This doctored-up boxed cake mix makes for a moist, low-cal treat in no time.

By Lisa Lillien
June 03, 2019 12:01 PM

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of thirteen books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

I love a good shortcut. And when it comes to baking, I’m all about doctoring up boxed cake mix to give it homemade taste without adding unnecessary calories. Go on: Impress your pals, family members and neighbors with this one.

First-Rate Frosted Carrot Cake
Serves 8

⅓ cup reduced-fat cream cheese
3 Tbsp. light butter
½ tsp. plus ⅛ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 ¾ cups moist-style yellow cake mix (about half a box)
1 ½ cups shredded carrots, finely chopped
½ cup (about 4 large) egg whites or fat-free liquid egg substitute
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ oz. (about 2 Tbsp.) chopped walnuts

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9″ round cake pan with nonstick spray.
2. To make the frosting, combine cream cheese, butter, and ⅛ tsp. vanilla extract in a medium-large bowl. With an electric mixer set to medium speed, beat until smooth, 1 – 2 minutes. Continue to beat while gradually adding powdered sugar. Beat until smooth, another 1 – 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate.
3. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, carrots, egg, cinnamon, baking powder and remaining ½ tsp. vanilla extract. Add 1 cup water and whisk until smooth. Pour batter into the cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 24 – 26 minutes.
4. Let cake cool completely, about 30 minutes in the pan and 30 minutes out of the pan on a cooling rack.
5. Spread the top with frosting, and sprinkle with walnuts. (Refrigerate leftovers.)

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Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Cool time: 1 hour

Nutritional Information: ⅛th of cake: 220 calories, 7.5g total fat (2.5g sat fat), 415mg sodium, 34.5g carbs, 1g fiber, 20g sugars, 3.5g protein

‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!

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