This Gluten Free Carrot Cake is tender, moist and made with almond flour, shredded coconut, pecans with a delicious dairy-free cream cheese frosting. It’s a healthy, paleo, grain-free, refined sugar-free dessert with warm spices that is perfect for spring and Easter. Includes low carb and keto options.
Easy Gluten Free Carrot Cake for Spring
Looking for a delicious dessert for Easter? Carrot cake is a must for this time of year and this Gluten-Free Carrot Cake is one of our favorite desserts for Spring.
It’s packed with coconut, pecans and carrots and all those amazing flavors we love in a classic carrot cake but without any wheat or refined-sugar. It bakes up tender, moist and full of delicious flavor with warm and cozy spices. The best part is that our healthy carrot cake recipe is easy to make and doesn’t require a mixer!
My family loves all things carrot cake and this is always a hit at our dessert table.
Why we love this paleo carrot cake:
- healthy, delicious, tender, moist and easy to make
- refined-sugar free, paleo, gluten-free and dairy-free without the frosting
- perfect for Easter or any spring celebrations
Where did carrot cake come from?
Nobody really knows the full history behind carrot cake but many food historians believe carrot cake originated from carrot puddings eaten by Europeans in the Middle Ages. It wasn’t until the second World War that it became popular because of rationing.
So there you have it. I mean, who would have thought that putting vegetables in a cake would be delicious? My kids actually love carrots and when they first heard about carrot cake they actually thought it would taste horrible but now they think that carrot cake is the best
Healthy Carrot Cake Ingredients
Classic award winning carrot cake recipes are typically made with a combination of butter, all purpose flour, eggs, raisins, sugar, pineapple and cozy spices like cinnamon, nutmeg with crunchy walnuts or pecans.
Our recipe for grain-free carrot cake is made with the following ingredients:
Almond Flour: Be sure to use superfine blanched almond flour and not almond meal. Almond flour is the main nut flour providing most of the bulk. Measure properly using the spoon and level method.
Coconut flour: This gluten free flour provides structure to the cake and absorbs moisture so be sure to measure properly. When combined with almond flour, it balances out the flavor of gluten free cakes to mimic classic flour cakes.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda: leavening powders that work together to help the cake rise.
Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves give the cake that classic carrot cake flavor and make the cake taste amazing.
Vanilla extract, maple extract and salt: bring out the flavors from all the other ingredients.
Granulated maple sugar: a paleo-friendly granulated form of maple syrup that is refined sugar-free. If you don’t have maple sugar on hand, you can sub with coconut sugar as well but the color will be much darker.
Melted coconut oil: makes the carrot cake tender and moist and adds a light coconut flavor. You can also use any other neutral flavored oil or melted butter if you are not dairy-free.
Eggs: help to give the cake structure and bind everything together.
Almond milk: or any other milk (dairy-free or not) of your choice
Vinegar: combine with the almond milk and let it sit for 5 minutes until curdled = homemade vegan dairy-free buttermilk to make the cake soft and ultra moist.
Unsweetened shredded coconut: adds texture, crunch and bring out the flavors of the cake.
Grated carrots: I like using finely grated carrots and usually use a hand grater. However, you can use a food processor or a or buy pre-grated carrots from the store.
Nuts: chopped pecans or walnuts add texture and crunch to the cake. However, I know that some people prefer carrot cake without nuts so feel free to leave them out if you want a nut-free carrot cake.
Raisins: be sure to use no-sugar added raisins.
How to make Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
PREHEAT THE OVEN AND PREP THE CAKE PANS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat three 6-inch round cake pans or two 8-inch cake pans with nonstick baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper rounds. Set-aside.
MAKE THE CAKE BATTER:
MIX THE DRY INGREDIENTS: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.
COMBINE THE WET INGREDIENTS: Combine almond milk and vinegar together in a measuring cup and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes, until curdled. Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, golden monk fruit, coconut oil, vanilla extract and maple extract until smooth. Add the curdled almond milk then stir in the carrots and shredded coconut.
ADD DRY INGREDIENTS TO THE WET INGREDIENTS: Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add chopped nuts, if using.
TRANSFER THE CAKE BATTER TO THE PANS: Evenly divide the batter between the baking pans and smooth out the tops with a spatula.
BAKE THE CAKE: Bake for 21-24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
COOL THE CAKE LAYERS: Allow paleo carrot cake layers to cool in the cake pans for at least 30 minutes, then carefully remove from cake pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely to room temp before frosting.
Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Frosting
Most classic carrot cakes call for an easy cream cheese frosting. For this vegan cream cheese frosting recipe, you’re only going to need 4 simple ingredients:
- vegan butter – we like Miyokos – may sub with unsalted grass-fed butter or ghee if not dairy-free.
- dairy-free cream cheese – we like Kite Hill. You can also sub with regular cream cheese if not dairy-free.
- vanilla extract
- powdered monk fruit sweetener (or confectioners’ SWERVE) OR powdered maple sugar
- heavy cream – use coconut milk for dairy free
Assemble and decorate:
When it comes to frosting and assembling a dairy-free carrot cake, it’s just like any other classic layer cake and couldn’t be easier .
- Once the paleo carrot cake layers are completely cool, invert the bottom cake layer onto a cake stand or cake platter and add a layer of frosting, smoothing with a spatula.
- Repeat with second and third layer (for 6″ inch cake) then decorate the top layer (and sides of the cake, if desired) with remaining frosting.
- Garnish with piped carrots or chopped pecans, if desired and chill in the fridge for an hour or two before slicing.
To store leftover gluten-free carrot cake, store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or cover with plastic wrap and store in a resealable freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Cream cheese frosting can be left at room temperature for up to 8 hours. After 8 hours, store cream cheese frosting in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days or 3 months in the freezer.
Tips for success to make the the best carrot cake:
Carrot cakes really are one of the world’s most delicious health food and everyone loves them. To ensure you get the best cake every single time, here are some tips to help you along:
- Measure your flours properly by using the spoon and sweep method
- Allow the cake layers to cool completely before frosting
- Carrot cakes can grow mold if not stored properly especially if your kitchen is hot. As long as your kitchen isn’t hot – be sure to cover and store in the fridge overnight for up to 5 days if not eating right away.
The great thing about making your own carrot cake is that you can use ingredients to your liking.
Try swapping out the coconut oil with pineapple or applesauce to your carrot cake batter. This will add even more moisture to the cake. If using canned pineapple, be sure to drain it first before adding to the cake.
Other gluten-free cake recipes you will love:
This Gluten Free Carrot Cake is tender, moist and made with almond flour, shredded coconut, pecans with a delicious cream cheese frosting. It's a healthy, paleo, grain-free, refined sugar-free dessert with warm spices that is perfect for spring and Easter. Includes low carb and keto options.
- 2 cups superfine blanched almond flour
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk , room temperature (can also use any milk of your choice)
- 4 large eggs , room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated maple sugar , can sub with coconut sugar / brown sugar but the color will be much darker. Use granulated monk fruit sweetener / brown SWERVE for low carb / keto
- 2/3 cup melted and cooled coconut oil , or other neutral flavored oil
- 1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure maple extract , omit if you can't find it but HIGHLY recommended as it adds dimension and flavor OR swap with 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1.5 cups finely grated carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans , or walnuts
- raisins , if not low carb or keto
- 1/3 cup vegan butter , softened, we like Miyokos - (may sub with grass-fed butter or ghee IF not dairy-free)
- 8 ounces dairy-free cream cheese , softened (we like Kite-Hill - feel free to use regular cream cheese if not dairy-free)
- 2 - 2.5 cups powdered monk fruit sweetener , or other confectioners' low carb / paleo sweetener of your choice (SWERVE, erythritol or powdered coconut sugar)
- 1.5 teasoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond milk , or any other milk of your choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly coat three 6-inch round cake pans or two 8-inch cake pans with nonstick baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper rounds. Set-aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.
In a measuring cup, measure out the almond milk then add the vinegar. Allow to sit and curdle for about 5 minutes while you mix the other ingredients.
In another separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sweetener, coconut oil, vanilla and maple extract if using. Pour in the curdled milk and mix until combined. Stir in the carrots and shredded coconut.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until well combined. Add chopped nuts / raisins if using.
Evenly divide the batter between the baking pans and smooth out the tops with a spatula. Bake for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cool in the cake pans for at least 30 minutes, then carefully remove from cake pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely to room temp before frosting.
Using a hand mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add the softened butter and beat on high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and continue beating for an additional 3 minutes until combined. Slowly add the powdered sweetener, vanilla extract and almond milk and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Cover and chill in the fridge until ready to frost.
Once the cake layers are completely cool, invert the bottom cake layer onto a cake stand or cake platter and add a layer of frosting, smoothing with a spatula. Repeat with second and third layer (for 6" inch cake) then decorate the top layer (and sides of the cake, if desired) with remaining frosting. Top with piped on carrots or chopped pecans, if desired and chill in the fridge for an hour or two before slicing.
Store cake covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.