditionally used to top carrot cake is high in fat. Regular cream cheese has nearly 10 grams of fat and over 5 grams of saturated fat in each ounce -- approximately 2 tablespoons -- and reduced-fat brands have about 5 grams of fat and 3 grams of saturated fat, but fat-free cream cheese contains only a trace amount of either. Make your carrot cake cream cheese frosting with a 50-50 mixture of reduced-fat and fat-free cream cheese for about 4 Weight Watchers PlusPoints in every serving.
- Cheesecakefactorynutrition.com: Nutrition Chart
- Weight Watchers: The PointsPlus Program and WeightWatchers.com -- 15 Essentials
- Food Network: Carrot Cake Recipe
- Musselman's: Apple Sauce -- A Healthy Replacement
- Skinny Kitchen With Nancy Fox: Nostalgic and Decadent Carrot Cake Made a Whole Lot Skinnier
- Weight Watchers: Frosted Carrot Cake
- Eating Well: How to Bake With Whole-Wheat Flour
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg Substitute, Liquid or Frozen, Fat Free
- Weight Watchers: Frosted Carrot Cake Cupcakes