This Healthy Carrot Cake is made with coconut flour, for a naturally grain-free and gluten-free dessert. I love how moist and flavorful it is, while being naturally-sweetened and higher in protein.
What are the Benefits of Coconut Flour?
What I love about coconut flour is that it’s naturally gluten-free and high in fiber. In fact, it’s so high in fiber that it actually needs quite a few eggs to help give it lift and moisture.
That means this cake it higher in protein than traditional recipes, which should leave you feeling satisfied and without crazy blood sugar spikes. I also love that you don’t need to use very much of this type of flour to make an entire cake. A little bit goes a long way!
How to Measure Coconut Flour
To properly measure coconut flour, dip the measuring cup into the bag of flour, then use the back of a knife to level-off the top. Don’t use a heaping measure, as it will result in a dry cake.
Coconut Flour Substitutions
When working with coconut flour, it’s important to note that traditional substitutions will not work with recipes that have been developed for this grain-free flour. Coconut flour can NOT be swapped for almond flour, oat flour, all-purpose flour, or any other flour. It’s just too different!
You also should not substitute a flax egg for any recipe that calls for coconut flour– the results will be very flat and mushy as a result, and not something you could serve to guests. I recommend looking for a different recipe that uses another type of flour in that case.
If you need an egg-free recipe, I recommend starting with my Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins, instead.
How to Make a Healthy Carrot Cake
This carrot cake recipe couldn’t be easier to make. You need just one bowl and about 10 minutes of prep time before it goes in the oven! This recipe is easiest to stir together when your ingredients are at room temperature, but it will work even if they are cold from the fridge.
For an impressive two-layer cake, you can spread this batter into two 6-inch or 7-inch pans. I’ve also baked this cake in a Bundt pan for a pretty presentation. Make sure you grease the pan very well if using a Bundt pan, or line the bottom of you pan with a square of parchment paper for guaranteed easy removal.
Healthy Sweet Potato Frosting
I like to frost this cake with my Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, which is naturally sweetened and made with white sweet potatoes. I love how fluffy it looks, like real buttercream! (This one doesn’t fool my picky 5-year-old, who has tasted “real” buttercream, but that hasn’t stopped him from eating it.)
I use a double batch of this frosting to generously frost this two-layer carrot cake.
Alternatively, you can drizzle this cake with my Maple Pecan Glaze or Cashew Frosting, or simply dust it with a little powdered sugar, if you like.
Healthy Carrot Cake (Gluten-Free!)
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup maple syrup (for a less sweet cake, you can use 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 8 eggs , at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups shredded carrots (about 4 carrots)
- 1/3 cup diced pineapple (optional)
- 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350F and generously grease a 9-inch pan, a bundt pan, or two 6-inch pans. (Tip: Add a square of parchment paper on the bottom for easier removal later.)
- To prepare the cake, combine the coconut flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice and baking soda, and whisk well to create a uniform batter. If any of your ingredients are cold the mixture will be thicker than traditional cake batter, but don't worry, it will still bake just fine! Once the batter is uniform, stir in the shredded carrots, pineapple, and raisins (if using them).
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan(s) and bake at 350 until the center is firm, about 40 to 50 minutes. (If using a deep bundt pan, it takes about 50 to 60 minutes.)
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. For best shelf-life, store the cake covered in the fridge for up to one week.
- I have tried lowering the number of eggs in this recipe, by replacing 1 egg with 1/4 cup of mashed banana instead. The result is a slightly drier cake that doesn't hold together as well. You can get away with this swap if you need to reduce the recipe by 1 egg, but I don't recommend trying to lower it by much more or the cake won't hold together.
- You can also reduce the maple syrup to 3/4 cup if you want a less-sweet cake. I assume honey would work similarly, if that's what you have on hand. (In fact, for honey I wouldn't use more than 3/4 cup because the flavor is stronger than maple syrup.)
Nutrition info above is for 1 of 12 slices, without the frosting or optional add-ins. This information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, so for accurate results I recommend using the labels on your ingredients at home.
Additional Recipe Notes:
- This recipe should make roughly 24 cupcakes, so feel free to reduce the ingredients by half if you don’t need that many. In my experience, coconut flour cupcakes need to bake for about 30 minutes, and I like using silicone baking cups to avoid any sticking.
- For a fluffier frosting, you might want to try using Coconut Whipped Cream the way I did on these pretty Applesauce Cupcakes.
If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too! We can all benefit from hearing about your experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite cake flavor?
Questions and Reviews
Thank You Megan, you have just made my day! My husband’s favorite cake is carrot cake and he just so happens to love maple flavor and pecans. He will be happy to get his favorite cake and I will be happy because I will know the healthy ingredients that are in it. A win-win situation! 🙂 We also both love lemon and coconut and will be happy to try that icing also.
I was just going to say lemon cakes all the way! Or, really any cake with coconut. But my husband hates coconut as I find most men do so I was surprised to read the above comment that the husband likes coconut. I did an informal survey or just about every man I knew to see if they liked coconut and guess what…….I could only find one man, my Brother-In-law who said he could tolerate coconut. That’s it!! The rest said they hated it…….I would do your own poll though to confirm this.
This cake looks awesome and honestly, doesn’t seem to need any frosting at all. I could see myself bombing the frosting and just forgetting about it altogether =)
Mine loves the coconut too – in all forms! How can someone NOT like it ?? 😀
I made the cake, i tastes nice and very spicy, but it does not grow at all. It comes out too flat… Any reason for that and any idea how to make it higher? I add about 50% more soda than in the recipe but still :/
It must be just your part of the woods, here men like coconut as much as women
Amazing – I have been struggling with a beetroot red velvet cake so this is perfect recipe inspiration – I think i need less beetroot and more flour! But will def be giving this a go – looks delightful!
I used pineapple juice instead of maple syrup and it worked well, just added some flax seed to soak up any extra moisture
oh I request carrot cake every year for my birthday. Can’t wait to give this a try! I love cooking with coconut flour it makes such a sense filling cake. Thanks for sharing this looks amazing!
Can I replace flax eggs, since one of my kid is allergic to eggs.
Read the post.
I made this with my two boys as a healthier alternative to other cakes we have baked and honestly this cake came out amazing! Very moist and the flavours were spot on. I lowered the maple syrup to 3/4 cup as my sons aren’t really in to sweet treats. This us the first healthy alternative cake i have baked that actually came out amazing. My wife loved it too. This will be my ‘go to ‘ cake from now on. Thank you
I have recently been experimenting baking cakes in my round crock pot. I line the bottom with parchment paper by tracing around the bottom of the crock pot insert. Then I grease with coconut oil. I put the setting on low and bake for 2 and 1/2 hours, then turn off and leave it sit for 1/2 hour. Do not open the lid until the end of this process. Every recipe I have tried comes out moist and delicious. I will try it with this recipe too…thank you!
I could’ve cried when I saw this recipe!! Carrot cake is my favorite cake and I have searched high and low for a coconut version!! I made an almond flour version that did not digest well at all. I was so sick from it even though it was absolutely delicious. I do very well with coconut so you have seriously made my day. I can’t wait to make this for Thanksgiving and be able to enjoy it without pain. The frosting sounds amazing, too!!
Hi Megan, do you think this recipe would work with egg whites instead of the full eggs? 8 egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol, which is the only thing that scares me away from trying this recipe :(. I know it’s because of the coconut flour, but is there a work around? For example, would this recipe work with say 6 whites to 2 whole eggs with yolks? Or a ratio of something similar?
Ps: we make your blondies religiously, once or every couple of weeks (with a mushed banana to make them extra creamy), my hubby’s absolute favorite ‘cheat’ 😉
Sonia – I’ve been doing research on cholesterol as two of my docs disagree on how test results should be viewed. I’ve been finding much that doesn’t jive with conventional thinking. I feel we haven’t been given a total picture. Here is a good starting place if you want to check it out: http://authoritynutrition.com/how-many-eggs-should-you-eat/
I hope you get to enjoy this carrot cake!
I love the recipe but what can i do to replace the eggs any ideas please. Thank you.
I cannot consume chicken or hen eggs, but I can have duck eggs. If you can find ducks eggs, only use half the amount of eggs a recipe calls for as they are larger
as long as you do not eat the entire cake in one sitting, you should be fine on cholesterol 😉
Megan, you are just the best. I will certainly try this cake! I do very well doing GF, but miss carrot cake so much! Thanks!
Also, the very best recipe I have is the coconut flour chocolate chip cookies from your site – I kid you not, I have shared that recipe with so many people, it’s a hit!! I never enjoyed baking until those cookies, what a gift.
I will also be trying your coconut flour pumpkin bars for an office potluck soon! THANK YOU for your incredible recipes, you have no idea how much they have helped folks like me who are GF, and who also want to eat healthy, nutrient-dense meals (and desserts). 🙂
Thanks! I was wondering how I would make a carrot cake this Easter. I usually make the family a gluten one and make myself some other kind of treat. It looks great!
I can’t wait to make this for hubby!Thank you!
Quick question, when baked, does this have the typical “gritty texture” of coconut flour? I can’t seem to get over that. Any tips on how to make it “smoother”?
Mine too, not loving it
Can I replace the maple syrup with honey?
Yes, I think so. Honey tends to be a little sweeter than maple syrup, so it will change the flavor a bit.
No joke….as soon as I read the title of this post I said “Ooookkaaaay, that’s happening”
Hello, I love the look of the carrot cake recipe so will try it out! Hope to see more healthy recipes. Thank you : )
The cake looks gorgeous!!
I just made this cake this afternoon and it was delicious. I used 1/2 cup coconut nectar and 1/2 cup rice malt syrup instead of maple syrup. Will definitely make this whenever I want carrot cake. Yum!!
I halved the recipes and made cupcakes. I think it turned out pretty good. The pineapple works really well and never would have thought to add that.
I made the lemon coconut frosting but did not like it. I do not think it needed a frosting.
This looks delish, thank you for sharing! I have been trying to figure out a pumpkin cake… Do you think I could sub pureed pumpkin for the carrots? Thank you!
I would just double this recipe and bake it in a bundt pan: https://detoxinista.com/2014/09/paleo-pumpkin-spice-muffins-nut-free/
oh my gosh this look so good. I love that it is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. Definitely have to make this!
Is the ginger called for in the recipe fresh ginger or powder?
yum! this looks amazing!
Hi! I love, love, love your site and recipes! I plan to use this recipe for a Thanksgiving dessert. Do you have any suggests as to the spice or spices I could use to take the place of the cinnamon? Cinnamon gives my husband hives; otherwise I’d go ahead and add it in.:)
I made this cake last week. It came out delicious! The maple pecan frosting was even better 🙂 thank you for your recipes! I’ve made SO many great things from your site and have recommended your site many times. I’ll be making the grain free stuffing for Thanksgiving, and peanut butter pie and spaghetti squash casserole for Christmas. I made the casserole last year (very tasty), can’t wait to try the pie!
I just made this cake today and it was AWESOME! The recipe is a keeper! I would even maybe use 1/4 cup or more less maple syrup next time than called for and I’m sure it would still be soooooo good! Thank you so much for this recipe!
I tried the carrot cake with pineapple it is so delicious!!!! It turned out a little dry any tips to make it a little more moist? Thank you for sharing 🙂
Hmm…this did not turn out as I’d hoped when I made it. Not very flavorful compared to traditional carrot cake, turned out plenty moist but just very lacking in sweetness, sort of bland tasting. Glaze was good though.
Can I use butter instead of coconut oil?
This fell flat (taste-wise_, the texture seemed too spongy, which wasn’t expected. Extremely disappointed given the effort and high hopes I had.
This looks like a really good recipe, however, I can not eat eggs. Is there some way I can replace the eggs with a home made egg substitute?
Hi, I was wondering about the same thing. Have you experimented with this yet? Thanks.
We are paleo and I LOVED this recipe. Made it for my mon’s birthday. She loved it as carrot cake is her favorite. I could not get the glaze as smooth as noted in the picture even though I have a blendtec blender. I think next time I will chop my pecans prior to placing in with rest of ingredients.
thanks I have your new cookbook and it is the BEST!! I have recommended to lots of people.
Would the carrot cake fit into any of the food combining areas?
This carrot cake recipe is outstanding! I made it for a birthday celebration and I have to say it was the best carrot cake I’ve ever tasted, GF or not! I did add the pineapple and raisins and topped it off with homemade cream cheese frosting. So delicious and extremely moist!!! Every recipe I try of Megan’s has been delicious! Wish I could rate it 10 stars!
I just made this cake for my husband for his birthday! It’s amazing!!! It doesn’t even need icing.
This was my first experience baking with coconut flour. I’verify recently found out I need to be gluten free and I’m so glad to have a cake recipe that’s good! I have one question. I’d like to reduce the Maple syrup to a half cup. Do you think applesauce would work to replace half of it? I know coconut flour needs moisture.
This sounds incredibly yummy! Megan, do you have any ideas for a sweet & moist substitute for the pineapple & raisins? I know they’re optional, anyway, but I like the idea, just not the particular, though very popular, combo. My favorite cakes are a triple tie with Chocolate, Lemon, & Carrot :0).
I just tried the recipe. I’m really disappointed. I followed it to the letter. It stuck in the pan, it was more of a pudding consistency than a cake. It tasted flat. I ended up throwing it out.
Delicious!! I made this for pre-Thanksgiving dinner last Saturday and it was a HUGE hit. My grandfather who eats a standard American diet even loved it, as well as the other non paleo, gluten eating folks!
I ended up not using the whole cup of maple syrup and went 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk. It was still very sweet and very tasty. The pecan glaze is really the “icing on the cake” so good.
I will definitely make this again….actually I’ll be making it for Thanksgiving this weekend.
Hi. If I was to use spelt flour, what would be the amount of eggs etc?
I would just look up a traditional carrot cake using white flour if you want to sub spelt– coconut flour cakes are way too different!
Has anyone tried substituting eggs? I was thinking applesauce. Wondering if anyone had any success
Not with coconut flour – you need something to bind the flour, which the eggs supply, but applesauce doesn’t. Learned this lesson the hard way. You’ll get (delicious) mush, instead of a cake.
Yum, yum, yum. Have to take dessert to a backyard get together. Gonna make this!
I used this recipe yesterday. I was searching for carrot cakes using coconut flour. The first time I used coconut flour, I substituted way too many things (as I experimented with low calorie/vegan/gluten-free alternatives) and things resulted in a distasteful mess. And I think this was probably the first recipe I tried using coconut flour that actually resulted with me not wanting to pull out my hair. For myself, I prefer *regular* baking….if I am going to indulge, I want the real stuff, -butter, fat, sugar, etc. But I am slowly getting used to experimenting with alternatives to use when baking for others. It’s often made me want to cry….but I actually liked this one! It was also the first one I tried that was not Vegan. Yay for eggs.
I made your cake last night and followed instructions except raisins..not everyone likes them. I did add chopped pecans for texture. Looking back I wish I had put some coconut in it. I made in a 8nor 9 inch square glass pan. It rose very quickly well. I cooled and iced with an icing made from cream cheese vanilla maple syrup and fresh grated ginger. I couldn’t wait till the party to dig in, so I did. The icing put this over the top making it reminisce of breads I had as a child with cream cheese slathered on top. I am so impressed by this cake I would serve anywhere and not even breath a word it is “healthy. I may add some dates next time as well and fresh ginger in the cake. Thank you so much!
I noticed you that you made a cream cheese maple syrup frosting. Is it possible to get your cream cheese maple syrup recipe for my boyfriend is a diabetic.
Have made this cake a few times with great success and amazing feedback. If I wanted to make this a pumpkin cake instead of a carrot cake, would the amount for the puree be the same as the amount of shredded carrots? I’m osrted spice wise, but the carrot to pumpkin conversion, completely iffy on. Thank you and sorry if this is a silly question! 🙂
It’s a good question! But I have no idea without trying it myself– which I might just have to do, because it sounds yummy. 🙂
This looks amazing. Do you think it could be adapted to become a pumpkin cake (replacing carrots with pumpkin puree)?
This cake is really good. I followed the recipe exactly as written. Very moist and delicious. I was skeptical about the amount of eggs but it is perfect.
Thank you for the wonderful recipe! I made this yesterday, two 8 inch round pans, everyone gave it a thumbs up, including my mom. I replaced the lemon juice with 1 T vanilla extract, used half melted Kerrygold butter and half coconut oil, cut the maple syrup back to 3/4 cup. I added closer to 3 cups of grated carrots. Other than those changes, I followed the recipe as written.
I used the maple pecan glaze, but next time I make that I will reserve half of the pecans to chop and garnish the cake. My daughter decorated the cake with whole and chopped pecans! very pretty!
I’m glad you enjoyed it! Sounds like your daughter did an excellent job decorating. 🙂
Can the recipe for your carrot cake cupcakes in your cookbook be poured into a bundt pan (like this recipe) and still come out okay? Or will there not be enough batter since it is for cupcakes and not a cake like this recipe, and it will come out on the smaller, flatter side? I actually don’t have enough ingredients to make this version of carrot cake, but can make the cupcakes. I plan on serving it at a mom’s night at my house, and I think the bundt pan version is so pretty, but wasn’t sure what it would come out looking like with the cupcake recipe.
I’ve never tried that recipe in the bundt pan, so I’m not sure. My guess is that it might not fill the pan as high, so you’d have a shorter bundt… which could still be cute? The only thing I hate about bundt pans is that they are sometimes hard to remove the final cake, and that’s especially true with coconut flour. So grease it VERY well!
Your carrot cake cupcake recipe worked really well in the bundt pan, by the way. I greased it really well like you said, and it did not stick at all. It rose really nicely too. Was not flat.
Awesome! Thanks for letting me know!
Exactly what I was looking for! I used homemade date paste Instead of maple syrup for fiber! I’ve made it twice and even my stubborn junk food friends liked it!
Lucinda, Yay! Thanks for posting that modification. I’ve made this cake as is a few times, and it is wonderful. However, my husband and I are trying to use fruit as a sweetener as much as possible, and I’ve been wondering whether this cake could be date sweetened. I’ll need to try it.