Paleo Carrot Cake with Vegan “Cream Cheese” Frosting

Paleo carrot cake with vegan “cream cheese” frosting for a grain-free, refined sugar-free dessert! You’d never guess this moist, decadent cake is healthy!

This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill.

Paleo Carrot Cake - grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and healthy! | TheRoastedRoot.net #recipe #dessert #easter #glutenfree

Alternatively titled: The Best Damn Carrot Cake You Ever Did Eat.

Carrot cake. Do you have preferences? My guess is the first thing that pops into your head when you think about your ideal carrot cake is whether or not it has pineapple. Whether or not it includes shredded coconut. Whether or not it’s studded with walnuts. Do we dare bring up the topic of raisins? I’m getting heart palpitations just thinking of all the colors of the carrot cake. With so many options available to you, Zen and the Art of Carrot Cake Making may as well be its own institution.

If you’re like me and you’re easily overwhelmed by options, you probably don’t know where to start when it comes to the never ending supply of carrot cake recipes floating around the internet. I mean, I’m heavily biased, but I think right here is a good place to start… and finish. The ONLY carrot cake recipe you’ll ever need…

…because this this dream boat is:

a.) refined sugar-free

b.) gluten-free and grain-free

c.) dairy-free

d.) packed with protein

e.) prepared in a blender

f.) healthful 

I used Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour to prepare this cake. Dating further back than this iconic recipe for Almond Flour Pancakes, BRM’s almond flour has been my go-to for years. The fact that it’s finely ground makes it absolutely perfect for grain-free baking – with the right recipe, you can’t even tell you’re consuming something gluten-free, not to mention grain-free.

Paleo Carrot Cake - grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and healthy! | TheRoastedRoot.net #recipe #dessert #easter #glutenfree

Which brings me to my next point: You may already know my go-to grain-free flour combo is almond flour and tapioca flour, which is exactly what I did in this cake as well. The two together create the fluffiest cakes and breads. Once you go almond + tapioca, you never go back as far as I’m concerned!

My nightly routine lately has been enjoying a thick slice of this cake with a steamy mug of ginger tea while watching How to Get Away with Murder (<- have you seen it??!!! I’ve never been so sucked in to a TV show in my liiiiifeuuuuuuh!).

Paleo Carrot Cake - grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and healthy! | TheRoastedRoot.net #recipe #dessert #easter #glutenfree

Paleo Carrot Cake - grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and healthy! | TheRoastedRoot.net #recipe #dessert #easter #glutenfree

I frosted this cake using the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting I showed you on Wednesday, keeping the cake au natural, super clean, and above all – light and fresh. If you read Wednesday’s post you know I’m not into super sweet treats, so you can probably guess this cake isn’t as sweet as your run-of-the-mill carrot cake.  For me, it’s the perfect sweetness, but you can 200% add more pure maple syrup, or erythritol/xylitol to further sweeten it.

My intentions for you and the cake is to share it with your family on Easter. But make no mistake, I’m a year-round carrot caker (hence the carrot cake + HtGAwM seshes), as well as a dessert hogger, so if you feel compelled to bake this gorg thing for your onesie on any given Sunday, you do you like you’ve never done you before!

Paleo Carrot Cake - grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and healthy! | TheRoastedRoot.net #recipe #dessert #easter #glutenfree

Per ush, the cake batter is prepared quickly and easily in a blender! I recommend preparing the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting the day or night before to cut down on some of the prep. Should you end up with leftovers, you can either store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator, or wrap them in plastic wrap, stick it in a ziplock bag, and freeze it.

Paleo Carrot Cake - grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and healthy! | TheRoastedRoot.net #recipe #dessert #easter #glutenfree

Options? Get this: 

  • Add 1/3 cup of crushed pineapple (get the canned kind that’s stored in juice, not syrup) and omit the oil.
  • Use a combination of carrots and parsnips – I used parsnips in my Grain-Free Carrot Cake recipe a couple years ago, and it turned out marvelously!
  • Make it vegan by following my recipe for Grain-Free Vegan Carrot Cake.
  • If you’re not into the 2-tier action, you can bake the cake in a single layer in a 13″ x 9″ baking dish.

And that’s it! Make your super tender, moist, fluffy perfectly textured treat for your every brunch gathering.

Paleo Carrot Cake - grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and healthy! | TheRoastedRoot.net #recipe #dessert #easter #glutenfree

Paleo Carrot Cake

Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 1 8-inch 2-tier cake
Author: Julia
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Ingredients

For Frosting:

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two 8-inch cake pans (or spring form pie pans) with parchment paper.

  2. Add all of the ingredients except for the walnuts, raisins, and grated carrot to a blender or food processor and blend until combined. 

  3. Add the walnuts, raisins, and grated carrot and fold into the batter until well-combined.

  4. Divide the cake batter between the two cake pans and spread into an even layer. Bake on the center rack 20 to 25 minutes, or until cakes are golden-brown and test clean when poked in the center. 

  5. Allow cakes to cool 15 minutes, then release them from their pans. Allow them to cool an additional 20 minutes. Place one of the cakes on a cake stand or large plate and frost the top with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting. Place the second cake on top and frost the whole cake with the remainder of the frosting. Garnish with chopped walnuts and cacao nibs, cut into thick slices, and serve!

Recipe Notes

*You can also use olive oil, almond oil, algae oil, etc.

 

**I used pre-grated carrots, but you can also chop up whole carrots and toss them in your food processor to quickly grate them.

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Comments

  1. Lindsay | With Salt and Pepper

    Carrot cake is the only cake I asked for growing up! Our family version is decades old and super heavy on the oil…why did old recipes have to do that?!? We lightened it up over the years but I’m betting this one of yours is WAY better. I’ll definitely have to try it out. Oh, and Bob’s Red Mill for life 🙂

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      Oh heck yeah, You can definitely make the cake into bars/squares! I would use a 13×9 baking dish, because there will be too much batter for an 8×8. Or if 8×8 is all you have, you can halve the batter and bake two batches in the 8×8! Hope you enjoy!! xo

      Reply
  2. marcie

    Nope, I’d never know this was a “clean” cake by looking at it — it looks super moist and fluffy and PERFECT. I love coconut in my carrot cake and love toasted walnuts or pecans on the outside, and besides that anything goes. You did a bang-up job on this carrot cake!

    Reply
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  5. Doreen Colnaghi

    You are the best! W are traveling in our RV. I have all the ingredients, except for a cake pan! Out to get one and this baby is getting made! Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health

    Girl, you always know how to make me drool! Carrot cake is in my top 5 for favorite desserts and I love that this version is dairy-free and healthified. I also appreciate your choice for add-ins because I am not a fan of pineapple in my carrot cake. But raisins and walnuts are totally my jam. Looks so good!

    Reply
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  10. LieutenantLuxe

    My husband ranks carrot cake as one of his favorite birthday confectionary indulgences. Although I avoid sugar and all but a few carbohydrate sources (ketogenic lifestyle) I excitedly decided to try my hand at baking with almond flour for this occasion.

    This recipe is simply incredible. Thank you for sharing this for so many of us to enjoy. Our house guests (very typical Standard American Diet, “S.A.D.”) were so impressed with this cake.

    I used a different brand of almond flour, substituted avocado oil in place of grape seed oil, and omitted the ginger. I made an exception to my avoidance of sugar as the maple syrup was tapped from my aunt’s Vermont Maple trees which made the recipe even more fun to whip up! I greased the round pans with coconut oil as well since I do not routinely bake with parchment paper. Additionally, I added a block of cream cheese to the frosting recipe because none of our guests are vegan; this worked quite well even though I would have liked to follow the frosting recipe as written…it’s just that my guests are used to their “S.A.D.” tastes and textures. I tasted the frosting prior to adding the cream cheese and I think it was very close to a traditional cream cheese frosting, but I noticed the fresh squeezed lemon was somewhat overpowering. In the future, I may swap out the maple syrup for a keto approved sweetener.

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      Thanks so much for the feedback! I’m so glad you and your house guests enjoyed the cake! It’s one of my favorites! The lemon juice in the cashew-based frosting was to give it a sort of cheesecake flavor, since cashews don’t have the same tang as cream cheese, so in essence, if making a cream cheese frosting, there’s no need for lemon juice 😉 Thanks so much for the sweet note!! xoxo

      Reply
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  12. Kim

    My husband LOVES carrot cake and gave this an AMAZING report! He is trying to eat healthier but also have a little bit of ‘sweet’ to enjoy. This was absolutely perfect! He said is was even ‘restaurant worthy!’ Since it is just my husband and me at home now, I decided to cut this recipe down and make just 1/4 of the recipe. I baked it in two ramekins to make a mini-cake that was just the right size without having too much leftover for days which would be sooooo tempting to eat! Thanks for this great recipe!

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      Yaaaaay I’m so happy to get such a rave review from a carrot cake aficionado! I love the idea of scaling the recipe down to size to have individual-sized cakes – this is brilliant! I’ll have to do this, myself! xo

      Reply
  13. Elizabeth

    I love this carrot cake recipe. It’s delicious. Julia, can you offer any tips for how to modify this recipe to leave out the coconut? I’m planning to make this cake for a friend who loves carrot cake for her birthday, but she does NOT like coconut. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Elizabeth! I’m so happy you like the carrot cake recipe! It’s one of my favorites, too! I would just leave out the coconut. If you’d like, you can add just a little bit more carrot to make up for some of the volume, but I wouldn’t be too concerned about omitting the coconut. Hope your friend loves the carrot cake too!

      Reply
  14. T.A.V

    What could I replace the maple syrup with that would make it “very” low to zero % glycemic Keto friendly? I often use stevia drops or pulverized Xyla as sweetenerrs. for baking due to health issues regarding high glycemic sweeteners. Thankyou for this recipe btw!!.

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      Hi there,

      You can definitely use stevia, xylitol, or erythritol to replace the pure maple syrup. You’ll need to compensate for the loss in liquid, so I’d add some coconut milk to offset the loss. Hope you enjoy!

      Reply
  15. Shoshana

    I had never tried or had any reason to try making a dairy-free, grain-free cake before but I’m so glad I took a chance on this recipe! I didn’t doubt Julia because she has never steered me wrong before but I will stop hesitating to make try these types of baked goods in the future. This was an easy and DELICIOUS carrot cake! It is super light and airy and so darn satisfying. I will be making this again, and soon. Thank you Julia!

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      I’m so happy to hear you love the recipe, Shoshana! I appreciate the kind words and you taking the time to share your experience. Many hugs and blessings to you! xo

      Reply
  16. Renee

    I just made a small batch of this to test for Easter and it’s absolutely amazing! I love that it isn’t overly dense like many grain free cakes are. The only think I want to fix before Easter is its lack of sweetness. It wasn’t as sweet as I would like my carrot cake to be, so do you have any suggestions for how to make it sweeter without adding refined sugar or altering the texture of the cake too much?

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Renee,

      I’m so glad you like the cake! You can add some coconut sugar to make it sweeter. I’d start with 1/4 cup and go from there. It shouldn’t mess with the texture of the cake and should bump up the sweetness quite a bit. Thanks for the sweet note! Enjoy! xo

      Reply
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  18. Yvette

    Can I sub the tapioca flour for anything? We recently discovered my son has a potato/potato derivative food intolerance and the list of foods to avoid our ND gave us includes tapioca & arrowroot. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Yvette,

      Can your son have rice flour? If so, replacing the tapioca flour with either rice flour or more almond flour should work nicely. Just note that the cake will not hold together quite as well without the tapioca flour, but it will still taste fabulously 🙂 Hope you enjoy!xo

      Reply
  19. Danielle

    This looks amazing!! I am going to make it for Easter, thank you. Quick question. Can I blend this in my Kitchenaid instead of in a food processor? Or does it need to be pureed? Thank you!

    Reply
  20. Cristina

    This was a great recipe! I made it with pineapple chunks, no oil. Unfortunately, I couldn’t divide the batter between 2 8′ inch pans. I just didn’t have enough batter to spread across both pans, so I just used 1 8′ inch pan. I baked it for 37 minutes. I skipped the frosting and yet, the cake was great. It was not overly sweet however, it had the moistness (carrots/coconut), crunch (walnuts) and the subtle natural hint of sweetness from the raisins. We baked and ate it on Easter Sunday, but I am thinking it will taste even better next day. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    Reply

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