Paleo Carrot Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

By: Cassy Joy
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Yes, this Paleo Carrot Cake is dairy-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, and Paleo-friendly but DON'T let this fool you into thinking it's also flavor-free, fun-free, and enjoyment-free.

Paleo Carrot Cake 1

While I can't tell you that it tastes EXACTLY like the carrot cake your grandmother made (you'd need actual cream cheese for that), I can tell you that it's still DARN GOOD. Darn good for Paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and all other cakes. I argue that this pretty pastry will even stand up to the other desserts at your potluck family reunion. Folks will be gobbling up bite after bite, exclaiming how much they “love your carrot cake! …it's so moist!” This Paleo Carrot Cake is lovable, moist, wonderfully dense, totally delicious, and a more benign dessert option than it's wheat-filled cousin. Still a dessert, but a dessert with fewer consequences.

The dairy-free cream cheese frosting will blow you away. Soaked cashews work their magic with some palm shortening, honey, and a tiny amount of lemon juice plus apple cider vinegar (for that familiar cream cheese bite). Note that if you don't soak the cashews long enough or blend the frosting exceptionally well, it may stay slightly lumpy. Though it could take a little practice to the get frosting texture perfect, know that the flavors are easy to master. I like to top my cake with a generous pile of roughly chopped walnuts for extra crunch and flavor. Chopped pecans, shredded carrots, or even toasted unsweetened shredded coconut would all be marvelous toppers as well! Top your cake as your heart desires.

Also note, if you tolerate dairy well, I completely support you using real-deal cream cheese frosting on this cake. For an easy recipe, just mix some softened cream cheese with honey, a little fresh lemon juice, and a little vanilla extract. Add a touch of water, coconut milk, or full-fat cow's milk as it needs thinning until you get the consistency you like.

Other ways you can make simple modifications to this cake: add raisins, chopped nuts, or shredded coconut to the batter itself. These additions shouldn't have an impact on the chemistry or baking time, so have some fun with it!

Enjoy and please, come back and tell me how you've made this Paleo Carrot Cake your own! I love reading about your own creations.

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Carrot Cake with Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

a slice of two layer paleo carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on a white floral plate with the whole cake blurred in the background
  • Author: Cassy
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
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Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup arrowroot
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup smooth almond butter
  • 3 cups carrots (about 4), finely shredded
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup palm shortening(may substitute with ghee or extra virgin coconut oil)
  • 3/4 cup honey

For the frosting:

  • 2 1/4 cups cashews, raw, soaked (for at about 6 hours), and drained
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons palm shortening (may substitute with ghee)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups walnuts, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F and place a circle of cut parchment paper in the bottom of two 9” round cake pans.
  2. Whisk all the dry ingredients together.
  3. In a mixer, combine all the wet ingredients, including the carrots, until smooth.
  4. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix until evenly incorporated.
  5. Separate the cake batter evenly into the two cake pans.
  6. Bake at 300 F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Combine all the ingredients (minus the walnuts) together in a food processor until smooth.
  8. Spoon into bowl and set aside until the cakes are cooled.
  9. When the cakes come out of the oven, let them cool completely before frosting.
  10. Once cakes are at room temperature, lay one cake on a platter and then evenly spread 1/3 of the frosting over the top-facing portion.
  11. Carefully lay the other cake on top.
  12. Spread the rest of the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the entire cake.
  13. Top with walnuts, slice, and serve.
  14. Keep refrigerated for up to one week.
Comments

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  1. This cake looks incredible! I certainty would’nt be able to tell that is paleo friendly!

    1. Kelly says:

      Thanks Bethany! You can’t go wrong with carrot cake and cream frosting 🙂

  2. This recipe is so tasty! I made cupcakes instead of cake and they turned out perfectly moist and delicious. I will definitely be bookmarking this one to use again! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Katie says:

    Okay girl, this is AMAZING! Carrot cake doesn’t usually excite me but I gave my husband a choice for dessert this weekend and this was his pick. I’m so glad it was!! I could seriously eat the whole thing right now. I followed your tips on using regular cream cheese for the frosting and it pairs perfectly with the super moist cake! This recipe is a keeper for sure!

  4. I made it for my hubby’s bday . It came really well . Thank you for step by step process .It helped me lot

  5. Kim says:

    Hi – it’s not clear what ingredients are for the cake and what’s for the frosting. Help! 🙁

    1. Cassy says:

      Updating! Sorry, Kim. We transitioned to a new recipe plugin and it seems things got moved around.