The BEST EVER Healthy Gluten-Free Carrot Cake you’ll ever eat!
The BEST EVER Healthy Carrot Cake you’ll ever make, with wholesome ingredients like almond and coconut flour and naturally sweetened with 100% pure maple syrup. Packed with an incredible combination of spices and slathered with a delicious cream cheese frosting that can easily be dairy free! This sugar-free, paleo-friendly gluten free carrot cake will be your new favourite carrot cake recipe!
Over the past months, carrot cake has become my favourite cake in the world! I love that it’s full of fragrant spices, extremely moist, packed with incredible flavour and lots of texture thanks to carrots, almonds, coconut, juicy raisins and nuts.
Where are my carrot cake lovers at?!
As most of you know, I LOVE baking (secretly healthy) cake recipes for special occasions: caramel swirl cake, chocolate paleo mudcake, my pomegranate and chocolate mousse tart and my 4 ingredient pecan pie are just a few of my favourites.
So I thought to myself, why not make a healthier, sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten free carrot cake that’s just perfect for the spring weather, comforting in winter and especially delightful for Easter. It’s basically perfect to enjoy year-round as carrots are always in season and super affordable. To make it healthier, I used natural unrefined sweeteners, and also tested with stevia baking blend, gluten free flours (which also are packed with fibre and healthy fats) and a few other special ingredients to keep it wonderfully moist and true to the classic carrot cake we all know and love.
BEST EVER Healthy Carrot Cake Ingredients
This healthy gluten-free carrot cake requires a few special ingredients, but trust me when I say that this will be the BEST EVER healthy gluten-free carrot cake you’ll EVER get to enjoy! Here’s what you need:
- Almond flour: I recommend using a fine blanched almond flour (almonds without the skin ground into flour). You can use almond meal (skin-on) however, the texture will not be as lovely. Make sure you pack in the almond flour like you would with sugar!
- Coconut flour: this is a wonderful gluten free flour which absorbs moisture in recipes, whilst also adding nutrition and fibre. There is no need to pack the coconut flour this time.
- Shredded coconut: make sure the shredded coconut is unsweetened and preservative-free. This adds amazing taste and texture, and healthy fats of course.
- Spices: cinnamon is an absolute must in most of my favourite desserts! And this spices combination is no exception for this recipe.
- Vanilla extract: an essential for every dessert aswell.
- Eggs: this recipe uses three eggs to help with the fluffy texture, taste and consistency. I haven’t tried vegan, but you could try 3 or 4 flax eggs.
- Coconut sugar: There is nothing better than coconut sugar! This unrefined, natural sweetener is such a lovely touch to this cake and adds so much caramelly sweetness and more moisture.
- Olive or Coconut oil: these two oils are the healthiest and great for baking! I like to use a light flavoured extra virgin olive oil, but coconut oil is fab too. If you don’t want to use oil, you can always use melted butter.
- Carrots: this recipe uses 3-4 carrots, grated! I recommend small or medium grate for my carrot cake recipes, you’d never guess this delicious cake is packed with vegetables. 😉
Tips for making this healthy carrot cake:
- You’ll need these basic kitchen tools for this recipe: 8 inch cake pans, baking paper, an offset spatula for the frosting, two mixing bowls and a pretty cake stand.
- Make sure you follow the method carefully and correctly, and wait until the cakes are completely cool before frosting them. If you cannot finish this cake in 4-5 days (unlikely!) then it is recommended to not frost cake, and store cake in the freezer without frosting. It is fine if you would like to freeze frosted cake however.
- You can grate the carrots in a food processor with the grater attachment, or you can grate by hand of course.
- Do a crumb coat for the frosting first, by frosting the cake as normal with a very thin layer of frosting, then refrigerating for about 10-15 minutes before you finish with a thicker layer of frosting. This is so that the crumbs stick to this layer of frosting and not your main layer.
- You can make this cake 1-2 days ahead of time and it will still be incredibly delicious!
How to store & freeze this healthy carrot cake
One of the best parts about this healthy carrot cake recipe is that you can make it a couple days in advance, about 1-2 days. I like to make the cakes ahead of time and keep them in the fridge without frosting, and frost right before serving, but you can also store it after you’ve frosted the cake, too!
How to store carrot cake: you can store the cake covered in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. You can eat cold or microwave, just be mindful the frosting will melt!
To freeze: you can freeze this cake either frosted or unfrosted for up to 2 months. I recommend freezing it unfrosted an in separate layers for best results. Wrap each individual layer in plastic wrap. When you’re ready to eat, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
How to make a paleo carrot cake:
To make this carrot cake cake paleo, simply use a dairy free cream cheese and coconut sugar option. For the frosting you can blitz the coconut sugar in the food processor until it is powder.
Is carrot cake healthy?
Most traditional carrot cake recipes are made with butter, sugar, and flour, making it a decadent, calorie-rich dessert especially when served with regular cream cheese frosting! This healthy carrot cake recipe, however, is made better-for-you with natural ingredient swaps such as almond flour, coconut oil, shredded coconut, and sweetener.
Can I substitute almond flour for coconut four?
The short answer to this is NO. Almond flour and coconut flour can NOT be swapped 1:1 as coconut flour is highly absorbent and a completely different texture to almond flour. You’ll need to find a grain-free specific carrot cake recipe if you want to go that route.
Read OR watch the video below to learn how to make this easy healthy gluten free carrot cake:
I just know you’re going to love this healthy gluten free carrot cake, so please let me know if you try it by leaving a comment and rating the recipe below! I’d love to hear from you as nothing makes me happier and it helps encourage others to make the recipe too!
Watch the healthy gluten free carrot cake recipe video on my YouTube channel below and subscribe for more healthy recipes!
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Enjoy! Amy xx
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Time: Prep: 15 minutes | Bake: 20 minutes | Total: 35 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups (130g) almond flour
- 1/2 cup (60g) sweetener (sugar replacement such as stevia baking blend or coconut sugar)
- 1/2 cup (50g) shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1 cup shredded carrots – about 2 medium or 140g/5 ounces
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup (50g) coconut or olive oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup nuts, chopped (walnuts, pecans, pepitas) (optional to roast for 8 minutes at 175°C)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 packet (225g/8 ounces) low fat cream cheese*
- Optional: 2 tbsp unsalted butter*, room temp
- 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar (I blitz sweetener in a high powered blender if sugar-free)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- CAKE: Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F. Line an 8-inch round cake pans with baking paper, then lightly grease.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sweetener, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
- Make a hole in the middle of the bowl and pour in the carrot, eggs, oil and vanilla, whisking together until smooth and creamy. Combine wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Stir through optional mix-ins.
- Pour batter into pan and smooth the top with a spoon. Bake until the cake is golden brown on top, a toothpick inserted into the center of the layers comes out clean, and the tops spring back lightly when touched about, 20 to 25 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, before running a dull knife around edges to release the cake then invert them onto the rack to cool completely.
- FROSTING: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smoothly combined, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate to firm up while the cake continues baking and cools. If it firms up too much to spread easily depending upon how long you keep it in your fridge, let stand at room temp until softened until you can spread it on top.
Double cake recipe to make two tiers like the images!
To make muffins: make recipe as above, then fill 7 muffin greased muffin holes and bake at 175°C/350°F for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
*To make dairy free/paleo: use vegan butter (like Earth Balance) and a vegan dairy free cream cheese. You may also need to use a paleo powdered sugar, such as coconut sugar that is ground up into a powder in the food processor.
To make vegan: I haven’t tried making this cake vegan, but you can try 3 or 4 flax/chia eggs (4 tablespoons of flaxseed/chia seed meal soaked in 12 tablespoons water for 5 minutes until gel-like consistency). Vegan butter or Nuttelex for the frosting. If you try this please be sure to report your results in the comments!
To store carrot cake: I recommend storing the cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze: feel free to freeze this carrot cake either frosted or unfrosted for up to 2 months. I recommend freezing it unfrosted an in individual layers for best results. First, wrap each individual layers in plastic wrap. When you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the fridge overnight and then let the cake come to room temperature before serving.