Ridiculously tender, moist, and easy to whip up! These will surely become your go-to paleo and keto carrot cake (or cupcakes!)… at just 3g net carbs!
Paleo & Keto Carrot Cake (Cupcakes) 🥕
With Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting!
Whip it up as a fancy-pants layered cake, or keep it simple as cupcakes. Either way, you can expect a classic carrot cake experience through and through!
And don’t be turned off because ‘carrots aren’t keto’ (of course they are, just not in huge amounts!). The added carrot here is very similar to say pumpkin puree: while you can’t chug an entire can of the stuff, you can surely enjoy it sparingly.
Keto is a metabolic state after all, not a list of foods (and thaaank goodness for that!).
Oh, and an absolute must is it’s ideal companion: our cream cheese buttercream frosting.
What works best here is a mixture of super fine almond flour (I love Anthony’s the most!), psyllium husk (I like NOW) and golden flax seed meal best. No xanthan gum is needed here to yield a wonderful and moist crumb (hurray!)
Just keep in mind that for best texture and rise, you’ll always want to regrind your psyllium husk (or powder) and golden flaxseed meal in a dry blender or bullet. And it seems that, by regrinding your psyllium, you are lowering the odds of it turning your baked goods purple (hooray!).
You’ve got good options here. Erythritol (Lakanto is awesome here), allulose and xylitol (non-corn though to avoid tummy troubles!) are my top choices (no aftertaste at all!).
Pyure is also a good one for muffins and quick breads, particularly if you’re trying to limit your sugar alcohol consumption (it’s added stevia makes it twice as sweet as sugar… i.e. you add half!).
Oh, and if not restricted by sugars (i.e. paleo), simply sub 1-to-1 with coconut or regular sugar.
Gluten Free, Paleo & Keto Carrot Cake (or Cupcakes!)
- 48 g almond flour
- 30 g golden flaxseed meal finely ground*
- 2 tablespoons psyllium husk finely ground*
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch ground cardamom optional
- pinch ground ginger
- 57 g grass-fed butter or coconut butter, at room temp
- 1/3-1/2 cup erythritol or xylitol, to taste (we use 1/3 cup)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest optional
- 2 eggs
- 100 g finely grated carrots
- 30 g coarsely chopped pecans
For the frosting
- 1/2 batch cream cheese buttercream frosting
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line (or grease and flour) a muffin pan or cake pans, set aside.
- Whisk together in a medium bowl almond flour, flaxseed meal, psyllium husk, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Set aside.
- Cream butter in a large bowl until softened (1 minute), add the sweetener of choice and continue to cream until light and fluffy. Mix in vinegar, vanilla extract and orange zest until fully incorporated. Mix in the eggs one at a time, the batter will appear slightly 'broken' (don't worry!).
- Add in the dry flour mixture in two parts. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes until fully incorporated and elastic, the batter will thicken as you mix. Fold in carrots and pecans.
- Distribute batter evenly into pan, smoothing out the tops with wet fingertips. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until deep golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Check in on them after minute 10, and cover with aluminum foil as soon as they begin to brown (minute 13 for us).
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before removing, and cool completely in a rack before frosting. If building a layered cake: once cool refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Make your cream cheese buttercream frosting while your cupcakes or cakes are cooling. And frost away!
- If frosted, keep covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Without the frosting store in an airtight container at room temperature.
I have tried a bunch of keto cake recipes before and this has to be the best one yet! Thank you so much for sharing. I also tried your donuts and those were amazing as well! I’m so happy to have found your website.
I have a recurring question with your recipes that I would love to see an answer to: do we re-grind the flaxseed meal and psyllium husk BEFORE or AFTER measuring them? I’m sure there will be a difference in the final amount. I posted this question with one of your bread recipes and never saw an answer. Thanks.
It should weigh the same.
Just wow…I made the cupcakes last time but decided to go for a cake, and it was moist, tasty and dripping with creamy vanilla frosting…..the kids lapped it up and I feel so very happy that I can eat such a delicious cake and its all legal!! This will be in my top 5 of go to recipes. You would never know that this is sugar and flour free, in fact I think it tastes all the better for it.
Hi Paola! As a die hard carrot cake lover, I loved your recipe, and particularly the texture of this cake (made a 6-in)! I found that the taste of the flaxseed was a bit too strong for me, however. What could I substitute it with (or maybe just part of it) to try to soften that particular flavour, without compromising the lovely texture? For one, I will add more spice, which should help. I’ve also read about substituting ground flax seed with unsweetened apple sauce (on a Livestrong blog), but I’m suspicious of subbing in a liquid to replace a powder. Alternatively, I’m thinking ground chia seeds, but they’re sooo absorbent that I figure I’d have to add some kind of liquid. I’d love your thoughts as an experienced keto baker just to guide my experimentation 🙂 Thanks again for your wonderful recipes!
Did you use golden flaxseed or regular? Golden doesn’t leave as much of an aftertaste.
Golden flaxseed is best but needs refrigeration after opening…when it’s past date it’s very bitter and strong scented.
Absolutely! It goes rancid in a heartbeat, particularly in warm and humid weather (I even keep mine in the freezer!) xo!
Had not had carrot cake in years! This was incredible, will definitely make again. Followed all of your recommendations, used 50% allulose and 50% erithrytol for sweetener. All the fam wanted more, but it’s hard not to hoard my keto treats!
What role does the psyllium husk play?
I purchased both of your cookbooks Paola and love them! I made these carrot cake cupcakes and they are very gummy ( I cooked them for 17 minutes). What did I do wrong? I’m pretty bummed. The frosting is amazing 🙂
Excited to try this out! Carrot cake is my favorite. I have a question about erythritol in this. Every time I’ve used it, I get a minty aftertaste. You said that it wouldn’t leave an aftertaste here so I’m wondering if the ingredients in this counteract it somehow? I have so much that I bought on sale and am looking for ways to use it up where the mintiness won’t be noticeable or would be helpful (excited to try the mint chip ice cream with it!). Thanks Paola!
That “cool, minty” flavour you get is indeed erythritol. You may recognise the flavour from some hard, sugar-free candies.
I don’t know if you’re checking for replies, but I don’t like the aftertastes in a lot of sugar substitutes. What I found if you use 1/2 erythritol and 1/2 allulose, it should offset the aftertaste. So, if something calls for 1/2 C, use 1/4 cup erythritol and 1/4 C allulose. I LOVE allulose, it has zero aftertaste, and cooks like sugar. Browns, caramelizes, etc., as a lot of sugar substitutes do not. You can also try Lakanto classic, it’s a mixture of erythritol and monk fruit. Hope that helps.
Can you use ground flaxseed as opposed to meal?
These cupcakes were amazing Paola! I am so happy you share your recipes with us.
I did taste them while still warm. They had a bit of a soapy flavor, maybe the psyllium? Anyway, the soapy flavor went away and they were absolutely perfect after cooled.
I was looking for a way to sneak veggies into my kids, and it worked! All three (and even my husband) loved it! That hardly ever happens!
I used all the same ingredients and this carrot cake is a winner! I added walnuts and dried orange. The cake itself is not very sweet- if you’re planning to eat it without frosting (like I do) I’d add more than 1/3 cup erythritol! It also didn’t brown as quickly as I thought it would- ended up baking these cupcakes/muffins for about 30 min. Enjoy!! Thank you Paula!
Very impressed, they turned out soft and you can’t tell they are keto. They hit the sweet spot between “feels healthy” and “tastes awesome.” You could feel good eating them as a snack or for breakfast. I added more than what was listed, I included coconut and sunflower seeds, which worked great.
Can I make these without the flaxseed and sub xanthum gum instead?
Is this recipe (6 cupcake size) the same for 1 cake layer? So, for two layers, I should double the recipe and for three layers, I should triple it?
Paola, would you be so kind to give the deets on making a cake vs cupcake for this recipe?
What is the size of the pan, how long to cook, is this for 1 layer only?
The photo of the cake looks so good I want to make it just for the presentation, well, ok for the taste too…
I recommend your site to all that care to listen.
Finally I can make desserts and eat them!!!!
Wow… amazing. I used golden Lakanto for the cupcakes and powdered xylitol for the frosting (powdered with food processor). Best keto dessert I’ve made. The cupcakes are so spongey and moist, and the frosting is so smooth! Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes.
My only regret is that I made only 6. Warm these were good but cold these are amazing. I made them exactly as written and the texture and flavour is just as good as regular carrot cake. I highly recommend the suggested cream cheese frosting.
Would you use 12 or 16 for a bundt pan. I want to make this for an upcoming birthday where family members have all sorts of dietary restrictions as well as diabetes etc.
I love these cupcakes! They are by far the best keto dessert item I have baked. I made them for my son’s birthday party. His were regular flour, but these were the cupcakes that everyone wanted. Thank you!
Delicious and easy! Satisfied my hankering for a cupcake
I want to make this in a Bundt pan. Should I use the recipe for 12or 16?
To make a cake with only one layer, can I keep the size as 6 in the above nutrition info panel?
Hi Paola, how can I make this as a carrot cake instead of muffins?
How long should I bake this? Is there any change with the ingredients?
They look amazing.If making it into a cake,would I use the same amount and what size of cake tin and for how long please.Just love your recipes Paolo.Thank you.Lorraine
Hi there. can i leave out the psyllium husk in the recipe?
No, I used golden flax.
I need more details Anne to help diagnose!
I followed the recipe and made no substitutions. When they cam out of the oven they had risen, but after cooling the centers fell and the cake was dry.
I’m sorry to hear Ann! I was going to say that it sounds like a case of not baking long enough… but you mention they were dry! Any chance you used regular flaxseed rather than golden? Xo!