Recipe: Grain-Free Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Icing (SCD/GAPS)

coconut flour carrot cake, coconut whipped cream
I never really liked conventional carrot cake — it tries to be too “healthy” while actually filled with loads of refined sugars and rancid vegetable oils. Adding to the sugar assault is the sickly sweet cream cheese frosting. Here is a recipe that is grain, sugar and dairy free and astonishingly satisfying without being cloyingly sweet. The earthy taste of the dates and pecans combined with the mild sweetness of the carrots makes for a beautifully textured and amazing comfort food. The thin layer of coconut cream icing adds another dimension to the experience. Your kids will love it!

Carrots have been used in sweet desserts since medieval times mainly because sweeteners were scarce and expensive, while carrots, which contain more sugar than any other vegetable besides the sugar beet, were much easier to come by. The origins of carrot cake are disputed but it is thought to come from Gothenburg, Sweden. Because of rationing during World War 2 the popularity of carrot cake was revived.

Here, I used 3 tablespoons of honey, but you can experiment and probably use less because the dates and carrots also sweeten the cake. I also like to soften the grated carrots by cooking them first in ghee, but you can skip this step if you like a somewhat coarser texture.

Grain-Free Carrot Cake



  1. In the food processor grate about 6 – 8 medium organic carrots
  2. Remove and place in a large pan and saute  the grated carrots in ghee until somewhat soft (this can be omitted if you prefer raw carrots)
  3. While the carrots cook, place the pecans in the food processor and process until it is a nut butter
  4. Place the eggs, ghee, honey, cooked carrots and vanilla in the food processor and mix
  5. In a bowl soak the pitted dates until soft (about 30 minutes) (start this when you start preparing)
  6. In a small processor, puree the dates until it is a paste (this will still have some chunks in it)
  7. Add the date paste to the large food processor and mix
  8. Add the coconut flour (start with 1/2 cup), baking soda, and spices and mix
  9. The batter should be somewhat thick but still pourable
  10. Pour batter into 3 small (7″) baking pans
  11. Bake on 325 for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  12. Cool on a rack



  • Slice the cake in half horizontally and create a layer in between the two halves. Ice the top as well.
  • Here is my video for creating the layers for my Cocoa Butter Layer Cake.

This post is shared at: Sunday School, Sugar-Free Sunday, My Meatless Monday, Monday Mania, Barnyard Hop, Real Food 101, Melt in mouth Monday, Homemaker Monday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday Tasty tidbits, Tasty Tuesday Naptime, Hearth & Soul Hop, Traditional Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Sustainable Ways, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Healthy 2Day, These Chicks Cooked, Turning the Table Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Foodie Friday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Food,Real Food Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday

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Leave a Comment

  • Hannah December 5, 2011, 2:47 pm

    Wow Jill this looks great! I’m definitely going to highlight this in one of my Saturday Snippets posts.

    • Jill December 5, 2011, 3:56 pm

      Hi Hannah,
      I’m sure you will enjoy this carrot cake. Thanks for featuring my recipes!

  • Laura @ GF Pantry December 5, 2011, 5:28 pm

    I LOVE carrot cake. And with the coconut cream icing…this sounds fantastic!

  • Meagan December 5, 2011, 9:26 pm

    Jill! Your recipes always look spot on. I’ve never tried using dates to sweeten baked goods. A lot of recipes do this, so some day I am just gonna have to try it out. I really enjoy using stevia, and coconut sugar, maple syrup, and raw honey in SMALL amounts. Or just do it unsweetened 🙂

    • Jill December 5, 2011, 10:44 pm

      Hi Meagan,
      Thanks for your comments! I always try to make the recipes SCD and GAPS legal so I do not use stevia, coconut sugar or maple syrup. Only raw honey.

  • Heather December 6, 2011, 12:37 am

    Do you have any suggestions for egg free?  The recipe looks awesome, perfect for a little persons birthday this week!

    • Jill December 6, 2011, 11:09 am

      Hi Heather,
      I have not made the recipe without eggs but here is a post that discusses egg replacer:

      Let me know how it goes!

      • Jill December 6, 2011, 5:13 pm

        There is also this egg replacement:

        1 egg = 1 tsp gelatin, 3 Tbs cold water and 7 tsp boiling water
        2 eggs= 2 tsp gelatin, 1/3 C. cold water and 1/2 C boiling Water
        3 eggs= 1 Tbs gelatin, 1/2 C. cold water and 1/2 C Boiling water

        Before Baking:
        1. Place, cold water in bowl
        2. Sprinkle gelatin to soften. Mix thoroughly with spoon.
        3. Add boiling water until desolved.
        4. Place in freezer to thicken while mixing cake or cookies or refrigerate
            (refrigeration takes a little longer)
        5. When time to add eggs, take thickened gelatin from freezer or
        refrigerator and beat until it’s frothy.. <———- THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT!!
        6. Add to recipe instead of eggs.

  • December 6, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Carrot Cake is one of my favorites…I can’t wait to try this!  I’m grain, dairy and refined sugar-free so this recipe is perfect…thanks for posting!

    • Jill December 6, 2011, 5:11 pm

      Hi Simplylivinghealthy,
      Thanks! Let me know how it goes! Your egg cups look great!

  • Jsr_43 December 6, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I can’t have honey, any suggestions as to what I can substitute? I can have stevia, maple syrup, brown rice syrup and agave.

    • Jill December 6, 2011, 5:10 pm

      Hi Jsr,
      I would go for the maple syrup — grade B has more minerals. Or a combination of stevia and maple syrup. I don’t know much about the rice syrup but the agave is not a good choice at all. I will be posting about that soon. Lots of marketing for a product that is junk.

    • Karik July 4, 2014, 4:57 pm

      So that’s the case? Quite a retloavien that is.

  • Beyond The Peel December 6, 2011, 6:35 pm

    I love dates as a sweetener. I looks like the cake has maintained it’s lightness while still carrying the density of a regular carrot cake. Oh and coconut cream. SO yummy and so easy to make!

  • Olah Momma! December 6, 2011, 10:13 pm

    Oh la la.  That looks so goood!

    Already your follower.  Just visiting.

  • Pari Vasisht December 7, 2011, 6:30 am
  • Vegyid2 December 7, 2011, 5:10 pm

    wow ! I can’t wait to try this cake. I love carrot cake but am gluten free. It looks amazing

  • Ruthshort December 8, 2011, 2:50 pm

    What about the baking soda?   I thought this was illegal for GAPS?

    • Jill December 8, 2011, 4:52 pm

      Hi Ruthshort,
      Baking soda is now acceptable on GAPS.

      • Ruthshort December 9, 2011, 4:30 pm

        That is so nice to know!

        May I ask where you learned this? 

        • Jill December 9, 2011, 9:42 pm

          Hi Ruth,
          Straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak — it was asked of Dr. Campbell McBride at the Weston Price Conference. You can also go onto the GAPS Yahoo group and verify it there.

          • Ruthshort December 11, 2011, 12:32 am

            Thank you!

  • Tiffany @ The Coconut Mama December 8, 2011, 7:46 pm

    Looks amazing, Jill!

  • Linda Etherton December 9, 2011, 1:18 am

    Oh yum!  I bet my guys would enjoy this.  

    • Jill December 9, 2011, 3:03 am

      Hi Linda,
      I think they would!

  • Couscous & Consciousness December 9, 2011, 9:19 am

    Love the idea of the dates in this, and the coconut cream frosting? – well I could just eat a bowl of that on its own!

  • Miz Helen December 9, 2011, 2:19 pm

    Hi Jill,
    That is a beautiful Carrot Cake, it looks awesome! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.  Hope you are having a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  • Matt @ FaveDiets December 9, 2011, 9:01 pm

    This looks delicious! I would love if you shared this in my holiday recipes Blog Hop. Enter it for a chance at a Wilton Pre-Baked Gingerbread Tree Kit!

  • Melissa @ Dyno-mom December 9, 2011, 10:41 pm

    I am definitely trying this! Thanks!

  • Leslie@realfoodfreaks December 9, 2011, 11:27 pm

    Looks delish!  I could go for a slice right now!

  • Penniless Parenting December 13, 2011, 6:13 am

    Wow, this looks delicious and looks like something I can make!!! Thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul blog hop!

  • Melanie January 17, 2012, 2:07 pm

    I love this recipe! I have made this 3 times now. I found it too salty the 1st time, until I let it cool, so now I use only 1/2 tsp salt. Also, I only have 1 food processor, so I shred the carrots first, then take those out and put them on the stove. Then I chop the dates in the food processor. Once the dates are chopped, I put them into a small bowl of water to soak while I make the pecan butter. Once the batter is ready, I pour it all into one greased 8×8 square baking dish, and bake at 325 for 40 minutes. Once it is cool, I cut it into squares for a great snack! Thanks Jill!

    • Jill January 17, 2012, 2:22 pm

      Hi Melanie,
      Thanks for your feedback. We love this cake in my house. I still make it in the 3 small pans for slices, but next time maybe I will use the 8 x 8. We also top it with my coconut cream icing.

  • Tiffany A. April 7, 2012, 4:35 pm

    Made this twice and it’s amazing! I made cupcakes both times, using carrot juicer pulp and halving the coconut flour to make up for less liquid. So moist and delicious; and SO easy! I just blend everything up in my Vitamix, pour into greased muffin tins and 20-25 minutes later I’ve got awesome cupcakes 🙂 Thanks!!

    • Jill April 7, 2012, 10:13 pm

      Hi Tiffany,
      Thanks so much for the feedback! i Love this cake too! Great idea to use the Vitamix!

  • Toni Legates March 16, 2013, 8:47 pm

    It looks beautiful and sounds delicious

  • Brenda Hanson December 9, 2014, 2:59 pm

    Is there anything we can substitute for the eggs or even a combo of ingredients?

  • Lina Yacan April 14, 2015, 9:23 am

    Hi, I’m starting my wheat free lifestyle. I wonder how big is this cake. you wrote 3 small pans 7″. why need to pour into 3 separate pans? If I halved the qty, can they fit into a 15cm rectangular pan? It’ll be the first time for me to bake wheat-free cake, so I just want to try with small batter first. Thanks a lot.

    • Jill April 14, 2015, 5:19 pm

      Hi Lina,
      You can try that size pan but it may need a different amount of time to bake. I use the three small pans just to make 3 small cakes… I freeze two of them.

      • Lina Yacan April 16, 2015, 6:52 am

        Hi Jill, I baked with half qty of yours, substitute the pecans with peanuts, added ground ginger too. it turned like wet cakes, I guess because I didnt find the correct qty of coconut flour in gram. the taste was delicious, almost no different than normal flour-baked carrot cake, only texture completely different. I’ll bake again by adjusting the qty of coconut flour.