A healthy carrot cake recipe with maple frosting. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and naturally sweetened without refined sugars.
Let’s start this post by wishing Mr. Peel a very happy 42nd birthday… Now the birthday man despises red velvet cake, likes spice cake and obsesses over carrot cake. He wanted the real deal for his birthday so I whipped up a healthy carrot cake, free of dairy and gluten. But it is his birthday, we splurged with eggs and coconut sugar. We live dangerously around here.
Now don’t start fretting over the fact that Mr. Peel is only getting carrot cake once a year. He frequently makes the totally delish raw carrot cake bites from Ferns & Peonies. You absolutely should try them the other 11 months of the year!
And while Mr. Peel with devouring his healthy carrot cake the dogs got some birthday cake too. Yep, Pumpkin Pupcakes for my little guys. Now back to our cake at hand...
How to Make a Healthy Carrot Cake
Making this carrot cake is baking 101. We mix the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients. Next, you combine. And into the oven to bake. Unlike some gluten and dairy free baking, this carrot cake recipe is a cinch.
The walnuts and raisins are optional. You can add any mix totaling to one cup. Personally, I like dried cherries and pecans but it wasn’t MY birthday so Mr. Peel insisted we stick with the classic carrot cake combination.
After the carrot cake has cooled, simply top with the maple frosting and serve right out of the pan. But today I was feeling fancy. I cut the cake into two layers and used a round cookie cutter to make individual cakes. Clearly, my frosting skills need some brushing up!
How to Make Dairy-Free Maple Frosting
I love adding the crystallized ginger but I can’t always find it. If you have some on hand, finely dice and hand fold it into the frosting. Quickly get to work frosting the cake. The heat is not kind to coconut milk.
To end, Mr. Peel and I need you to settle a dispute. Are you classic walnuts and raisins or is there another combination you prefer? Share your perfect add-ons in the comments!
Healthy Carrot Cake with Maple Frosting
- 2 c gluten free flour blend we used America's Test Kitchen but King Arthur or Bob's Red Mill work just fine
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- pinch clove
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 c coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1 c applesauce
- 1/3 c coconut oil, melted
- 2 c carrots, grated
- 1/2 c walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 c raisins
- 1 can coconut cream 14 oz approx.
- 1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/8 c crystallized ginger, chopped optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix dry ingredients (GF flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg) and set aside.
- Combine eggs, vanilla, sugar, molasses, applesauce and mix on high until creamy. Whip in melted coconut oil.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet slowly. Mix until well combined.
- Fold in grated carrots by hand.
- Fold in any nuts or dried fruit.
- Pour into 9x9 greased baking pan.
- Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.
- Chill the can of coconut cream while prepping the cake.
- Pour the entire can into a mixing bowl. Beat on high until light and fluffy. Be patient it takes a minute.
- Whip in maple syrup and vanilla.
- Gently fold in crystallized ginger, if using.
- Ice cake quickly. If the frosting gets to warm place in fridge to chill for 15 minutes and start again.
- Hand grate carrots, using a food processor makes them too moist.
- Sub 1 cup granulated sugar or 1/2 c granulated sugar + 1/2 c brown sugar for the coconut sugar and molasses.
- Not AIP elimination phase compliant.