Third Time Lucky Carrot Cake

Moist, light, grain free and dairy free carrot cake…finally made possible! Topped and sandwiched with coconut cream, it’s a heavenly satisfying slice, a delightful pecan nut crunch, altogether incredibly moreish.

Paleo Carrot Cake Title

The carrot cake that almost didn’t happen. I’d made two previous to this one…the first didn’t cook through, the second was far too dense. I temporarily gave up due to lack of carrots and eggs (had I not been so tired late in the evening I might have just nipped out for more supplies there and then but bed was calling!) .

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I did some more calculations in one of my many notebooks which might sound very scientific but really I was just trying to find some sort of balance between my previous failed attempts and the ideal carrot cake I had in my head.

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Sweet but not overly so, light yet satisfying and hearty, wholesome but not in the savoury sense.

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I don’t like a tacky carrot cake nor one that is too eggy. Two less eggs, more coconut oil, less almond flour and as it look would have it less than 24 hours later I had carrot cake success. Or so I hoped.

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The cakes had risen, the came out of my new loose bottom non stick sandwich tins with ease and sat on the cooling rack looking pretty, awaiting “icing”…

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Coconut cream in the middle and on top…even those first few photos of the whole cake were taken with trepidation. The real test would be in the slicing. Who knew what that cake would look like on the inside. Fingers and toes crossed I eased out the first slice and did a little leap! (Ok it might have been more of an almighty jump up and down!)

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It looked like the crumb I’d been dreaming off. Moist but not at al sticking, air pockets that promised a light texture.

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And then the first fork full…

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More jumping up and down ensued, followed by more snapping and devouring that first slice. Carrot cake success. As good if not better than any carrot cake I’ve ever had. I find the standard carrot cake icing and cakes themselves to be far too sickly sweet but this one hit the nail on the head. Good enough to have anytime of the day if you ask me!

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And now it’s gone and I need to fill the void with another paleo donut creation…don’t you think?!?

Paleo Carrot Cake

by Michelle Hunt

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 – 22 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free grain free low-carb paleo vegetarian soy-free almond meal carob carrot


Ingredients (8 – 10 servings)

  • 2 cups (350g) finely shredded carrot
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (110g) unrefined coconut oil melted
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups (250g) almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp grain free baking powder (make sure there’s no cornstarch in it!)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (70g) pecans

For the Icing

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk refrigerated overnight
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp (28g) melted coconut oil


Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Line the base of two 8 inch loose bottom round cake tins with parchment paper and grease lightly with melted coconut oil.

Combine eggs, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract and melted coconut oil in your food processor.

Add in almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Process to combine.

Add in carrots and pulse to combine. Finally pulse in the pecans; add them in whole and once you pulse the mixture 2-3 times they will be nice and coarsely chopped!

Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared cake pans and baking in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes until risen, browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Meanwhile pour water out of the can of coconut milk and whisk together hardened cream with all other coconut cream ingredients. Place in the fridge.

Once the cakes have cooked and fully cooled spread 1/2 of the coconut cream on top of one. Place the other cake on top and spread the remaining coconut cream over it’s surface.

Garnish cake with chopped pecans if desired.

Store cake in the fridge in a seal tight container for 2-3 days. Serve at room temperature.

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  1. Carrot Cake! My all time favourite cake! I was so excited to see this post and the it seriously looks sensational. One question, could the coconut oil be halved with another oil or will it only work with coconut oil? I have no problem with coconut oil just 1/2 cup is a lot and it is expensive, especially for a student 🙁

      1. Oh wow – this is one seriously amazing cake! Doesn’t look as good as yours though, mine is a lot flatter. Used a butter alternative and I would say it works. This will definitely be my go to carrot cake! 🙂

  2. I love that you didn’t add raisins in there! Love carrot cake just sans the raisins. Will definitely try this – it’d be good for easter!

  3. It looks really delicious. I’m planning to make it soon, because I have most of the ingredients required except for the coconut milk. I wonder, though, if it really changes if I replace the pecans with walnuts (or other nuts)?

  4. I’m so excited about this cake! Carrot Cake is my husband’s favortie and today is his birthday. I made it as a Bundt cake and I will be making cream cheese icing, as we are more Primal.

  5. Part way through making this – the cake is looking (and smelling) amazing. My only problem is that the coconut cream has just split! Not sure how to save it…

    1. Might sound odd but try adding some water and melted coconut oil in a blender to it…different brands sometimes just don’t work. I use Thai Kitchen…not a fan of Biona, it always tends to split!

  6. I made this for my birthday- it was a hit!! (Even among those with non-paleo preferences/diets.) I did make a few changes: first off I made a two-tiered cake so I doubled the recipe. Of course it cooked longer but I just had to be patient! I also did half coconut oil and half unsweetened applesauce (healthy kind). I also added a little bit of salt. I stay away from sugar but as a bday treat I made goat cheese “buttercream” instead of the coconut frosting. I just creamed 6 oz goat cheese with 8 oz df soy free butter. I added 5 cups powdered sugar (terribly unhealthy- but hey, it’s my party!!

  7. OMG! I made this for my birthday cake and it is hands down the best carrot cake ever!!! I made two cakes, one of which i accidently left out the pecans but i put the cream between the two layers and on top and it was still amazing. The layer without the pecans was alot denser but i loved the taste and texture. Yumm!!!! 5 stars!! I used coconut oil and followed the recipe except that i added realised later that i wasn’t suppose to add 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil to the cream/icing recipe but it was still great!!!! i then mixed it up and put it in the fridge over night & whipped it up and hey presto! Yummmmmmo!!!!! Will be making again! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Just made this today and loved it!! I hadn’t put coconut milk in fridge the night before so used a can of coconut cream (Trader Joe’s) I had in the cupboard. Worked great for the frosting. I also doubled the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla. Also a winner. I think I might add a dash of salt next time but besides that, both I and hubby loved it. Taking a bunch of it to my Crossfit group tomorrow morning to share! Thank you for the post!

  9. Hello! This recipe sounds devine. I was wondering if the 1/2 of coconut oil that this calls for is a 1/2 cup measured at its solid state or liquid state. Or if it makes a difference! Thank you! 🙂

  10. Ok. I have to admit, I was very skeptical about this one. It was my son’s 4th birthday Wednesday and I gave it a try. It was AMAZING! A perfect gluten free paleo cake IS POSSIBLE! Wow, you are AMAZING! Thank you for making it so fabulous!

  11. Hey =) could I substitute almond flour for coconut flour do you think? Making this for my birthday this weekend…i can’t have lactose or gluten and I don’t want to miss out on a cake! thanks!

    1. Oh know it would change the cake completely…you could experiment but it would have to be a totally different recipe, a lot more eggs, less flour…can you not have almonds?

      1. I bought almond flour – or finely ground almonds (well the Hubby did) but he only got 200g, do you think i could substitute the other 50g for a little coconut flour? If not ill just have to get hold of some more =) also bought walnuts and an additional can of coconut milk for more icing

          1. Oh no I just used two half cups of coco butter but used 6 eggs! I don’t know what the mix is supposed to look like. So hopefully it turns out

  12. It actually turned out amazing! I used 6 eggs and should of used 12. Eek but it turned out great next time I could be a little more moist. The icing didn’t turn out like yours.

  13. Great cake! We actually ended up having to use almonds in the place of pecans as we forgot to buy them. We also substituted honey for the maple syrup (boyfriend’s a beekeeper so it kinda made sense :p) It still worked out incredibly well and it’s so yummy. I gave a slice to my PT and she loved it too. I’m in training for a Spartan Race so no sweets or booze for a month but this has helped me with my sweet tooth.

  14. Hey! This looks amazing and I am excited to try it for my sons first birthday smash cake! I was curious if I could use regular flour instead of the almond flour?

  15. Hi Shel,

    Just wanted to let you know that I finally got around to making your carrot cake for my mother for her 75th birthday. She’s on a strict gluten free diet and was so thrilled… she shared it with friends and everyone thought the cake was magnificent and looked and tasted very professional. Even my brother who isn’t a big dessert eater gobbled up every last crumb! The only change I made was that I used walnuts instead of pecans and went with a more traditional butter/cream cheese frosting, as I thought that would appeal to my mother more.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

    I have friend coming to visit this weekend and I think your coffee cake will be on the menu as I have been wanting to try it since you posted the recipe… will let you know how I get on!

    Many thanks,

  16. Did any of your versions include crushed pineapple? I was considering adding a small can, but don’t want to break the recipe!

  17. Could I use regular unbleached flour instead of almond flour,? Would any alterations need to be put in place for the swap out?

    1. Oh no sorry Aimee, this grain free version was developed to keep it grain free but I’m sure there are countless others you could try with the plain flour. Try Edible Perspective… 🙂

  18. Say…could you use hazelnut flour in place of almond flour? I’m terribly allergic to almonds.. Also, could you add a little crushed pineapple? The hazelnut flour is less moist and less dense than almond flour.
    I loooove carrot cake, but need to lose a few pounds. I’m trying to revamp my diet and not go crazy missing sweets!
    Looks like a delightful cake! Thank you for your lovely recipes!

  19. Kia Ora from NZ 🙂

    I just found this via Pintrest – looks so good!! Is it necessary to use pecans? Do you have to have any nuts in it at all (apart from the almonds, of course)? I cannot abide pecans or pistachios.

    AND… what size tin of coconut milk do we need to use? We have at least 2 different sizes available here. Can coconut cream be used instead?

  20. Hii this looks so yummy! I want go make it for my duaghters birthday! I noticed some people had asked about adding pinneapple but I didn’t see that you answered at all? Any idea if it would be okay to add some ? Thanks 😉

  21. I try this recipe and follow everything to the T but it comes out so bad I baked it with adding more time almost 40 _45 mints still raw insude and texture so bad and stick to the pan and end up throw away in the trash feel so bad to waste all these valueble ingredients . I dont know how people said its the best

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