Paleo Carrot Cake with Maple Cashew Frosting

Paleo Carrot Cake with Maple Cashew Frosting

Welcome to One More Clove!

I spent hours toiling over what my first post should be (living my best Libra life) and I kept coming back to this paleo carrot cake. Today is my 36th birthday and a cake was the only appropriate choice.

You could put cream cheese frosting on just about anything and I would love it. We all know that people who love carrot cake love it for the frosting. Maybe it’s the cake, but the carrots? Probably not… This paleo carrot cake with a tangy maple cream “cheese” frosting will satisfy anyone looking for a healthier option for their favorite cake. In fact, you probably won’t miss the dairy, cane sugar, or gluten. As a note: this is not a low calorie food.

Why this paleo carrot cake?

Why did I choose this paleo carrot cake? Well, I’ll tell you. Fifteen years ago, to the date, my boyfriend baked me a carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting (from scratch!) for my birthday. I was working as a pastry chef at the time and he had never baked a cake before. Not even from a box. He chose a pretty elaborate recipe, and I’m still not sure why he chose carrot cake. He surprised me with a perfect little six inch masterpiece. I knew in that moment that I was going to marry this man. We tied the knot four years later.

I have updated the original recipe that David chose to accommodate the way we eat currently. I developed food allergies as an adult and one of my biggest allergens is wheat (quite ironic for a pastry chef). We also have cut out cane sugar and most dairy products. This paleo carrot cake is deceptively delicious, even without all these traditional ingredients.

Let’s talk about the ingredients

Carrots: it is best not to use pre shredded carrots from the store. They tend to be dry and grated far too coarse for a cake. I use my food processor for a fine shred, but a box shredder works great as well. Also, make sure to use regular sized carrots, not baby (I’m looking at you David), unless you want to be grating your knuckles!

Almond Flour: this is my favorite gluten free and paleo friendly flour to use. Almond flour is made from finely ground almonds and is not to be confused with almond meal which is a coarser grain. It lends a beautiful crumb and the natural oils in the almonds keep this cake moist.

Coconut Sugar: I am currently obsessed with using coconut sugar as a replacement for cane sugar. You can generally replace coconut sugar cup for cup with regular sugar and brown sugar. It lends a deep caramel like flavor similar to brown sugar.

Nuts and Pineapple: these add both texture and moisture to the cake. You can use whatever nut you like. I used walnuts but pecans would be equally delicious. Crushed pineapple adds additional sweetness and moisture to the cake and I don’t recommend omitting it, but you can if you absolutely hate pineapple.

Cashews: when soaked and blended, cashews turn into a luscious cream that is the perfect base for a dairy free and paleo frosting. It is worth the extra step.

Coconut Cream: this is the thick layer on top of coconut milk when it has been refrigerated. I always keep a few cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator because you never know when you need frosting or whipped coconut cream!

Substitutions: this cake can easily be made vegan by replacing the eggs with flax eggs. The spices can also be adjusted to your liking. If you like nutmeg, throw it in! Not a fan of ginger, omit it!

If you’re a fan of carrot cake, I urge you to try this paleo carrot cake. It is worth the effort!

Paleo Carrot Cake with Tangy Maple Cashew Frosting

A delicious grain free, refined sugar free, and dairy free carrot cake to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8


Carrot Cake

  • 2 c almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (optional if you like a sweeter cake)
  • 3 eggs (or flax eggs for vegan) large
  • 1/4 c avocado oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c carrots finely shredded
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c crushed pineapple

Maple Cashew Frosting

  • 1 c cashews soaked 8 hours
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 c coconut cream
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Carrot Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prep 2 6" cake pans with pan spray and a round of parchment paper in the bottom.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  • In another medium bowl whisk together the eggs (or flax eggs if vegan), coconut sugar, maple syrup (if using for a sweeter cake), avocado oil, and vanilla extract.
  • Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Fold in the carrots, walnuts, and pineapple.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake feels firm.
  • Cool the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes and then release them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Maple Cashew Frosting

  • Soak the cashews overnight or if you're in a time crunch you can pour boiling water over them and wait twenty minutes.
  • Drain the cashews and place them in the food processor or high speed blender.
  • Blend the cashews on high until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl every few minutes. This should take about 5 minutes and you will essentially end up with cashew butter.
  • Add the coconut cream, maple syrup, salt, vanilla, and lemon juice.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • The frosting may be soft and can be chilled to thicken up further.

Cake Assembly

  • Once the cakes are cool, place one on a plate.
  • Spread about half of the cashew frosting on top of the cake going all the way to the edge.
  • Place the second cake on top of the cashew frosting.
  • Spread the second half of the cashew frosting on top of the cake.
  • Decorate with cake with chopped nuts, raisins, carrot roses, or fresh flowers.


This cake can be kept room temperature for up to 3 hours but should be refrigerated after that.
It keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, grain free, paleo, refined sugar free, vegan option

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