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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.

healthy carrot cake with sweet potato frosting

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

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.

healthy carrot cake batter in a glass bowl

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 carrot cake in two 6-inch pans

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.

container of sweet potato frosting and it going on the 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.

carrot cake slice on a plate with frosting

healthy carrot cake with sweet potato frosting

Healthy Carrot Cake (Gluten-Free!)

4.36 from 42 votes
This healthy Carrot Cake is high in protein, made with gluten-free coconut flour. I love that it's grain-free and naturally-sweetened!
prep10 mins cook40 mins total50 mins
Servings:12

Ingredients
 
 

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 268mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 3737IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, paleo
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?

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Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, Iā€™m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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Comments

  1. 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). šŸ™‚

    1. 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 šŸ˜‰

  2. 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’ šŸ˜‰

  3. 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!!

  4. 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!

    1. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

    1. I used pineapple juice instead of maple syrup and it worked well, just added some flax seed to soak up any extra moisture

  7. 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 =)

    1. Mine loves the coconut too – in all forms! How can someone NOT like it ?? šŸ˜€

      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 :/

  8. 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! šŸ™‚ We also both love lemon and coconut and will be happy to try that icing also.