Grain-Free Carrot Cake Muffins (Paleo)

You’re going to slap me in the face when you find out what’s in these carrot cake muffins. Spoiler alert: it’s a parsnip.

Grain-Free Carrot Cake Muffins (paleo) made with almond flour for a healthy breakfast or treat | 

The snow hath fallen!!! Okay, not a uuuuge amount…just a little sprinkle sprinkle to keep things real…just enough to take pretty pictures and go fiddle around in, but every bit counts.

One of my favorite things to do during a snowstorm is bake, and there’s something about this time of year that screams, “carrot cake” to me.

I’m not much of a cake person, but carrot cake? It’s like the Dave Grohl of cakes. The Danny DeVito, Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Bette Midler, Stephen Colbert, Alexandre Dumas, Snoop Dogg of cakes. I know. It makes no sense, but that’s why it’s so good.

And get this: there is a parsnip in these cake muffs. I know. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Grain-Free Carrot Cake made with almond flour| - gluten free, refined sugar-free, and healthy enough for breakfast #recipe #dessert #glutenfree

The parsnip makes the carrot cake taste 56,784,098 times better than an all-carrot carrot cake. That’s a lie. It really tastes no different. But we get brownie points for wise use of parsnips, right? We may not have control over all the things in life, but we 200% have power over how we eat our parsnips. Let’s eat them in cake.


How do you make your carrot cake? Do you give the carrots a little pre-soak in hot water? That’s what I do. I like to believe a hot water bath allows the sweetness of the veggies to come out…but it could just be an extra unnecessary step, who knows?

Do you add walnuts and raisins and pineapple and all those carrot cake-ly things? As much as I love a good crunch, I like my carrot cake sans crunch. You may adjust as necessary by adding your crunch-ables.



Grain-Free Carrot Cake Muffins (paleo) made with almond flour for a healthy breakfast or treat | TheRoastedRoot.comI made the cake into portion-controlled muffins, but you can also bake the batter in an 8″ x 8″ cake pan. The recipe turns out light and fluffy, and the muffins are perfect for breakfast-on-the-go. For my next go-round, I’ll have to quadruple the recipe, because 7 joyful carrot cakes is simply not enough.


To summarize: parsnip + carrot + almond flour + pure maple syrup make this a super healthy take on classic carrot cake. Like why wouldn’t you eat your protein and vegetables in the form of cake?

And why wouldn’t you make muffins out of it because: portion control? And why wouldn’t you eat every last portion-controlled muffin in one sitting while marathon-watching Parenthood on Netflix? You would.

Bake some edibles!

Grain-Free Carrot Cake Muffins (paleo) made with almond flour for a healthy breakfast or treat |

Grain-Free Carrot Cake Muffins (Paleo)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 7 muffins
Author: Julia



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly oil a muffin pan (you'll only need to oil 7 holes)
  2. Heat a small pot of water and bring to a full boil. Peel and chop the parsnip and carrot in half. Place in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then immediately strain the water, pat dry, and allow the veggies to cool. When cool enough to handle, grate the veggies using a box grater.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and sea salt (dry mixture).
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, grapeseed oil, fresh ginger, and the grated carrot and parsnip (wet mixture).
  5. Add the wet mixture to the bowl with the dry mixture and mix until well-combined.
  6. Fill the oiled muffin holes 2/3 full of cake batter and sprinle with shredded coconut. Place muffin tray on the center rack of your oven and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until muffins are cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Run a butter knife along the perimeter of the muffins to release them from the muffin tray.

Recipe Notes

*You can replace the grapeseed oil with melted coconut oil or olive oil


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  1. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan

    Wait there are so many veggies and good stuff in here, but they look sooo good!! I’ve never heard of soaking the veggies before using them, buuuut that’s about to go on my list on things to try, done and done!

  2. Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health

    Carrot cake is my all-time favorite!! I do like mine with a little crunch so I usually add walnuts but no pineapple. That’s too much.

    I love the idea of adding pah-snips and fresh ginger. And the fact that they’re naturally sweetened. Sounds so good and just what I need on a Monday morning. Gimme!!

  3. tina

    these looks beyond awesome! i wanted to thank you for the carrot and parsnip measurements. i find that its difficult when a recipe says 1 small carrot or 1 medium pumpkin. measurements are so subjective, so your spelling it out really helps me! cant wait to get home and bake.

  4. Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits

    How much do I love you for making these, and no I don’t want to slap you for adding parsnips in here. That is SUCH a good idea!!! Also, the carrot pre-soak is definitely something I’ve never tried before. I totally believe you when you say it draws out the sweetness of everything. Gah, I can just imagine how lovely this makes my apartment smell when I make a batch of it!

  5. Izzy

    You totally read my mind! I was just thinking yesterday that I needed some carrot cake in my life and now here it is!! I’m also so intrigued by the addition of the parsnisp! I’ve actually never made carrot cake from scratch before, but I have eaten a lot of carrot cake in my day and I just can’t get enough!!

  6. Andrea @ Deglazing Delicious

    The only reason I wanna slap you is because these look “slap ya in the face good”.
    I LOOOOOOOOVE carrot cake. Hands down my fav dessert….tied with cheesecake.
    I cant wait to make these. Brownie points for adding an extra veggie and making us feel so good about eating carrot bake. Boo YA!

  7. Stephie

    You know that we’ve always called parsnips albino carrots. You’ll meet my Uncle Steve…he’s the parsnip-eater in the family (well, Uncle Michael might eat them, too, but I can’t remember). So, using them in the carrot cake is a great idea. But, I’m sorry. I need my crunch. And my raisins. But maybe not pineapple. Unless I’m in a pineapple mood. Hey. Let’s make these together soon. Because, clearly we won’t have much else to do that weekend.

  8. Katie (The Muffin Myth)

    Okay, so my mom makes the best carrot cake in the universe (it has crushed pineapple and walnuts up in it) but this looks pretty good too. It’s actually the 2nd recipe I’ve seen this week for cake with parsnip in it, so it must be a sign that I should make this!

  9. Annie @ Natural Sweet Recipes

    You are my veggie hero! What an awesome and creative recipe. I have to admit, I’m not even sure I’ve ever eaten parsnip!! How sad but I now have a very valid reason to get some asap. I can’t believe the ingredient list for these by looking at those pictures! They look too amazing to be stuffed with veggies!!

  10. Joanne

    Oooo I”ve never presoaked my carrots before! Definitely going to have to try that. Carrot cake is ultimate favorite cake…I can only imagine it’s better with parsnips.

    1. Julia Post author

      I’ve been wondering if cooking carrots then pureeing them makes for a better cake. I think we need to test this with all the flours and all the carrots, because: research 😉

  11. Larice

    I made these over the weekend. Mmmmm! They baked up so pretty and tasted delicious – perfect! I topped with a little melted coconut butter. So good. Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. Julia Post author

      So happy you made and enjoyed them!! I ate them with full-fat coconut milk drizzled on top so we must be on the same wavelength 😉

  12. Ayaan

    THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST MUFFIN RECIPE EVER. sorry I had to shout there. I’m making a massive batch next time, they were a hit in our house and with friends. Thank you

    1. Julia Post author

      Wahooooooo I’m so happy to hear you like the muffins! Now that you mention it, I’m psyched to make a big batch, myself! Having a steady supply of homemade muffins in the house is always a good thing. Thanks so much for the feedback, Ayaan!

  13. Tracy

    All the paleo recipes always have honey or maple syrup. I try not to use any sweetners or at least xylitol or erythritol, could I use this instead? Or at least reduce the amount of maple syrup?

    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Tracy! You could definitely try xylitol or erythritol, but I have no clue as to how much you would use…I’ve never baked with either of those sweeteners but I know they come in pretty handy for lots of folks who bake sugar-free. Let me know if you end up trying the recipe subbing in the xy/ery! 😀

  14. Robyn

    I just made these and I’m a bit confused about the amount of carrots and parsnips you used. Are you calling for 1 cup of each shredded or 1/3 cup each? I used 1 cup each because I didn’t really get what the 1/3 was referring to if it was calling for a cup. But then I ended up with 4 more muffins than you. They’re still in the oven so not sure how they turned out.

    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Robyn,

      My sincere apologies for the confusion! I changed recipe plugins a few months ago, and not all of my recipes transferred over correctly (this being one of them). It should be 1 carrot and 1 parsnip, which turns into roughly 1/3 cup of shredded for each (2/3 cup total). I edited the recipe to reflect this change. I hope you enjoy!

  15. Kathy

    This carrot cake muffin was incredibly delicious. I skipped the parsnips ( I didn’t have any), used all carrots, added plumped raisins and some walnuts and bit of coconut.

    Frosted with a bit of cream cheese mixed with maple syrup.

    Incredibly moist.


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