Grain-free Carrot Cake Recipe (Version 2)

Hi everyone!

First off I want to thank each and every one of you who reached out to me via blog comments, Instagram, Facebook, and email after this weekend’s (very personal) post on my ongoing struggles. I am absolutely blown away by all of your support, and slightly overwhelmed by all of the other suggestions for testing and diet modifications. Haha. I wish I could see every single doctor, try every treatment, and do every diet that all of you recommend, but for now I’m just focusing on the information I will be gaining soon from my recent testing and doctors, and hope that it will help me.

Seriously though, I do want to respond to each an every one of you, because every person really touched my heart, and helps me to not feel alone in all of this. Unfortunately it doesn’t make it much easier, but it helps me stay strong and have more hope. So thank you all so much, I am just so blown away by all of you!

paleo grain-free carrot cake by primal palate-1

Grain-free Carrot Cake

Yesterday I got up and made a special cake for my mother in law. She had a “milestone” birthday this past Sunday, and she spent it in a hospital in Ohio helping take care of her father in law (Bill’s Pop Pop), who needed emergency surgery on Friday night. Say a little prayer that Pop Pop heals up. It’s been a little rough this year between my stuff, and some illness with grandparents, and I think I can speak for Bill’s whole family when I say that we are ready for some happy times!

Even though I’m still feeling really fatigued, and just kind of weird, I really, really wanted to do something special for Bill’s mom. She always puts others before herself, and I just wanted to find some way to make her birthday a little special. I know I’m not the only one who felt that way as well.

paleo grain-free carrot cake by primal palate-2

Carrot cake is her all time favorite cake, and the first carrot cake I ever made was for her birthday 4 years ago, when we had first started blogging. To this day she says it’s the best carrot cake she has ever had, so of course I wanted to challenge myself to make one even better. My grain-free baking skills have come a long way since we first started our blog in 2010!

For this recipe I used our Petite Chocolate Cake from Make it Paleo 2 (IN STORES NOW!) as the recipe base (minus the cocoa), added shredded carrots, chopped pecans, and some delicious spices.

**(If you already have the book, please help us out by leaving a review for it on Amazon!)**

Make it paleo 2 chocolate cake

The Petite Chocolate Cake is a dairy-free cake, but for this recipe I did use butter, because I needed it for the frosting anyway. Speaking of which… this carrot cake is NOT dairy-free, and I used organic powdered sugar in the frosting, so technically it’s not super Paleo-friendly, but it’s a great gluten-free/healthier option to any carrot cake you would buy in a bakery. One of these days I will work on a dairy-free cream cheese frosting recipe, but yesterday I just didn’t have the time or energy to try to figure it out, and I wanted to make sure this cake was exactly what Bill’s mom would want.

paleo grain-free carrot cake by primal palate-27

Here are some tips on how you could possibly modify this recipe to make it dairy and refined sugar free:

  • For the butter, just sub equal amounts of palm shortening. We use the spectrum brand which is sustainably sourced.
  • For the cream cheese, you could try using the Daiya brand which is a dairy, gluten, and soy-free cream cheese.  I’ve never used this product, because unfortunately it contains many ingredients, some of which I don’t love, but if dairy makes you sicker than the ingredients in this product, you could try it out.
  • The most Paleo option would be to make your own cultured coconut milk cream cheese, but that is a beast that I have not tried to tackle yet.
  • You could also try making my dairy-free vanilla frosting and adding a touch of apple cider vinegar to it to try to get that classing cream cheese tang.
  • As for the sweetener, my good friend Brittany Angell told me she just started working with honey powder, which she uses to make powdered sugar by processing it even more in her food processor. I have yet to try it, but she told me the flavor is great, and it’s much lighter in color than maple sugar, so it wont change the color of your frosting as much. If you don’t care about the color of your frosting, I would suggest using maple sugar, and blitzing it in your food processor to make it powdered sugar.


Carrot Cake Layer Assembly Process


To top it all off (literally) I drizzled this goats milk salted bourbon caramel that we found at Whole Foods over the cake (it came in a tiny jar, and was more than enough for the cake, which was awesome).

paleo grain-free carrot cake by primal palate-16

Paleo Carrot Cake Decoration - Primal Palate

Then topped it with chopped pecans that I lightly sautéed in ghee, salt, and cinnamon. This cake is pretty much all things over the top, but what can I say, I just love making ridiculous deserts. If I felt like I was doing the world something good I would consider opening a bakery because I love baking that much, but I think I’m benefitting you all more by offering window shopping desserts, so I’ll just stick with making things for pictures.

I hope you guys love this recipe, and if you can’t or don’t want to eat it, I hope you enjoy looking at it just as much!



paleo grain-free carrot cake by primal palate-25

paleo grain-free carrot cake by primal palate-24

Carrot Cake (version 2)

This is our revised Carrot Cake recipe. It is based off of our original Carrot Cake which we made in 2011, and it is wonderful! This is a great cake to make for Mother's Day, Easter, or any special occasion you would like!

Serves: 8

Serves: 8decrease servingsincrease servings



Note, these instructions are written assuming the standard serving size, since you have modified the number of servings, these steps may need to be modified for best results
  1. Preheat the oven to bake at 350 degrees, and grease two 6 inch spring form cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, arrowroot flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.
  3. Add the softened butter to the bowl, and set aside.
  4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, blend together the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract using a hand mixer.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and blend again with a hand mixer until smooth.
  6. Fold in the grated carrots and chopped pecans.
  7. Place your cake pans onto a baking sheet, and pour the batter equally into each cake pan, smoothing out the top just slightly.
  8. Place the cakes on the middle rack, in the center of the oven, and bake for 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing from the cake pans.
  10. To remove the cakes, release the sides of the spring form pan, and run an offset spatula under the bottom of the cakes, and carefully lift them from the pan. Place one cake onto a cake stand, and add a layer of frosting, then top with the second cake, and continue to frost the entire cake.
  11. To frost the cake, first do a thin layer of frosting all over the cake, and then place the cake in the fridge for the crumb coat to set. Frost as desired from here. Using a small offset spatula is your best bet for perfectly frosted cakes.
  12. Once the cake is frosted, drizzle with salted caramel if desired, and top with toasted chopped pecans.


I prefer to use 6 inch cake pans when I make cakes. The presentation is much nicer, and it's the perfect size to serve a small group of people. You can also make this recipe in a smaller sheet pan, or in cupcakes. I haven't tested the time for either of those, so I would just start checking after 30 minutes. If you cannot tolerate dairy, you can use my Dairy-Free Vanilla frosting for this cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting (Version 2)

This delicious cream cheese frosting follows the 20% rule for sure, but is a great recipe for those looking to make real cream cheese frosting with high quality ingredients!

Serves: 10

Serves: 10decrease servingsincrease servings



Note, these instructions are written assuming the standard serving size, since you have modified the number of servings, these steps may need to be modified for best results
  1. Before making this frosting, be sure that you allow your butter and cream cheese to fully soften to room temperature. I prefer to leave the butter out for a few hours, but the cream cheese should be ready within an hour.
  2. Place the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl, or a standing mixer, and beat until fluffy.
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, and beat after each addition until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Once all of the sugar is added to the frosting, beat the mixture for 3-5 minutes or until it's whipped and creamy.
  5. Keep the frosting at room temperature until you have used what you need to frost your cakes or cupcakes, and then refrigerate what is left, or freeze for later use.
Primal Palate Spice Blends

Share a recipe

Upload your own recipes to Primal Palate, and help others find great food on our site,, meal planner and app!

Primal Palate Cooking Channel


    1. amywolfrey
      March 6, 2015

      This is beautiful Hayley – and everything a celebration cake should be! Your mother in law sounds like a pretty amazing lady and I’m sure she loved this.

    2. jenniferganey
      March 9, 2015

      How much baking powder should be in the recipe?

      1. March 12, 2015

        Hi Jennifer,

        So sorry about that. It’s 1 tsp. For some reason it didn’t get saved in the recipe. It should be fixed now.

    3. kent.rogers59
      March 11, 2015

      1 tsp of baking powder (aluminum free of course) should be fine. This is also the amount Hayley used in her original version.

    4. jenniferganey
      March 12, 2015

      I used 3/4 baking powder (based on a smaller cake) and it seemed to work. This cake is even better than the original. I created a new recipe for the frosting as my daughter and I cannot tolerate dairy. Here is the post if you would like to try it – http://www.jenniferganey.com/carrot-cake/

    5. frankthurston
      May 8, 2015

      Beautiful.Thanks for sharing.

    6. tinuvi
      February 3, 2016

      I’d like to make this cake for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. Neither she nor my husband can eat pecans, though, and similar nuts such as walnuts are out too. I’m afraid of affecting the volume and texture of the cake too much by leaving them out, though – any thoughts as to substitutions? Do you think just leaving the nuts out would work?


    Write a Comment

    You need to be registered and logged in to post a comment.