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
How can this cake be dairy free when it contains 8 eggs?
Eggs are not dairy. Dairy is anything milk-related, from dairy cows.
Can you substitute the eggs for flaxeggs ?
No, unfortunately flax eggs don’t work well with coconut flour. The cake won’t rise and will have a mushy texture.
Is there a way to omit the lemon juice? I cannot have anything acidic.
I’m happy to fund a recipe using coconut flour. It looks and tastes nice. Mine needed to keep baking for a very long time. It was dark on the outside but very moist on the inside. Next time I will cut down on the maple syrup because I found it to be too sweet and a bit too wet.
Will you cashew frosting be firm enough to frost this type of cake or do you have to do more of a drizzle with it?
It’s more of a drizzle. I was thinking maybe I could add arrowroot starch to it to help it thicken (like powdered sugar) but I haven’t tested that to be sure yet!
I want to make this cake for Easter dessert. What kind of 6 inch pans? I need to buy some off of Amazon…6 x 2 or 6 x 3?
I believe mine are 6 x 3. Always a good idea to have extra height!
For this carrot cake, what will be the baking time if I use a 8 inch pan?
If making this cake how much vegan cream cheese frosting do you recommend making to frost this cake well enough?
If you want it to look like my photo, I used a double batch of the vegan cream cheese frosting– there was a little leftover.
Thank you, can’t wait to try it out!
I recently bought your instant pot book and have been making all your cakes: baking in the instant pot is so wonderful – it keeps cakes brilliantly moist. I was wondering whether it was possible to cook your other cake recipes in the instant pot too? What would I need to do to convert? Many thanks, Virginia
Birthday cake flavour! Butter vanilla . And possibly sprinkles
Recipe suggestion for those that would like it. I subbed half the maple syrup with baby food carrots and cut the actual carrots down quite a bit. I added some liquid stevia drops to taste and a little more of each spice. It was good!
I just tried this cake and it tastes really strongly of egg.
I thought 8 eggs sounded like a lot for the size of cake so I actually reduced it to 6 eggs and it still tastes strongly of egg.
Has anyone else experienced this???
How many carbs are there in a serving of this cake please?
I have made this cake and loved it (as did everyone who tried it) but I think I actually found it too sweet as it does contain a lot of maple syrup! If I want to reduce the amount how could I counteract that with the coconut flour? I wondered about using some coconut milk? So say, 3/4 cup maple and 1/4 coconut milk?
I think that sounds like a good plan! Please let me know how it works out!
5 Stars cool recipe tastes like real carrot cake nice and spicey. I was lazy and used store bought Coconut whipped cream and used it for icing and that tasted super good. Agree w other comments u can use less maple syrup if needed and u prob don’t have to replace its liquid so much. Also def would use a more packed measure of coxunut flour next time. I scooped spoonfuls and then leveled next time probably will dive my cup measure into the flour then level. But 5 stars wld make again.
Unfortunately this was a miss. Too oily, too eggy, too spongey. It’s so close but not there
hello! can I use this in cupcake tins? approx how many cupcakes will this recipe make
I used pineapple juice instead of maple syrup and it worked well, just added some flax seed to soak up any extra moisture
Can i substitute the maple syrup for swerve or sukrin gold? What measurments would it be?
I’m afraid I can’t eat any sugar-free substitutes, so I can’t experiment with them myself. Maybe there are some substitution ideas on the package to help you get started? I’d love to hear what you try, and I’m sure other readers here would appreciate it, too!
Can I cook this in my Instapot? How long should I steam?
Can we use any other gf flour and honey instead of maple syrup ?
You might try working with my Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes recipe, which calls for oat flour instead. Coconut flour is so unique, that I wouldn’t want you to waste your ingredients by trying to modify this particular recipe with another flour.
A. I love all of your everythings… posts, recipes, cookbooks…
B. I really wanted to “wow” my human with his favorite carrot cake (and gf for me!). I might need a second go at it. I watched your video (after I made my whole cake, naturally) and saw how smooth your VCC frosting turned out which was NOT mine. 😉 Also. I’m slightly worried the cake might be a little dry…we will see though! Does it matter if you grate the carrots larger or smaller for the “moistness” factor?
C. The banana bread (your recipe) was a hit!
This was delicious! I used your cashew frosting and it was the perfect combination!
This is absolutely delicious. Made it for Easter and though I can’t tolerate eggs if eaten directly, I am fine with this despite the high egg count. I made it with my own version of cashew cream cheese frosting but would happily eat the cake plain. In fact, the texture and density being closer to a bread is the only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars. Any suggestions to make it a bit lighter and fluffier? I used the cake portion of the recipe exactly as written.
Wow. I was blown away! Great texture, my first coconut flour experience!
Loved it and the icing was outstanding!
I used regular sweet potatoes and after chilling it was great!
Just made this plus the vegan cream cheese frosting— a hit! I did make a few adjustments however…
I know you said not to use a flax eg, but i tried it anyways, allowing the flax egg to gel for about 45 mins, and it actually turned out super moist and fluffy, just didn’t poof/rise up as much! I also added 4 extra drops of lemon juice and an extra 1/4 tsp of ACV to the frosting to make it more cream-cheesey.
After trying the cake, I felt as though it was missing some flavour. May need a pinch more salt and/or sweetener, or possibly some vanilla extract. Other than that, this is definitely my new go to carrot cake recipe. Thank you so much!! Kisses
I followed your recipe exactly. It was moist but did not taste like carrot cake. We threw it away.
Can I replace the maple syrup with coconut sugar?
Recipe looks delish. Can I sub olive oil for coconut oil in this? Also can I bake in cake pan or bread pan instead of cupcakes – if so what temp and time would you suggest? Thank you much.
I always run out of eggs when doing anything with coconut flour. Is there any way that I can replace it with a homemade nondairy yogurt? I just made some coconut yogurt the other day for a key lime pie and I have a lot left over.😕
I was wondering if I could use Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 gluten free flour instead of coconut flour.
I wouldn’t try swapping coconut flour for anything else. You might have better luck starting with a recipe that already calls for that flour, or one that calls for a grain-based flour, like my Carrot Cake Cupcakes.
Perfect for us, not to sweet and not to dry
if 6″ pans are used, is it better that they are 2″ high or 3″ high. Thanks!
This couldn’t look more delish and tempting!!! But I’m wondering if is a possibility for this recipe to subs maple syrup for coconut sugar. What are your thoughts about it? THANKS, A LOT!!!
this cake recipe is so easy and so perfect. i iced it with whipped coconut cream and topped it with walnuts and pecans. i also added cardamom to the icing.
I made this for Easter Dinner and it was delicious. I added the optional pineapple and raisins and also some chopped walnuts. I made the recommended Maple Pecan glaze – delectable. I used the 3/4 cup of maple syrup in the cake for the “less sweet” version and it was perfect. Highly recommend! Now to give pieces away so I’m not tempted to eat the entire thing!
Best Carrot Cake & Frosting I ever ate!
I made it for Easter. My big family loved it! I explained the potatoes are like a replacement for a flour. FYI:
I doubled cake & frosting. But only 12 eggs,replaced w coconut milk & evaporated coconut milk to both. Made both very creamy. Omitted water & a little of the oil. Love the lemon juice! Used extra! Had to use1 yam&1 regular white potato, I threw in a carrot.(I add a carrot to mashed potatoes).Funny it looked like a burger w melted cheese!
Can this cake be frozen? For bake ahead option?
Can you let me know if it works with Almond flour and olive oil? thank you.
Hello!I tried the recipe today and it was really tasty. I have to note though that I missed some more carrots and also the coconut oil could be reduced without compromising the cake(it would actually be better tasting with less oil).Finally the texture was a bit too eggy which is fine if you are used to low carb cooking but I think that two eggs less wouldn’t do any harm( maybe apple sauce with chia seeds would do the job and decrease the maple syrup).I hope you find my advice consistent and I’m really looking forward to making my own version inspired on yours.Best of luck!
Hi this recipe looks amazing. Thanks for sharing it. Can I replace the maple syrup with monk fruit sweetener or erythritol to make it keto friendly?
Great cake and easy to make Keto. I substituted Lacanto sugar-free maple syrup for the syrup. I used homemade sugar-free peach jam between the layers and iced the top and sides. Very yummy.