Best Ever Paleo Carrot Cake Recipe
I know, I know, there are many out there who may claim that they have cracked the code, but I assure you, you’ve just landed on the creme de la creme of carrot cake recipes. Beyond the fact that you would never know its gluten-free, I made it mostly with ingredients from Costco and made a HUGE batch, so its a very economical recipe.
Here’s what you should be able to get there, though each store varies, so I make no guarantees:
- Organic Carrots
- Nutiva Coconut Oil
- Nutiva Coconut Flour
- Kirkland Maple Syrup
- Medjool or Deglet Noor Dates
- Organic Eggs
- Organic Raisins
- Walnuts or Pecans (I didn’t use this time, but I love nuts in my carrot cake)
The measurements below are double a traditional recipe, so you may originally think its way more than what you need, but I highly recommend you make at least this size, but if you REALLY only want a traditional single batch, all of these measurements can easily be cut in half.
You can make some as muffins, some in loaf pans and even a couple round cake pans and freeze what you don’t want to eat right away. This can easily be done by freezing individual pieces on a sheet pan and then either putting into ziplock bags once frozen or wrapping well in saran wrap then tin foil once frozen. When you’re ready to eat, just defrost and warm in oven if you like or just frost and serve. Or if you want to put a muffin into a lunchbox, just pop it in frozen and by lunchtime it will be thawed and ready to eat! Easy peasy!
2 cups date paste from about 10 Medjool or 15 Deglet Noor dates (see notes below)
2 cups coconut oil, melted
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups coconut flour (This cannot be subbed in these measurements for another paleo flour, so if you want to use almond, potato, tapioca instead, I recommend finding another recipe. Coconut flour is in a world all its own.)
1/4 cup cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons good-quality salt (none of that iodized junk please)
5 cups shredded carrots (small grater food processor attachment is great for this)
2 cups raisins
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tablespoons fresh ginger (used same small food processor attachment) OR 2 tablespoons powdered
Optional: 1-2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
1. To make date paste, pour boiling water over bowl of pitted dates and allow to soften 15-20 minutes. Even if the label says pitted, make sure to check each one as you wouldn’t want to accidentally blend a pit! Pull dates from water and place in blender or food processor and blend until smooth, adding the water from you soaked dates as needed to fully blend.
Note: if you don’t have a Vitamix or blender with a plunger, I recommend you use a food processor as this mixture will be too thick for a standard blender (unless you water it way down).
I like to make extra date paste and store in the fridge for later use. It will last at least a month, if not longer (if mold begins to grow, thats your cue you waited too long).
2. For cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix first 4 ingredients (oil, eggs, maple syrup and date paste) in a large mixing bowl with a whisk or electric beater until smooth. If using fresh ginger, you can add this in now.
In a separate bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add to that your carrots, raisins and coconut and blend with your hands or a large spoon, making sure to coat and separate chunks of carrot and raisin.
Add this mixture to your wet mixture and stir until fully blended. Because the coconut flour is like a sponge, it will look more like a dough than a batter once its fully blended.
If making cakes, line tins with parchment paper and grease with butter or coconut oil for easy removal, especially if you’re planning on freezing like I did. If making muffins, I still like to use a coconut oil spray in my muffin liners or tins for easy removal.
Note: I have been using silicone baking cups with great success and highly recommend if you want to start batch cooking regularly. You can freeze smaller portions of soups, mashed potatoes, chili, etc. as I explain in my Guide to Batch Cooking.
Bake time will vary based upon whether using muffin tins, cake or loaf pans. Muffins are typically done in about 25-30 minutes, a 2 inch deep cake may take up to 40 and a loaf pan could take up to an hour. To test doneness, lightly push in the middle of muffin or cake and look for it to spring back. You can also put a toothpick in the center and look for it to come out clean.
Also, depending on how well your oven circulates temperature and how many trays are being cooked at a time, I like to rotate trays back to front and top shelf to bottom shelf about 1/2 to 2/3 the way through cooking. Nothing worse than burnt bottoms and soggy tops due to uneven heating.
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 blocks full-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup salted Irish butter, softened
3/4 cup coconut or organic sugar (pic above used organic white for color. Coconut will be more brown)
2 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Liquid stevia to taste
Blend cream cheese and butter with a hand or standing mixer until fully incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add sugar, lemon and vanilla and beat another 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. If you’d prefer a sweeter frosting, add drops of liquid stevia in the final whipping stages until desired sweetness is reached.