If you are like me, a fan of baking with almond flour, you are in for a treat because we are putting my favorite flour to good use and making a paleo-diet friendly almond carrot cake.
Similar to my Almond Flour Vanilla Cake and Chocolate Almond Flour Cake, it is a wonderful, one-layer cake you can make for the upcoming Easter celebration and throughout the spring season. This healthy spin on gluten-free carrot cake recipe with almond flour is also grain-free, refined sugar-free, and Paleo.
For the icing on top of the cake (literally!), the maple frosting is inspired by my Maple Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. It’s a Vegan Paleo Cream Cheese Frosting that transforms this into a completely dairy-free dessert!
Ingredients for the cake:
The ingredients for healthier flourless carrot cake are broken down into the dry ingredients, the wet ingredients, and last-minute additions (aka the goodies).
- Almond Flour / Meal – My favorite brand is Blue Diamond Almond Flour since it is sweet and nutty, but Bob’s Red Mill is another great option. If you have the time, homemade almond flour is even better.
- Ground Golden Flaxseed – I specify golden flaxseed here because you don’t get the little specks of flaxseed throughout the grain-free cake, but the golden version can sometimes be hard to find in stores. Simply use regular ground flaxseed, if that is all you have on hand.
- Baking Powder* + Baking Soda + Fine Sea Salt – For lift, color and flavor, make sure you don’t leave them out! Almond flour needs that extra bit of insurance from the chemical leaveners. *While some people use baking powder while observing a paleo diet, I know that some don’t. If that is you, in place of 1 teaspoon of baking powder, you can mix together 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar.
- Cinnamon + Ginger + Cardamom – This is my favorite part! Cinnamon and ginger are traditional, but it’s the cardamom that takes this carrot cake mix above and beyond – trust me, it makes all the difference!
- Coconut Oil – I used refined coconut oil, which is milder in flavor than unrefined, but either will work. Make sure to melt and cool completely before mixing it into the wet ingredients.
- Eggs – Three large eggs help bind the wet and dry ingredients together. Make sure to bring to room temperature for easy whisking.
- Coconut Sugar – Delicately sweet and fruity, coconut sugar is a paleo-friendly sugar that is (most of the time) an easy 1:1 substitute for refined white sugar.
FUN FACT: When I first began researching this paleo carrot almond flour cake recipe, I was a little confused about the Paleo concept, mainly about which sweeteners are appropriate to use in a paleo recipe. Upon further research, and thanks to this article from America’s Test Kitchen, coconut sugar, along with raw honey, maple syrup, maple sugar, and dried fruit are all paleo-friendly sweeteners.
- Orange Juice – A mere teaspoon goes a long way here, adding a pop of acidity. You will need more orange juice in the vegan frosting recipe, so make sure to keep it on hand.
- Vanilla Extract
- Shredded Carrots – I personally like to peel my carrots, but if yours are organic, feel free to skip that step, and instead, thoroughly scrub the surface. Grate on the smallest holes of your box grater for the best texture.
PRO TIP: Just like my Almond Flour Banana Bread, it is crucial to focus on the weight and measure of the fruit/vegetable used. In that recipe, it was the bananas, and in this one, it is the carrots.
Since they can vary so much in size, it is best to weigh them before adding to the batter. For best results, 6 ounces of carrots shredded on the small holes of a box grater, about 1 ¼ cups measured, produces the perfect amount of carrots-to-cake ratio.
- Chopped Walnuts – For that extra bit of crunch and classic flavor. If you have a few minutes, while you gather the rest of the ingredients, toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in the preheated 350-degree F oven for 5-7 minutes and cool completely.
- Golden Raisins – A bit more sour and sweet than regular raisins, be sure to use the golden variety if you can find them.
- Shredded Unsweetened Coconut – The coconut is optional, but I find it adds that extra layer of texture and flavor. If you can’t get your hands on shredded coconut, you can use an equal amount of coconut flour.
- Diced Fresh Pineapple – Pineapple is another optional ingredient but I highly encourage you to add it as paleo carrot cake with pineapple is much better tasting than without.
Ingredients For Dairy Free Carrot Cake Frosting
Inspired by my Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, this vegan version of carrot cake frosting is just as satisfying.
- Unsalted Vegan Butter – Remove the butter from the fridge while you are preparing the cake recipe. This will be enough time to bring the butter to cool room temperature.
- Vegan Cream Cheese – I personally enjoy Kite Hill Vegan Cream Cheese for all my icing needs.
- Pure Maple Syrup – Another paleo-friendly sweetener, purchase Grade A golden or dark amber.
- Vanilla Extract – The vanilla makes it taste like a homemade cake frosting recipe.
- A Squeeze of Orange/Lemon Juice – That extra pop of fresh citrus flavor makes this frosting to the next level.
How To Make Almond Flour Carrot Cake
This grain-free carrot cake can easily be mixed by hand, no mixer required! Simply:
- Prep your tools. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, place the oven rack in the center of the oven and grease an 8” or 9” cake pan with coconut oil (or you can use a cooking spray as well) and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.
- Mix the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, remaining coconut oil, coconut sugar, orange juice, and vanilla extract until well combined, silky smooth, and emulsified.
- Make the cake batter! Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula until well combined. Fold in the grated carrots, walnuts, golden raisins, pineapple, and coconut (if using). Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and smooth the top.
- Bake! Bake for 1 hour if using an 8-inch cake pan or 50-55 minutes if using a 9-inch cake pan, or until golden brown and the center springs back to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Gently remove from the pan, peeling off the parchment paper bottom and place on the cooling rack to cool completely. This is a good time to make the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting or Dairy Free Icing!
How To Make Paleo Cream Cheese Frosting
I use my refined sugar free cream cheese frosting to finish it off. This way, you get all the flavors of the traditional carrot cake with every bite.
The icing will whisk together much better with an electric stand mixer or hand mixer. Simply:
- Whisk the butter and cream cheese. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment or a large bowl and handheld mixer, beat the vegan butter and cream cheese on medium-high heat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Sweeten it up! Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract, and orange/lemon juice. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through. If the frosting is too soft, chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to stiffen slightly to a spreadable consistency.
Cream Cheese Vs. Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
If you are avoiding all dairy, the vegan cream cheese frosting is a great alternative. I personally used Earth Balance Vegan Butter (affiliate link) and Kite Hill Vegan Cream Cheese. Note the texture will be a bit more grainy and not as thick as regular frosting since the vegan products are looser in terms of consistency. But this makes the entire carrot cake recipe completely Dairy-Free!
The Vegan Cream Cheese recipe makes just enough to frost the cake, but you can double the recipe and use it throughout the week to slather on anything from bagels to paleo pumpkin muffins to almond meal banana bread to low carb almond flour bread!
If dairy is not an issue, try my Maple Cream Cheese Frosting recipe for a more traditional flavor. It is surely a great option for the classic cream cheese frosting made with powdered sugar.
How To Store Leftovers
If you happen to end up with leftovers, you can store this low sugar carrot cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. After about 4 days, the cake will begin to dry out, so I would recommend freezing it after the 4-day mark.
To freeze, place a piece of plastic wrap over the entire opening of your container, seal tight, label, date and freeze for up to 1 month.
A Few Helpful Tips for The Best Cake:
- Use room temperature ingredients for the best paleo carrot cake, but be sure to cold ingredients for the vegan frosting. I know this sounds confusing, but cake mix ingredients that are warm-room temperature combine better, whereas frosting ingredients that are a bit colder whip to a better consistency.
- Bake this flourless carrot cake in the center of your oven. There is where the heat is most even. I tested one cake with the convection setting on my oven, but I still placed my oven rack in the center for added insurance.
- Be sure to treat yourself (or your family) to a slice of carrot cake with a glass of almond milk or a cup of coffee.
This is a one-layer carrot cake recipe, which is much easier to bake and assemble than a layered cake. Feel free to use either an 8 or 9-inch cake pan. Note that the baking times and thickness will vary based on which size you use.
8” Pan: Bake the cake for 1 hour. The cake will be smaller and thicker.
9” Pan: Bake the cake for 50-55 minutes. This will produce a cake that is longer and thinner.
If you prefer individual low carb carrot cakes (paleo carrot cake muffins), divide the batter into a 12-cup muffin tin lined with parchment paper liners. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes.
For paleo carrot cake cupcakes, pipe swirls of dairy-free frosting (or maple cream cheese frosting) on top with a piping bag and decorative pastry tip.
For almond flour carrot muffins, top the unbaked batter with extra chopped walnuts, gently pressing into the top of each muffin so they stick.
Can’t Get Enough Almond Flour Cakes? Here are a few more:
If you enjoyed this grain free carrot cake recipe, you might enjoy our other grain free cakes:
- Almond Flour Apple Cake
- Paleo Zucchini Bread
- Almond Flour Pumpkin Bread
- Banana Bread with Almond Flour
- Strawberry Almond Flour Cake
If you try this Almond Flour Carrot Cake recipe or any other Almond Flour Cake recipes on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Paleo Carrot Cake with Almond Flour Recipe
For The Almond Flour Carrot Cake:
- ¼ cup (56g) Coconut Oil, plus 1 teaspoon for greasing the pan, melted + cooled
- 1 ½ cups (180g) Almond Flour
- 3 Tbsp (21g) Ground Golden Flaxseed
- 1 tsp (4g) Baking Powder* Or Mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar for paleo version
- ¼ tsp (1g) Baking Soda
- ¾ tsp (3g) Fine Sea Salt
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Ground Ginger
- ½ tsp Ground Cardamom
- 3 large Eggs at room temperature
- ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons (125g) Coconut Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Orange Juice freshly squeezed
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 6 oz Carrots about 2 large, scrubbed, grated on the smallest holes of a box grater (1 ¼ cups packed)
- ¼ cup (40g) Diced Fresh Pineapple, optional
- ¼ cup (25g) Toasted, Chopped Walnuts
- ¼ cup (40g) Golden Raisins
- ¼ cup (25g) Shredded Unsweetened Coconut, optional
For The Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 2 Tablespoons (20g) Unsalted Vegan Butter, cool room temperature
- ½ cup (113g) Vegan Cream Cheese, cool room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons (42g) Pure Maple Syrup
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Squeeze of Lemon/Orange Juice about ½ teaspoon
To Make The Paleo Carrot Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease an 8 or 9-inch cake pan with 1 teaspoon coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paperIn a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, remaining coconut oil, coconut sugar, orange juice and vanilla until well combined, silky smooth and emulsified.Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the walnuts, golden raisins and coconut (if using).Fold in the carrots, pineapple (if using), and walnuts.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour (8-inch) or 50-55 minutes (9-inch), or until lightly brown, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the center springs back to the touch.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently remove from the pan, discard the parchment paper and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Top with the frosting.
To Make The Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment or with a large bowl and hand held mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and lemon/orange juice.
- Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through.
- If needed, chill for 10 minutes in the fridge to stiffen slightly to spreadable consistency.
- How To Store: If you happen to end up with leftovers, you can store this low sugar carrot cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. After about 4 days, the cake will begin to dry out, so I would recommend freezing it after the 4-day mark. To freeze, place a piece of plastic wrap over the entire opening of your container, seal tight, label, date and freeze for up to 1 month.
- To Make Muffins (or cupcakes): If you prefer individual low carb carrot cakes, divide the batter into a 12-cup muffin tin lined with parchment paper liners. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes. For paleo carrot cake cupcakes, pipe swirls of dairy-free frosting (or maple cream cheese frosting) on top with a piping bag and decorative pastry tip. And sprinkle it with walnuts.
- If you do not mind a frosting with dairy, you can also use my Maple Cream Cheese Frosting recipe.
- The prep time below does not include the cooling time of the cake. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, I would recommend adding at least 30 minutes for cooling time.
- Baking powder: While some people use baking powder while observing a paleo diet, I know that some don’t. If that is you, in place of 1 teaspoon of baking powder, you can mix together 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar.
This Paleo Carrot Cake recipe was originally published in April 7, 2020. It has been updated with a few more helpful notes and no changes to the originally published recipe on April 2nd, 2022.
I’ve been using your recipes now for two years and every one of them has been fool-proof! My entire family is Paleo and my uncle is a diabetic so your recipes have been a God-send! I’ve made your salads, blueberry almond muffins, banana almond bread, and now I’m going to try this carrot cake.
Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful recipes and please continue making and sharing delicious healthy food!
This is music to my ears, Christine. Thanks so much for your sweet words about my recipes. I truly appreciate the kind words. Cheers!
I’m very happy that you generously sent me this almond flour recipe…do you buy flaxseed ready ground or grind your own please?
YAY! Happy to hear that Jacqueline. You can do both. I personally like to buy them whole and grind myself. Because I put ground flaxseeds in smoothies, soups, and oatmeal as well so I keep some on hand all the time. However, you can buy ground as well.
Hope this helps. I hope you enjoy this delicious almond flour carrot cake as much as we do.
This is my go-to gluten-free carrot cake that I make for my kids. I love that it is made with almond flour and sweetened with mostly fruits. The frosting is an indulgence but nothing like frosting made with sugar-packed & butter-based frosting recipes that most people uses.
The most important thing to do is to make sure to bring it to room temperature before spreading the frosting on top.
Very good recipe indeed.
This is music to my ears Diana. Thanks for sharing your experience and taking the time to leave a review.
Addie Marie Smith
Love the almond flour recipes
Me too! 🙂
Thanks Melissa. So happy to hear that you liked it.
Hi, new to your amazing recipes! For dairy-free cream “cheese”, I have had wonderful feedback from cashew cream, which, as I’m sure you know, can be thinned to any consistency! I’m wondering if you have ever used silwan or agave syrups as sweeteners in baking, and if so, with what kind of success?
Thanks so much for sharing your imagination and hard work!
Good to know about cashew cream. I need to give it a try next time I make this cake.
I am not familiar with silwan. However, I have used agave in baking before. It usually behaves similarly to maple syrup and unless the recipe states otherwise, it can be used interchangeably. I prefer using maple syrup because (1) I live in Vermont and (2) agave syrup is highly processed compared to my favorite sweeteners (maple syrup, coconut sugar, honey, dates, and fruit)
I hope this helps.
Thanks for coming by and your sweet words.
What a beautiful cake! and just in time for Easter:) Do you think it would work if I used applesauce for flax eggs in place of the eggs as a vegan version?
Himmm. That is a great question. Sadly, I don’t know 100% that it would.
However, I have tried using applesauce in place of eggs before and it worked in some recipes. I could assume it would work in this one too. It may have a little bit less “body” but I am pretty sure it would taste good.
Thanks for your kind words. Happy Easter.
Super, thank you – I’ll give it a go:)
Such a healthy and delicious cake! Everyone at my house loved it.
Thanks Toni. I am happy to hear that you guys liked it. Cheers!
So moist and delicious! I made it without raisins because didn’t have any here. We loved it!
That should be totally fine. I am so happy to hear that you liked it as much as we do. Cheers!
This cake is SO delicious, all my family loved it, including my picky kids. Mine took 45 minutes to bake in a round 9in dark pan. I love that it’s made with healthy ingredients, definitely a keeper! Thank you so much!!!
This is music to my ears Melissa. I am thrilled to hear that you and your family enjoyed it.
Thanks so much for coming by and taking the time to leave a review.
I hope you get to try the other almond flour recipes I have on my blog for more healthy-ish desserts.