Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (gf, df)
We are BIG carrot cake fans. It is one of our favorite desserts. We have been waiting to make a carrot cake for the blog, and Easter seemed like the perfect occasion. We wanted this carrot cake to be legit— fluffy, moist, right amount of sweetness, with creamy, thick frosting. But we also wanted it to be “on brand”— a carrot cake that tastes amazing but leaves out gluten, dairy, and huge amounts of sugar.
We searched for inspo across the Google machine, Pinterest, and some of our favorite bloggers (Minimalist Baker and Ambitious Kitchen, namely). We found good stuff, but some were too complicated, used harder-to-find ingredients, or included dairy, too much sugar, or other ingredients we didn’t love. We finally landed on something that pulls the best parts from several recipes, played around with different ingredients and ratios, and mastered the most delicious, dairy free frosting that tastes just like a classic cream cheese frosting.
We know there's a debate about walnuts vs pecans, coconut or no coconut, raisins or no raisins. Our picks were chopped walnuts, unsweetened shredded coconut, and currants. We had lots of fun recipe and taste testing this one, and we think we ended up with an easy, super yummy carrot cake that you will love to make and love even more to eat!
2 C almond flour
1/2 C coconut flour
1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum or arrowroot starch (optional, improves texture)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp pink salt or sea salt
1/2 C chopped walnuts (may sub pecans or omit)
2 Tbsp currants (may sub raisins or omit)
1/3 C coconut oil (melted and cooled)
3 eggs (room temp)
1 C coconut sugar
1/3 C almond milk
1/3 C tahini paste
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 C finely shredded carrots*
*If your carrots are grated thicker, we recommend pulsing the in a blender or food processor until they are fine. This will make your cake more moist.
option 1: vegan cream cheese
8 oz vegan cream cheese (or regular)
4 Tbsp vegan butter (or preferred butter)
4 Tbsp powdered sugar
option 2: coconut buttercream
4 Tbsp coconut butter (we love Artisana or Eating Evolved)
4 Tbsp plain coconut yogurt (we love Culina, SO Delicious works too but is not as thick)
1 Tbsp pure organic maple syrup
Optional Crumb Coating:
1/2 C walnuts
1/2 C shredded coconut
This recipe works both for one 9x13 baking dish as well as divided into two 8 in round pans for a layered cake.
1. Remove eggs from the fridge to allow them to reach room temperature, preheat the oven to 350, and line one 9x13 or two 8 inch baking pans with parchment paper to prevent sticking and allow for easy removal of the cake for frosting.
2. Combine dry ingredients (flours, coconut, baking soda, spices, salt, walnuts, and currants) in a large bowl and set aside.
3. In another large bowl, combine melted cooled coconut oil, eggs that are room temp or nearly room temp, coconut sugar, almond milk, tahini, and vanilla extract, and whisk until smooth and well combined.
4. Mix the dry mixture gradually with the wet mixture until smooth and well combined.
5. Add in the shredded carrots and mix until well combined. The mixture will be thick. Use your hands if you need, until everything is well incorporated.
6. Using your hands or a spatula, press the dough into the pan spreading it evenly.
7. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes. Meanwhile, make the frosting.
8. For frosting option number 1, simply stir together softened butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. For frosting option 2, lightly warm the coconut butter until just softened, then combine with the coconut yogurt and maple syrup. Stir until smooth and creamy, then set aside and allow to completely cool.
9. Remove the cake from the oven and once completely cooled, spread a thick layer of frosting. If you chose to do two round cakes for a layered carrot cake, frost the top of one cake, layer the other cake over it, then frost the tops and sides.
10. For the optional walnut and coconut crumb layer, simply pulse walnuts and coconut in a blender or food processor. Sprinkle the crumbs on the top of the cake and use a spatula to spread crumbs along the sides of the cake. Enjoy!
*it's going to seem like a lot of carrots, almost too many carrots. The dough mixture will be thick and sticking to all the carrot shreds. Don't worry, you've done it right!
*you want the coconut oil to be liquid and nearly cooled to room temperature, and you want the eggs to not be super cold, ideally room temperature. Coconut oil composition changes quickly and easily depending on its temperature. If the eggs are too cold and mix with coconut oil (especially if the coconut oil is warm), the coconut oil will quickly become solid, and the mixture will coagulate.
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