Our paleo carrot cake recipe is an absolute dream! So easy to make, and made completely gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, and dairy free. With ingredients like grated carrots, crushed pineapple, coconut sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and ginger (to name a few), each bite of this super moist springtime cake is rich and full of flavor. Perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, or anytime you’re craving a better-for-you sweet treat!
🥕 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- This carrot cake recipe not only gives you a perfectly paleo, refined-sugar-free, dairy-free, grain-free, and gluten-free carrot cake, but it gives you one that checks all those boxes WHILE ALSO tasting exactly like a traditional carrot cake. Seriously, no one would ever know you didn’t use regular flour or granulated sugar or dairy-loaded cream cheese.
- Because it’s made with oil, fresh carrots, and juicy crushed pineapple, there’s a ton of moisture in the sponge of the carrot cake. Don’t worry, it doesn’t feel oily or wet or mushy. Just unbelievably moist and tender! Pepper that with pieces of crunchy pecans and slather it with a rich paleo “cream cheese” frosting, and you’ve got a decadent, indulgent spring dessert.
- If you’re prepping for a holiday meal or a big party, add this carrot cake recipe to your list of dishes you can make ahead of time. Your first option is to bake the cake layers the day before, let them cool completely, then wrap each layer tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate them until you’re ready to frost them. If you’ve already stacked the cake layers and frosted everything, pop the cake straight into the fridge, uncovered. As long as you haven’t cut into it yet, it can stay uncovered until you’re ready to serve it.
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- Not feeling a layered carrot cake? You can totally make this as a carrot cake sheet cake instead! Just keep in mind that this is written to give you three 8-inch round layers of carrot cake. If you use the same quantities for a single layer 9×13 cake, you’ll have a little batter leftover. Don’t fill your baking dish more than ⅔ of the way, though, or the batter can overflow as it bakes. You’ll also need to adjust the bake time – one large cake generally needs a little more time.
- Like any good carrot cake recipe, this paleo carrot cake is finished off with a thick “cream cheese” frosting. If you’re new to this frosting, just know that it’s not as thick and fluffy as a buttercream, which means it also won’t cover quite like a buttercream. Chilling it can help thicken it up, but don’t panic if you end up with spots where the cake shows through.
- Speaking of the frosting – even though there’s no dairy in the recipe, you’ll still want to store your carrot cake in the fridge rather than at room temperature. Keeping it at room temperature can make the frosting too warm, which may cause it to slide off the cake. Plus, there’s a lot of moisture in the cake itself, so it can go bad pretty quickly if it’s left out for too long.
- Don’t use prepackaged shredded carrots. I know they can be a time saver, but they’re usually pretty dry and bland – two things you definitely don’t want for a cake. Trust me when I say that whole carrots grated specifically for this recipe are the way to go!
🌷 More Delicious Springtime Recipes You’ll Love
- Paleo Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Amazing Creamy Grape Salad with Pecans
- Air Fryer Hard Boiled Eggs
- Paleo Lemon Bars
- Whole30 Quiche Lorraine with Hash Brown Crush (Paleo, Gluten Free)
- Perfect Easy Peel Hard and Soft Boiled Eggs
- Carrot Cake Paleo Breakfast Bake with “Cream Cheese” Glaze (Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free)
- Ham Gravy
- Gluten-Free Lemon Cake
- Tarragon Chicken Salad with Almonds
For the Carrot Cake
- 5 large organic brown eggs at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups coconut sugar
- 1 cup refined coconut oil melted but not hot
- 1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 8-ounce cans organic crushed pineapple drained well, see Notes
- 3 cups grated carrots see Notes
- 3 cups fine almond flour
- 6 tablespoons coconut flour
- 6 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 ¼ cups finely chopped pecans see Notes
- 1 pinc salt
For the "Cream Cheese" Frosting
- 16 ounces dairy-free cream cheese softened
- ½ cup refined coconut oil softened; or 4 ounces ghee, softened
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
Suggested Toppings (Optional)
- finely chopped pecans
- 3 round metal cake pans 8-inch diameter
- Cooking spray or ghee, or refined coconut oil
- parchment paper
- large mixing bowl
- Silicone spatula
- medium mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- offset spatula or butter knife
- decorating turntable or large plate, or cake stand
- Wax paper optional
For the Carrot Cake
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Adjust oven racks as needed so cake pans will sit in center of oven.
- Cut parchment paper to fit inside cake pans (see Notes below), then grease bottom and sides of each cake pan with cooking spray, ghee, or coconut oil. Fit parchment paper circle in bottom of each cake pan and set pans aside.
- Crack eggs directly into large mixing bowl. Whisk eggs well until just combined, being careful not to over-whisk.
- Add coconut sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract to egg mixture. Whisk until ingredients are just combined.
- Add crushed pineapple, grated carrots, almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger to bowl. Continue whisking until ingredients are well combined and batter is thick and mostly smooth. Be careful not to over-mix.
- When batter ingredients are fully incorporated, add chopped pecans to mixture. Gently fold in pecans until just distributed.
- Transfer cake batter into prepared cake pans, making sure to fill cake pans evenly.
- Place filled cake pans in preheated oven. Bake cake layers 20 minutes. Note: if 3 cake pans won't fit on one oven rack, split pans between 2 racks. Bake 10 minutes, then rotate pans and bake 10 minutes more.
- After 20 minutes, begin testing doneness of cake layers. Insert toothpick into center of each cake layer, then quickly remove toothpick. If toothpick does not come out of cake with very few crumbs, continue baking cake layers, checking doneness every 1 to 2 minutes.
- Once toothpick can be removed from cake covered in few crumbs, remove cake pans from oven and set aside. Allow cake layers to rest in cake pans until layers are completely cool.
For the "Cream Cheese" Frosting
- Add softened cream cheese, softened coconut oil, vanilla extract, and maple syrup to medium mixing bowl. Use hand mixer on medium-high speed to beat ingredients together until smooth, fluffy frosting forms.
To Frost the Carrot Cake
- Run offset spatula or butter knife around inner edge of cake pans to loosen cake. Carefully flip one cake pan over and remove cake layer, tapping or shaking pan as needed.
- Place first cake layer right-side up on decorating turntable, plate, or cake stand. Use offset spatula to dollop frosting onto top of cake layer, then spread frosting out evenly to edges of cake.
- Remove second cake layer from pan and stack on top of first layer. Frost top of second layer with equal amount of frosting as used on first layer.
- Remove third layer of cake from cake pan and place on top of second layer. Use remaining frosting to frost top of cake, spreading excess frosting down sides of cake to cover layers completely. Make sure to spread frosting uniformly around entire cake.
- If desired, immediately sprinkle chopped pecans on top of carrot cake. Alternately, use wax paper to apply chopped pecans to sides of frosted cake, pressing pecans into frosting gently to stick.
- Serve carrot cake immediately, or place cake in refrigerator, uncovered, until ready to serve.
- Pineapple: Make sure to use organic pineapple in organic pineapple juice, with no added sugars or sugar alternatives. If you don’t like or can’t have pineapple, you can substitute it with unsweetened applesauce.
- Carrots: To avoid large slivers of carrots in your cake, grate the carrots and then chop them well with a sharp knife. You can also pulse the grated carrots in a food processor 1-2 times. Just don’t overdo it – you want them smaller, not juiced or mashed.
- Pecans: You can omit the pecans entirely if desired, or replace them with raisins or finely chopped walnuts.
- Parchment Paper: The easiest way to get an accurately-sized circle is to place your cake pan on top of a sheet of parchment paper. Trace around the pan with a pen, then set the pan aside. Cut the parchment paper following the line you drew, cutting just inside of the pen mark. Once the circle’s cut out, place it in the bottom of the cake pan and press it flat against the bottom and into the edges of the pan.
- Toothpick Trick: Carrot cake is super moist, so waiting until the toothpick comes out completely clean may mean you’ve got an overbaked caked on your hands. Instead, aim for just a few crumbs on the toothpick – not completely clean, but also not completely raw batter.
- Storage: If preparing ahead of time, the fully-frosted carrot cake can be refrigerated, uncovered, up to 5 days. Once sliced, the leftover carrot cake needs to be refrigerated, either in an airtight container or completely covered with plastic wrap. Leftovers can keep up to 4 days if stored properly.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.