A wonderfully moist and flavorful keto carrot cake is made with almond flour. A truly easy recipe, it's a one-layer cake that you can quickly mix by hand.
I knew that this recipe was a keeper when my toughest tester, my teenage daughter, reluctantly tried it, finished it all, and said she was "pleasantly surprised."
I made this cake for the first time last year and have made it a few times since, but never got around to photographing it for the blog. Today I finally did. I'm so glad I can share this very tasty cake with you!
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty keto carrot cake. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Eggs: I use large eggs in most of my recipes, this one included.
Avocado oil: I love using this neutral-tasting oil. Sometimes I use macadamia nut oil.
Sweetener: I use stevia. You can probably use a granulated sweetener instead.
Almond flour: An excellent flour substitute that baked exceptionally well. I use blanched finely ground flour in this recipe and don't recommend using a coarse almond meal.
Cinnamon and allspice: Make sure they are fresh. A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Kosher salt: If using fine salt, use less of it.
Baking powder: Make sure it's fresh. And if needed, also verify it's gluten-free.
Fresh carrots: It's best to use finely grated carrots. 🥕
For the frosting: Cream cheese, sweetener, and vanilla.
How to make keto carrot cake
I'm a very lazy cook, and almost always make simple, one-layer cakes such as this Greek yogurt cake, this almond flour chocolate cake, or this keto pound cake. I only make layer cakes on birthdays. So this keto birthday cake is a rare occurrence in our household!
So I knew that I wanted this cake to be a simple one-layer cake, made in a square 8-inch pan.
I also knew that I wanted to frost this particular cake. It's excellent without frosting, and when you don't frost it you can serve it for breakfast. But there's something about carrot cake and cream cheese frosting - it's such a classic combination.
So I settled on a very simple and easy keto carrot cake that you mix in one bowl and bake in a square 8-inch pan. The frosting is very simple too - it's just cream cheese, vanilla, and a sweetener.
Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps for making this cake:
Mix the ingredients. Use a hand whisk to whisk the ingredients together in the order listed, starting with the liquid ingredients.
Add the carrots. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the carrots, then transfer the mixture to a well-greased pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes at 325°F. Cool completely, then frost. You can mix the frosting by hand.
What sweetener to use
I like to use stevia glycerite in this keto carrot cake. The link to the specific product I use is provided in the recipe card below.
Although many people object to stevia's taste, the glycerite formulation greatly minimizes the bitter aftertaste.
If you'd like to try another sweetener, any granulated sweetener will probably work (add a little water or milk if the batter becomes too thick).
As for maple syrup or honey, you would need to tweak the recipe to accommodate a liquid sweetener. Perhaps add a bit more almond flour - I truly don't know. Keep in mind that I only tried this recipe with stevia.
Can I use pre-shredded carrots?
Yes, with a caveat. Ideally, you would grate the carrots very finely by hand or in a food processor.
But as I said, I am lazy. So when I want to make this keto carrot cake, I buy pre-shredded carrots. I do give them a quick extra chop before using them since they tend to be shredded pretty coarsely.
Keep in mind that coarsely shredded carrots will affect the cake's texture - they cook "al-dente" inside the cake. I like this texture. But if you want a softer and more uniform texture, you should use finely grated carrots.
Can I use butter instead of oil?
Yes. You can use soft unsalted butter. Butter is very tasty, but I feel that the oil helps keep the cake extra moist. However, butter should work too.
How to frost keto carrot cake
I use the simplest frosting - cream cheese, vanilla, and stevia. Lacking butter or powdered sugar, the frosting is on the soft side, but it's very tasty and it's sturdy enough that you can certainly keep the frosted cake at room temperature for a couple of hours.
For a sturdier frosting and a milder flavor with less tang from the cream cheese, you can use half cream cheese (4 oz) and half unsalted butter (4 oz).
I usually prefer to cut the cake into squares and then frost each square. I feel that this makes it easier to remove the cake from the pan.
But you can line the pan with parchment with an overhang so that you can pull the cake from the pan when it's cool, place it on a platter or on a cutting board and frost it. Then you can cut the frosted cake into squares. It's really up to you.
How to store leftovers
Once completely cool, keep leftovers of this keto carrot cake in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. Remove them from the fridge 30 minutes before enjoying them.
Just like any other spice cake, this cake actually improves with storage. It's moister and more flavorful the day after you bake it.
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Keto Carrot Cake
- ½ tablespoon butter for pan
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup avocado oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon stevia glycerite (equals ½ cup sugar)
- 1½ cup blanched finely ground almond flour (6 oz - it's best to measure by weight)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder gluten-free if needed
- 1 ½ cup finely grated carrots (loosely packed - 6 oz)
Cream cheese frosting:
- 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, cubed, softened
- 1 ½ teaspoon stevia glycerite (equals ½ cup powdered sugar)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously butter a square 8-inch pan. Or line it with parchment with an overhang and spray with oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and stevia until combined.
- Mix in the almond flour, using a rubber spatula and then a hand whisk. Whisk until completely smooth.
- Whisk in the cinnamon, allspice, kosher salt, and baking powder.
- Fold in the grated carrots.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing it out with a rubber spatula. Bake until puffed and fragrant and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
- Cool in pan on a cooling rack until completely cool, about 1 hour.
- When cake is completely cool, make the frosting: whisk the soft cream cheese, stevia and vanilla with a hand whisk until smooth and fluffy.
- Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Cut the cake into nine squares. To remove each square from the pan, firmly slide a cake server underneath each slice and lift it out.
- Using a soup spoon, divide the frosting evenly between the cake slices. Use a small spatula to spread the frosting evenly on top of each slice (just like you would frost a cupcake).