A scrumptious sugar free, gluten free carrot cake full of flavor and never dry, topped with a silky cream cheese frosting that is to die for! It is made with almond flour and coconut flour and absolutely zero sugar.
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While I don’t necessarily do well following any type of diet or way of eating I do try and cut the sugar whenever I can. Lately I have been turning to keto recipes because for me I feel much better when I eat higher fat and lower carb. For me, I feel this way of eating gives me more energy and I feel full longer so I end up eating less.
So while I wouldn’t say I am a hard-core keto eater, I have been turning to this way of eating more often and love the fact that it is so easy these days to replace the sugar in my favorite treats. Like this easy gluten free carrot cake. Carrot cake is my absolute favorite cake on earth!
The combo of all the fall spices and the creamy cream cheese frosting that a good carrot cake is known for – a combination as good as peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese and ketchup!
Why this is the best gluten free carrot cake
- Delicious flavor – The cake has lots of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger that give it wonderful fall flavor. The cream cheese frosting is silky and flavorful.
- Moist texture – The cake uses oil and eggs as binders so it stays moist and never dries out.
- Healthy substitutions – It substitutes almond and coconut flours for wheat flour to make it gluten-free. It uses stevia instead of sugar to reduce calories and carbs. The recipe is naturally low carb and keto. It’s also paleo, dairy free, and vegetarian, so it works for several different diet needs.
- Easy to make – Even beginners could make this tasty sugar free, gluten free carrot cake.
Ingredients For gluten free, sugar free carrot cake
- Eggs – works as a binding agent to hold the cake together and add moisture to the cake.
- Unsweetened coconut milk – but you can also substitute with almond milk or dairy as you wish.
- High oleic safflower oil – you can also use another oil that has a neutral taste.
- Salt – salt amplifies the flavor in most foods.
- Powdered stevia blend – Presidents Choice makes a great blend but there are many on the market. Pyure and Swerve at two other great brands that can be found in most organic food aisles.
- Coconut flour – is made solely from coconuts and has a low glycemic index.
- Almond flour – Made entirely from almonds. Look for fine-grind almond flour where possible.
- Baking powder – the agent that helps the cake rise.
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg – I prefer to finely grate a whole nut on the fine grate of a cheese grater so that the nutmeg is as fresh as possible.
- Orange zest – One large orange will do.
- Ground ginger
- Chopped pecans – Lightly pan-roasted to bring out a soft buttery flavor.
- Carrots – shredded finely. You can also use matchstick carrots if you don’t mind larger pieces in your carrot cake.
ingredients For keto cream cheese frosting
- Cream cheese – Full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature.
- Butter – Softened to room temperature.
- Powdered stevia – I like to use the Swerve brand. It works so well you can’t tell the difference between it and regular icing sugar one bit.
- Vanilla – because vanilla is always needed in baking… I dare you to find a baking recipe that doesn’t include vanilla. Except maybe pastry, but then vanilla is in the filing!
See the recipe card below for exact quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Milk options – While I used coconut milk, you could also use almond milk, soy milk, or a dairy milk depending on your preference and diet.
- Oil options – I used high oleic safflower oil, but you can also use high oleic sunflower oil, light olive oil, or avocado oil.
- Nuts – You can substitute the pecans for walnuts, or leave the nuts out altogether if you prefer.
How to make this Recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake
- In a large bowl add the eggs, milk, oil, orange zest and vanilla and whisk until combined.
- Place a large fine-mesh sieve over top of the bowl and then add the dry ingredients which are everything listed above but the carrots. Use a spoon to coax the dry ingredients through the sieve into the egg mixture. This helps to break up any larger lumps and to evenly distribute the ingredients into the liquid. My grandma taught me this trick! I use this method for my Grandma’s gingersnaps as well. Mix until just combined.
- In a small pan add the chopped pecans over medium heat and toast till they are slightly browned or roasted. Toss them around a few times to make sure they are toasted evenly. Do not overdo it.
- Fold in the nuts and carrots. Don’t overmix or the cake may become heavier once baked.
- Lightly grease two cake pans and flour with gluten-free flour or rice flour if you have some or line the pans with parchment paper instead to avoid sticking. Pour the batter evenly into both cake pans and use a spatula to level the top of the batter out flat.
- Bake at 350ºF for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the sugar free gluten free carrot cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then carefully turn the cake pans over to release the cakes onto a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely.
how to make keto carrot cake frosting
- Add the cream cheese, butter and vanilla to a large bowl and whip on high with a hand-mixer until it becomes smooth and creamy.
- Gradually add in the powdered stevia continuing to mix until well combined and smooth.
Assembling your easy gluten free carrot cake
Once the cakes are completely cool it is time to assemble this soon to be devoured sugar free, gluten free carrot cake!
- First, place one of the cakes top side down on a cake pedestal or flat plate.
- Spread about a 1/2″ layer of the carrot cake frosting over the top of this bottom later.
- Add the second cake top side down on top of the frosting.
- Last, frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting
- Leveling the flour – Be careful to measure the coconut flour accurately by levelling off the measuring cup. This flour is quite dense, so also be sure to spoon the coconut flour into the measuring cup vs scooping it out from the bag. Scooping will cause the flour to become more packed than spooning into the cup and will result in a larger measurement than required.
- Full fat cream cheese – Be sure to use full-fat cream cheese. Lower-fat types contain a higher water content and do not work as well.
- Unsalted butter – Unsalted butter is always used in baking because baking recipes are much more delicate and unsalted butter allows bakers to control the salt by adding it as only necessary.
Carrot cake decorating ideas
There are lots of ideas for how to decorate a carrot cake. Here are some of my favorites.
- Pecans or walnuts – Add chopped pecans or walnuts to the top either in the center of the cake in a small mound-like I show in this recipe. Or along the edge of the top and/or bottom of the cake.
- Coconut – Add shredded coconut in the same fashion described for the nut above or you could also add shredded coconut all over the cake to be part of the icing itself. Just evenly sprinkle over the top. And for the sides add a small amount to the palm of your hand and gently press along the side of the cake evenly into the frosting.
- Fall leaves – I used some fall leaves from the trees in the backyard to decorate this cake but gave them a quick rinse first and then made sure they were well dried. by leaving them out overnight before using them.
- Colored frosting – If you are feeling very artistic you may even want to make some additional cream cheese frosting and color some green and some orange. Then use a piping bag pipe baby carrots along the edge or a few in the center of the cake to look decorative.
I am no cake decorator so you will never see me attempt this but if you are a crafty or brave soul have at it and then send me a pic so I can see your lovely design!
Storage and Freezing
Should carrot cake be refrigerated? Well, because this cake is covered in cream cheese frosting, it can’t really sit out on the counter like other cakes. It will be ok on the counter for about 2 hours but after that, you will need to put it back in the fridge.
There are two ways to store this cake in the fridge.
- You can cover the cake with aluminum foil. But first, insert a few toothpicks over the top of the cake and possibly the sides if needed to push to keep the foil from getting stuck to the icing. I use foil because the toothpicks seem to break through the plastic wrap and then you will have a sticky icing mess. And trust me you don’t want one bit of this frosting to be sacrificed!
- Place the cake in the fridge uncovered but instead add two slices of bread to the exposed cake. Attached these two slices of bread to the cake with toothpicks. The bread will dry out before the cake will. You can use this trick with other cakes you leave on the counter, too.
To freeze, wrap the cooled cake layers and frosting separately in airtight containers or bags before freezing for up to 2-3 months. Thaw the cake and frosting in the fridge overnight before assembling, frosting and serving the carrot cake.
Keto carrot cake recipe FAQs
Surprisingly, yes! Carrots get a bit of a bad rap because they are higher in sugar than the green leafy vegetables, but carrots are loaded with fiber. Because carrots are so high in fiber, when you subtract the fiber from the total carbs, carrots come out as keto-approved veggies as long as they are eaten in moderation. This keto carrot cake recipe only uses 1 cup of shredded carrots for the whole cake, which works out to only 7.8 gram of carbs from the carrots for the whole cake!
Sure, can! Just pour the batter into a 9″ X 11″ sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or again until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait until it has cooled completely and then frost and decorate as you like.
Sure! It will no longer be keto-friendly or gluten-free, but you can sub the flours for all-purpose if you like. You may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of milk since all-purpose flour absorbs more liquid than nut flours.
Yes! Prepare the carrot cake batter as directed. Fill paper liners in a cupcake tin 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 350F for 18-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting with the cream cheese frosting.
Sugar Free, Gluten Free Carrot Cake
- 8" Round Cake Pans (2)
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Hand Mixer
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Large wire mesh sieve
- Icing knife
- Spatula or spoon
Keto & Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 1 cup safflower oil or olive oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 ¾ cups almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 2 ½ tbsp Stevia blend
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp orange zest
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup carrots finely shredded
- ¼ cup pecans chopped and toasted (optional)
Keto Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 ¼ cup Powdered Swerve or powdered stevia
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease two 8" cake pans. I like to dust with a little gluten-free flour or rice flour or you can line the pans with bottoms with parchment to reduce sticking.
- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and orange zest.
- Place a large wire sieve over the bowl and add the almond flour, coconut flour, stevia, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and baking powder. Using a spoon stir until all of the dry ingredients fall through the sieve into the egg mixture below.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until blended. Fold in the carrots and pecans.
- Evenly fill the cake pans with the batter and use a spoon or spatula to even out the batter in each pan. Baked for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then gently flip them over out of the pans on to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl add the cream cheese, butter and vanilla.
- Beat with a hand mixer on high until smooth.
- Gradually add in the powdered stevia or Swerve and continue mixing until well blended and smooth.
- Once the cakes are completely cooled place one of the cakes top side down on a cake pedestal or flat plate. Frost the top of this cake with about 1/2" of frosting.
- Place the second cake top side down on top of this icing layer. Continue to frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate as you wish and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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For the step-by-step version of this recipe, check out the How to Make Keto & Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Story.