This scrumptious carrot cake ticks all the boxes with warm spices, a tender crumb, and no sugar at all. Let yourself indulge… this cake is a healthy treat that can be a special, show-stopping dessert or a yummy breakfast.
Finally! Carrot Cake!!! I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to figure out a carrot cake recipe. I used to looooooooove carrot cake. And then it just fell into the vast category of “wonderful things that I can’t eat”.
But suddenly, from the depths of my mom brain, the idea of carrot cake arose, and I started the process of figuring out how to make a gluten free, paleo, sugar free carrot cake. Carrot cake is the PERFECT candidate for a gluten free, paleo, sugar free makeover. It’s moist to begin with (paleo cakes tend to be a bit denser and moister, so this is an easy crossover). It doesn’t need to be super fluffy and airy and light – attributes that are difficult to achieve without sugar – so it’s ideal for converting to sugar free. In fact, because of all of the warming spices and the carrots and the nuts, there are a lot of flavors that are taking center stage instead of sugar. So, bye bye, sugar!
When I develop a recipe to have no sugar, I often add an extra egg for binding, and I often add more spices and vanilla that I would if baking with sugar. That was super easy to do with carrot cake, because I love my carrot cake spicier anyway. Bring on the ginger and the cinnamon and the nutmeg and the allspice! I swear, allspice makes me swoon.
This recipe is really pretty easy to throw together. The most difficult part of it is grating the carrots, because does anyone enjoy washing a food processor? But it’s worth it. My tip: wash the food processor immediately after using it. Everything will wash out more easily if you do this, and then it’s not such a chore. You’re going to use the small size grater anyway – which, in my book, is easier to rinse off quickly than the blade.
Use this recipe with two 8-inch cake pans to make a beautiful, traditional carrot cake complete with this Vegan Sugar Free Cream Cheese Frosting. I’ll let you in on a secret – I’m not a huge frosting fan, so sometimes I will also just pour this batter into a 9x9 square baking pan lined with parchment and make a tray bake out of it. I cut it up into squares, and I eat it for breakfast with my favorite Healthy Hemp Berry Spinach Smoothie. It’s the perfect start to any day. Why wait for dessert to eat carrot cake? With no sugar, this carrot cake is waaaaaaay healthier than anything I ate for breakfast growing up (not going to mention any names…).
Since this recipe is using grapeseed oil as its fat, you can opt for either a stand mixer or just mixing by hand. I love recipes that don’t require so many electric appliances, but I also love my stand mixer for getting the job done super fast. So, either way you choose, this recipe works beautifully. Give yourself a treat and make it today.
Why You’ll LOVE this Recipe:
- Moist delicious carrot cake
- Completely sugar free
- Only sweetened with stevia
- Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free
- Easy to make
- Quick to make
Ingredients for Paleo Sugar Free Gluten Free Carrot Cake:
- baby carrots
- almond flour
- sea salt
- baking soda
- baking powder
- liquid stevia
- vanilla extract
- grapeseed oil
- raisins (optional)
Notes on Ingredients:
Carrots – The fresher the carrots, the sweeter they are. Use freshly bought carrots for a naturally sweet and delicious carrot cake. Don’t pull out that old bag at the bottom of your veggie drawer and expect those gnarly old carrots to taste like heaven. Buy a fresh bag of… baby carrots. Yes, baby carrots. They’re already peeled, and they are less fibrous which means they’re sweeter. Plus, they’re already the perfect size for tossing into the food processor without having to cut them first. Easy peasy.
Almond Flour – Almond flour is super healthy and Paleo. It has lots of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. It also provides a natural nutty sweetness (don’t worry – you don’t taste the almond flavor at all). It’s a great flour for adding moisture, too, which is what we want in a carrot cake. Almond flour is just another key part in making this carrot cake super moist and scrumptious.
Spices – I love baked goods full of warming spices, and that’s why this carrot cake is full of not just cinnamon and nutmeg but also a heaping teaspoonful of ground ginger and allspice (I looooooooooove allspice!). When baking without sugar, it helps to be more generous with the amounts of spice used. Carrot cake naturally lends itself perfectly to this little trick.
Eggs – We’re using 6 large eggs in this recipe. The eggs are a binder, they act as a leavener, and they’re providing a lot of moisture. They’re full of healthy protein, so this cake ends up being more filling than your usual carrot cake. Theoretically, that means it lasts longer because you don’t gobble up the whole thing in one day. Theoretically.
Stevia – Stevia is the only sweetener used in this carrot cake recipe. I always use liquid stevia. It’s not as bitter as powdered stevia.
Vanilla – When I was developing this recipe, I noticed that a lot of carrot cake recipes don’t use vanilla at all. But, since we’re not using sweeteners here, we want to add in as much flavor as we can, and nothing gives baked goods that perfect depth of flavor like vanilla. You won’t taste it in the final cake, but it will make your cake taste much better.
Grapeseed Oil – Again, we’re looking for the moistest carrot cake possible, so using an oil in liquid form is the way to go here. Grapeseed oil is full of healthy fats, and it is flavorless which makes it perfect to use in baking.
Walnuts – Ok, ok. I know that half of you out there are shouting at your phones saying, “Walnuts??? Are you serious???” That would mean you all expect PECANS, not walnuts, in your carrot cake. It’s all good. It’s simply a matter of taste. Some people prefer walnuts in their carrot cake. Some prefer pecans. If you’re using pecans, please toast them in the oven (350 F is fine) for 10 minutes to bring out their flavor more. You don’t need to toast walnuts before using them.
Raisins - This is another dealbreaker for some people. Personally, I leave the raisins out because they are a high-FODMAP food, and they give me an unpleasant aftermath if you know what I mean. I love the taste of raisins in carrot cake, and they will definitely add more sweetness if that’s what you’re looking for. Know your body. They’re not necessary, and the cake will still taste sweet enough and delicious without them.
How to Make Paleo Sugar Free Gluten Free Carrot Cake From Scratch
After preheating the oven and preparing the pans (grease the bottoms and sides AND cut out a circle of parchment paper to put on the bottom – but don’t grease the top of the parchment paper), I like to grate the baby carrots first. Toss them in the food processor and grate them. Easy peasy. Set them aside.
This is a great cake for a day when you want to minimize how many times you wash the bowl and paddle of your stand mixer. You can make this cake easily by hand, because the fat is a liquid oil (no creaming necessary).
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Then, add the wet ingredients. Stir until well combined. Finally add the walnuts and raisins (if you’re using raisins). Stir to evenly distribute.
Now you’re ready to bake that cake!
Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the tops of the cake. Tip: Dampen the rubber spatula with a little water to make it easier to smooth the tops of the cakes.
Put the cake in the oven and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Tip: Test your cake for doneness by inserting the toothpick halfway between the center and the edge. Why? The center is the last part of the cake to finish baking through. If you wait until the center is completely baked, you risk the rest of the cake being too dry. Conversely, if you test for doneness at the edge of the cake which bakes the fastest, you risk the center being undercooked. Testing for doneness somewhere between the center and the edge ensures a cake that is cooked just right.
Let your cakes cool before frosting.
While the cakes are in the oven, prepare my Vegan Sugar Free Cream Cheese Frosting.
Once the cakes are cool, run a butter knife around the edges of the cake pans before flipping the cakes out onto a rack.
Frost the cake layers evenly. This frosting recipe is enough to cover the entire cake. Decorate as you wish. I like to use walnut halves if I can have enough of them on hand. If I don’t have enough nice-looking walnut halves, then I will just finely chop ½ cup of walnuts pieces and sprinkle them on top of the cake. I like to sprinkle the walnut pieces around the diameter of the cake to make a walnut ring design, but feel free to get creative and make your own design.
Tip: When you’re decorating a cake, it’s nice to give a hint as to what is inside the cake. When people see walnuts on top of white frosting, they usually recognize that it’s a carrot cake.
Store your cake wrapped in these beautiful beeswax wrappers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days…. If the cake lasts that long. Enjoy your beautiful and delicious (and healthy!) carrot cake!
Please leave a comment below and let everyone know how your cake turned out.
More Sugar Free Cake Recipes:
- Paleo Double Chocolate Cake
- Paleo Black Forest Cake
- Paleo Orange Chocolate Cake
- Paleo Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake
- Paleo Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake
- Paleo Sheet Cake with Chocolate Frosting
- Paleo Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting
Paleo Carrot Cake - Sugar Free Gluten Free
- 1 food processor
- 3 cups baby carrots, grated
- 3 cup blanched almond flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 6 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon liquid stevia
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup grapeseed oil
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped plus ½ cup for decorating
- 1 cup raisins optional
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Use the small size grater attachment on your food processor to grate the baby carrots. Put aside.
- In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients– almond flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.
- Add the eggs, liquid stevia, vanilla, and grapeseed oil. Stir until completely combined.
- Add the carrots and stir until combined.
- Add the raisins (if using) and walnuts. Stir until well-distributed throughout the batter.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool and then assemble with a layer of Vegan Sugar Free Cream Cheese Frosting in the middle and all around the sides and top.
- Decorate the top of the cake with either walnut halves or chopped walnut pieces.