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.
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.
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