Dietitian's tip: This modified carrot cake uses applesauce in place of half the oil, and fat-free cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese. These simple substitutions cut the fat by two-thirds and calories by one-third.
1 1/3 cups shredded carrots
3 cups water
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup corn oil
1/2 cup applesauce
5 egg whites from large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup canned, crushed pineapple (in own juice), drained
For the frosting
4 ounces fat-free cream cheese spread, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch cake pan with cooking spray. Dust with a bit of flour (about 1 tablespoon) and turn the pan over to remove most of it.
In a medium saucepan, add the carrots and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the water and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon.
In another bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat together the oil, applesauce, egg whites and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until well blended. Fold in the cooked carrots, walnuts, coconut and pineapple.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely on the cooling rack, about 1 hour.
To make the frosting, using an electric mixer slowly beat the cream cheese in a small mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar slowly and continue beating. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Mix until smooth. Frost the top and sides of the cake.