Grain-free, paleo carrot cake made with almond flour and sweetened with pure maple syrup. Top it with cashew-based vegan cream cheese frosting for a healthier take on the classic dessert.
By my calculations, there are two types of cake: carrot cake, and all the other cakes. This is not to say I’m not partial to all the other cakes…I totally dig them. But carrot cake? It’s an entirely different species of baked good in my mind. It is, in a word, the dopest of all the cakes.
For this reason, I rarely bake carrot cake without close supervision. For when I do so un-chaperoned, I eat half the cake in one standing (because the feeding is too aggressive to complete while peacefully seated). Anyone know what 1-½ cups of almond flour + ¼ cup of pure maple syrup feels like in your stomach organ? Bliss. Heavy, heavy bliss.
I’ve been paying close attention to all the healthy carrot cake recipes out there, and I’ve observed a couple of things: 1.) When grain-free and paleo, the recipe usually includes eggs (which is totally fine for non-vegan folks such as myself), and 2.) Most of the vegan carrot cake recipes I’ve found usually incorporate all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour (which is totally fine for folks who eat grains). I haven’t come across a recipe that is grain-free, vegan, naturally sweetened, and primal or Whole30-friendly. Which is how this cake was born.
There’s so much going on with this cake, I’m going to break the whole thing down. It is…
- Gluten-free and grain-free
- Made with almond flour
- Good source of protein and omega 3s
- Refined sugar-free and naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup
- Topped with non-dairy, refined sugar-free vegan cream cheese frosting made with raw cashews and pure maple syrup
- A healthful alternative to your standard cake
The cashew-based vegan cream cheese frosting…this is nuts.
Get it? Because it’s made with nuts? I know, it’s a riot.
There’s no shortage of vegan cream cheese frosting recipes on the interweb, but most of them use vegan cream cheese (which is typically soy-based) and powdered sugar. To ramp up the health benefits of the recipe, a cashew-based “cream cheese” frosting sweetened with pure maple syrup keeps it ultra clean. Do note, some paleo people object to cashews, so if you have allergies or are following a strict diet, you can omit the frosting or use a whipped coconut milk topping instead.
To make the cake vegan, I used flax “eggs,” but you can also use your egg replacer of choice. Chia eggs, and/or applesauce will work marvelously. If you aren’t vegan, you can replace the ground flax seed and water in the recipe with three regular eggs. This will result in a fluffier cake. You can also use honey to replace the pure maple syrup in both the cake and the frosting if you’re fine with the recipe being non-vegan.