This Almond Flour Carrot Cake is a healthier option but still perfectly moist and fluffy, topped with luscious cream cheese frosting. This cake is naturally gluten-free thanks to the almond flour, and paleo-friendly with the dairy-free frosting options. It’s also healthier than the classic cake because it’s made with avocado oil for healthy fats and some coconut sugar as well.
This carrot cake is way too yummy. I mean it’s the kind of delicious that gets you up in the middle of the night to eat another piece straight out of the fridge! In fact, I only make this when I can share it, otherwise, I tend to eat way too many pieces.
Normally we’re all about chocolate desserts around here, but this recipe has changed that. Now we both crave this carrot cake often, but especially in the spring months. It’s perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, baby and bridal showers, and any dinner party.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Flours – almond flour combined with a bit of tapioca starch make for a perfectly fluffy but still moist cake. The starch combined with the eggs is what holds the almond flour together and gives it rise in combination with the baking powder.
- Sugar – I like to use a combination of organic cane sugar and coconut sugar for the fluffiest results. You can use all coconut sugar but the cake is slightly less fluffy and harder to frost, see tips below.
- Spices – a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg perfect complement the flavors of this cake.
- Avocado oil – or neutral oil of your choice works here. I like to use avocado oil for a healthy fat and for its buttery flavor.
- Cream cheese – or dairy-free cream cheese of your choice works for the frosting. You’ll also find my dairy-free glaze options below.
- Butter – or dairy-free/vegan butter of choice works in the frosting.
- Powdered sugar – makes the best cream cheese frosting and there really isn’t a good substitute for it. I’ve cut back the sugar from the classic recipe. But if you don’t want to use powdered sugar, check out the dairy-free glaze options below that are made with maple syrup or honey.
How to make this recipe step by step
Step 1: Start by preheating the oven and whisking together the dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Step 2: Next stir the grated carrots into the flour mixture to coat them evenly.
Step 3: Stir in the wet ingredients until just mixed, the batter will be thick.
Step 4: Spread the cake batter into a prepared pan. You can line the baking pan with parchment paper if you want to be able to lift the cake out. Or, you can also bake it right in the pan.
Step 5: Let the cake cool completely before spreading the frosting over the top. Check out the tips below to make the cake easier to frost.
Ways to serve this
- For dessert with Easter dinner, check out my Easy Recipes for Easter for ideas.
- Or try my Strawberry Glazed Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken & Asparagus for a special meal, add my Best Mashed Potatoes as a side dish, and serve this carrot cake for dessert.
- Honey Dijon Salmon sheet pan dinner with a side of Creamy Mashed Cauliflower and carrot cake for dessert.
Yes, it adds moisture naturally and it makes a very fluffy cake combined together with the right amount of tapioca starch and eggs.
I have 2 options for you, first, you can use dairy-free cream cheese and butter in the frosting. Or you can try my glaze from my Paleo Sugar Cookies to drizzle over the top of this cake. You may need to add a touch more water until it’s a drizzling consistency. The glaze is also refined sugar-free as well.
Yes, you can add the traditional chopped pecans or walnuts, but I don’t recommend it because it makes the cake heavier. Also, this cake is made with almond flour, so it’s already heavy on the nuts! Raisins are a definite yes to add if you enjoy them. Try golden raisins for a more subtle flavor.
- To store – place any leftover cake into a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. This cake stays moist well, but it will get slightly drier over time.
- To freeze – you can freeze carrot cake with the cream cheese frosting. Place the leftovers into an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Cream cheese frosting does begin to break down over time, so it’s best eaten as soon as possible.
Tips & Tricks
- My #1 tip is to place the cooled carrot cake into the freezer for 30+ minutes to firm it up before frosting! Carrot cake is very delicate in texture, and the freezer hardens the surface of the cake making it so much easier to frost without getting crumbs in the frosting.
- You can use 100% coconut sugar in the cake, but it’s not quite as fluffy and it’s way more delicate. So if you go that direction I would most definitely give it some time in the freezer as mentioned above before frosting.
- This recipe can also be made in 2 – 9″ cake pans. Just be sure to freeze the layers for at least 30 minutes before you try to frost them. Also, the amount of frosting will only be enough for the center and the top, but not enough for the sides.
I really hope you enjoy this Almond Flour Carrot Cake recipe! If you do get a chance to make this, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Almond Flour Carrot Cake
- 2 cups fine almond flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup cane sugar - see notes
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 cups grated carrots - from 1 bunch, 9 ounces
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese - softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tbsp salted butter - softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar - sifted
- Garnish with toasted coconut if desired
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a 9″x13″ pan with avocado oil. Or if you want to lift the cake out of the pan, line it with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper.
- For the carrot cake, whisk together the almond flour, tapioca starch, cane sugar, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.
- Mix in the grated carrots until they’re coated and evenly distributed. Then add the eggs, avocado oil, and vanilla extract. Mix until a thick batter forms and the flour mixture has been incorporated.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake is just starting to puff in the middle, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before trying to lift it out with the parchment paper.
- Let the cake cool completely to room temperature before frosting it. I recommend freezing it for 30 minutes to 1 hour before spreading the frosting on to firm up the surface and make it easier to frost.
- To make the frosting, add the cream cheese, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and butter to an electric mixer. Mix until no lumps remain, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Then add the sifted powdered sugar in 3 batches, beating to combine in between additions. Scrape down the sides and beat for a final time until the frosting is silky smooth.
- Spread the frosting evenly over the surface of the cake in a swirling pattern, and garnish with toasted coconut flakes if desired.
- Serve immediately for the best flavor and texture.
- You can frost the cake and store it in the refrigerator for the day, then let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving. The cake will keep up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
This recipe was originally published in 2018, but has been updated with more step by step photos, tips and information, and nutritional facts in 2022.