Grain-Free Carrot Cake

Grain-Free Carrot Cake, Quirky Cooking

There are a few recipes that are pretty much essential to have in your repertoire – for example: a good vanilla cupcake recipe, a butter chicken recipe, a chocolate fudge recipe… and of course, a no-nonsense, delicious and comforting carrot cake recipe!!

I shared a gluten-free, dairy-free carrot cake recipe on the blog back in 2012 (and there’s an updated version in my Quirky Cooking cookbook), but I decided it was about time for a new one! I wanted a grain-free version that could be adapted for the GAPS diet… and now that I can have dairy I really wanted a more traditional cream cheese icing. ????

This version is grain free and starch free, and has a dairy-free variation for those who need it. If you can’t have nuts, see the suggestion in the notes below.

I’m looking forward to sharing this cake with my mum for Mother’s Day! I hope you enjoy it too.

Jo x

Watch the how-to video here!


Grain-Free Carrot Cake

  • Author: QuirkyJo



400g (3 cups) grated raw carrot

200g unsalted butter, or 180g coconut oil

4 large eggs

150g honey or pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla powder, or 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste

200g pineapple pieces (fresh, or tinned & juice strained off)

300g (2 cups) almond meal (I use blanched but whole almond meal should be ok)

50g coconut flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

150g walnuts, activated or raw

Icing (see dairy-free options in notes):

250g unsalted butter

500g cream cheese

100g (1/3 cup) honey or pure maple syrup (or to taste)

1/2 tsp vanilla powder, or 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste

1/8 tsp (small pinch) fine sea salt

Garnish (opt):

100g walnuts, roughly chopped

2 tsp freeze-dried blue butterfly pea flower petals (opt)

Also needed:

2 x 22cm springform cake tins

baking paper


Thermomix Method:


[Prep notes: Grate carrot in the Thermomix for 10 sec/speed 5. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Place butter or coconut oil into the bowl and melt 2 mins/50C/speed 3.]

  1. Prepare cake tins by lining the base with baking paper, attaching the ring, trimming off any paper sticking out, and greasing the inside with butter or coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 170C. (I use a fan-forced oven).
  3. In the Thermomix bowl, blend together melted butter or coconut oil, eggs, honey or maple syrup and vanilla for 20 sec/speed 6.
  4. Add grated carrot and pineapple and mix 5 sec/speed 4.
  5. Add almond meal, coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, bicarb, apple cider vinegar and walnuts, and mix 10 sec/speed 4.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins and use a spatula to smooth the tops.
  7. Place tins into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean and the tops of the cakes are lightly browned.
  8. Set cake tins onto cooling racks and leave to cool completely before icing. For ease of handling, you may want to chill the cakes in the fridge or freezer before removing from the tins.


  1. Place butter, cream cheese, honey or maple syrup, vanilla and salt into a clean Thermomix bowl and mix 1 min/speed 6 (or until smooth and creamy), using the spatula to help mixture along as needed.
  2. Once the cakes are cool and ready to ice, carefully run a butter knife around the edge of one of the cakes and remove the ring, then tip it upside down onto your hand and remove the base and paper. Gently place cake onto a cake plate, upside down so the smooth side is facing up.
  3. Place half the icing on top of the cake and use a butter knife to spread to the edges of the cake.
  4. Gently remove the second cake from the tin and place on top of first cake so that the smooth side is facing up.
  5. Place remaining icing on top of the cake and spread evenly with a butter knife, then use the knife to make scallops in the icing if desired. (The icing can be spread over the top and sides of the cake if preferred, I usually just spread over the top.)
  6. Decorate the top edge of the cake with chopped walnuts and blue butterfly pea flowers (if using).
  7. Place cake into the fridge and chill well before serving.

Conventional Method:


  1. Prepare cake tins as outlined above.
  2. Preheat oven to 170C. (I use a fan-forced oven).
  3. Warm butter or coconut oil in a pan over low heat until just melted. Set aside to cool a little.
  4. Place melted butter or coconut oil, eggs, honey or maple syrup and vanilla into a blender and blend on med-high speed for 20 seconds, or until foamy. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add grated carrot and pineapple to bowl and stir through.
  6. Roughly chop walnuts, and add to bowl with almond meal, coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, bicarb and apple cider vinegar and mix well to combine.
  7. Continue as above.


  1. Chop butter and cream cheese into cubes.
  2. Place butter, cream cheese, honey or maple syrup, vanilla and salt into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down side as needed.
  3. Continue as above.



GAPS/SCD/Paleo: Swap the cream cheese icing for the coconut cream icing below. Use honey as the sweetener rather than maple syrup.

Quark: Swap the cream cheese for quark, and omit the pinch of salt. Adjust honey or maple syrup to taste.

Nut free: I haven’t tried this recipe with pepita meal rather than almond meal, but I think it would work ok. If you’d prefer to use gluten-free flour instead of nut/seed meal, try the original recipe here and omit the walnuts.

Dairy-Free: Swap the butter for coconut oil in the cake. For a dairy-free icing, see below.


  • 400g thick coconut cream (eg. Ayam), chilled until firm

  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • ½ tsp vanilla powder, or 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

  • 120g honey or pure maple syrup (or to taste)


  • Mix the icing ingredients together in a Thermomix (speed 3) or food processor, until just combined.

  • Pour into a dish and refrigerate to thicken again.

  • When the cakes are cool, spread with with the coconut cream icing, garnish and chill.


Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag @quirkycooking on Instagram — I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

7 thoughts on “Grain-Free Carrot Cake

  1. Michelle says:

    Hi Jo, I’m making the Grain-Free Carrot Cake for a friend’s birthday, who loves carrot cake. The only thing is I started making it today (Friday) thinking we would catch up tomorrow, but now not catching up until Sunday night. I am wondering if I should freeze the cakes and then defrost and ice on Sunday, or just keep them in an airtight container and ice on Sunday (if just in an air tight container should I keep them in the fridge of just at room temperature). I have pre-made the icing and have that stored in a glass container in the fridge. Would love to here your recommendation. PS. I have made this cake before, it’s amazing. Thank you. Michelle

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Keeping it in the fridge for that time would be fine! Just ensure you freeze any leftovers as it’s best not to go past the four to five day mark. I hope you both enjoyed it!!

      • Shae says:

        Hi Jo, this grain-free recipe looks amazing! I was just wondering if there could be an extended shelf life to this cake by adding a liqueur to the batter and feeding with additional alcohol once cooled? Of yes, what liqueur do you think best compliments this flavor profile?

        • QuirkyJo says:

          Hi Shae, I’m sorry I have no idea if that would work – maybe ask in the Quirky Cooking Chat Group as someone there may have tried something similar!

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