Paleo Carrot Cake w/ Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

So I’m finally back east with the fam…and just like every year, Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday fell right next to each other and we had a nice little celebration.  Good dinner, good wine, good cake.

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Ah, cake.  My favorite dessert in the whole wide world is cake.  OK, no…it’s the frosting.  But you know, cake is the mighty vessel upon which it rests in all its gooey glory.

So carrot cake has always been my Dad’s favorite (and, incidentally, mine) so it’s seriously been the go-to every year.  No, really…every year.  So I had big shoes to fill since I’m pretty sure everyone we know has had their had some year or another…some years we ordered special from fancy bakeries…some years we totally forgot and ended up grabbing a pre-made one at Safeway…and, obviously, Mom has made more than a few and it felt like every year she’d do something a little different (nuts vs. no nuts…pineapple vs. no pineapple…etc).

I know generally how to make a carrot cake…but just like making a Paleo version of anything you love, there’s a lot of pressure not to f*ck it up when cooking for your very-not-Paleo-family..  I’m moving away from my general formula for cakes and cupcakes and muffins and other bread-y baked goods to be, you know, creative and all…and also just to experiment with texture.  I’m a huge believer in changing up your repertoire and trying new things in the kitchen since, sure…you might have a tried and true recipe for Mom’s Apple Pie that might be “good,” but not “great”?  I’ve had waaaaaay to many of someone’s mom’s or grandmothers cookies that they swore were the best ever…unmatched past, present, and future…and honestly, dude, not THAT great.  Sorry.

I based this cake recipe off of the infamous vanilla cake over at Pretty in Primal.  To date, it really is the best plain vanilla cake I’ve had, and like any good white or yellow cake recipe, you can personalize it in a million different ways.  The texture is moist…like stick-to-you-fork-moist.  Most of my cakes and muffins of old are primarily coconut flour and egg-based, which is fine, but like I said I wanted to get crazy and see what happened.

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At the very least, I knew that if the cake sucked, I could always hide it under gobs of cream cheese frosting.  That’s pretty much my solution for everything in life.

But in case you were wondering, it didn’t suck.  In fact, Dad went back for seconds and said it was one of the best carrot cakes he’d every had…period.  For a man who’d had it every year for his birthday for…a lot of years…that sure made my day :-)

Paleo Carrot Cake w/ Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
  • For the Cake:
  • 1/2 c Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 c Almond Meal
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 1/2 c Maple Syrup (or honey)
  • 2 t Vanilla
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3/4 c Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • 3 Large Carrots, grated
  • 1/2 t Cinnamon
  • 1/2 t Nutmeg
  • 1/2 c Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/2 c Chopped Dates
  • For the Frosting:
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 c Maple Syrup
  • 3 T Full Fat Coconut Milk
  1. Note: This recipe made one, 9-inch cake layer that I split in two. Double the recipe for additional layers.
  2. Whisk all of your dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients (except the cream cheese, extra syrup, and coconut milk for the frosting) and beat on low with an electric mixer until everything is well combined.
  4. Pour into a greased and parchment-lines baking pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely and frost with the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
  7. To make the frosting, bring the cream cheese to room temperature and beat well with the maple syrup and coconut milk.


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11 Comments on Paleo Carrot Cake w/ Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Kati
    May 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm (2 years ago)

    This looks amazing. And now I am craving CAKE!!

    • tgipaleo
      May 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm (2 years ago)

      Glad I could help ;-)

  2. Jen
    June 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm (1 year ago)

    Carrot cake is my JAM. Can’t wait to try this. I have everything I need except cream cheese, so it’s like 98-3/4% guaranteed I’ll make this today.

  3. Fay
    August 26, 2013 at 12:00 am (1 year ago)

    I just made cupcakes out of this recipe and they turned out very nice. I was at first a bit skeptical as there is no oil but it turned out lovely and moist anyway. I did not add the coconut milk to the cream cheese frosting as I was a bit afraid it would be too runny, and it turned out very nice. Thank you for the recipe.

    • tgipaleo
      August 26, 2013 at 6:59 am (1 year ago)

      Glad you liked it!!

  4. Kathy
    September 1, 2013 at 10:11 am (1 year ago)

    I made the cake exactly as suggested (doubling the recipe to make a normal sized cake) and it was a hit! My father is confined to a paleo diet due to medical reasons and he could believe this cake was on it. This recipe is a keeper! :)

    • tgipaleo
      September 1, 2013 at 10:59 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you so much! I’m always happy to hear when a recipe of mine can please a crowd. This was my day’s birthday cake, too, and I think it convinced him Paleo wasn’t *always* about “rabbit food”!

  5. Ashley
    September 16, 2013 at 4:10 pm (1 year ago)

    How many cups of carrots would this be? I only have baby carrots on hand. Thx!

    • tgipaleo
      September 16, 2013 at 5:56 pm (1 year ago)

      I’d say about 1 1/2 cups works!


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