Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (gluten free, grain free, soy-free, vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Filled with currants, warm spices, and tons of carrots, this is a carrot cake lovers dream without the gluten, dairy, eggs or grains, but you would never know it!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: one 9-inch cake
  • Cake:
  • 192 grams (1½ cups) chestnut flour
  • 62 grams (1/2 cup) coconut flour
  • 145 grams (1 cup) arrowroot starch
  • 74 grams (1/2 cups) flaxseed meal
  • 2¾ teaspoons aluminum-free baking soda
  • ½ tablespoon cream of tartar
  • ¾ teaspoon tapioca (or arrowroot) starch
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup canned coconut cream (not canned coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 6 ounces palm shortening, room temperature
  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • 171 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) coconut sugar
  • 225 grams (1 cup) cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons pure orange extract
  • ⅔ cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 cups carrots (about 7 medium carrots), peeled and grated
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup dried currants (or raisins)
  • about 2 cups pecan pieces for garnish
  • coconut chips for garnish
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) palm shortening, softened to room temperature
  • 16 oz non-dairy, soy-free cream cheese like Daiya, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (Wholesome Organics is made with tapioca starch)
  1. For the cake:
  2. Makes a 9-inch two layer cake OR a 9x13 sheet cake OR 36 cupcakes for this recipe. Use paper lining cups if making cupcakes as they will stick to the cupcake pan.
  3. Please note: measure and set aside all the ingredients before beginning. There are many ingredients to this lovely carrot cake and each requiring minimal mixing time. Over-mixing of ingredients can affect cake results; it's best to prepare ingredients before beginning.
  4. Preheat oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease bottoms of two round 9-inch cake pans (to adhere parchment) and place a circle of parchment paper into each cake pan for easy removal later. Then grease papered bottom and sides.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine chestnut flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch, flaxseed meal, baking soda, cream of tartar, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.
  6. Measure coconut cream, add apple cider vinegar directly into the cream. Do not stir. Set aside.
  7. In another bowl combine maple syrup, both extracts, and grated carrots (no need to mix together). Set aside.
  8. In a stand mixer set with a paddle attachment, combine (room temperature) palm shortening, avocado oil, coconut sugar, and cane sugar. Set on medium speed at first (to prevent flying sugar crystals) then raise speed to medium high. Mix for about 2 minutes, until creamy and fluffy looking.
  9. Add in maple/extract/carrot mixture and mix until just combined.
  10. Add in mashed banana.
  11. Lower speed to medium-low, add in a third of the coconut cream mixture and then a third of the flour/spice blend. Repeat with remaining coconut cream and flour blend and continue to mix until flour has incorporated into the batter.
  12. Add currants, continue to mix until blended.
  13. Turn off stand mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl to catch any unmixed batter. Divide batter into the two prepared cake pans.
  14. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  15. If using glass or dark cake pans, check for doneness at 28-30 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean with few crumbs.
  16. Cool completely at room temperature, still in the cake pans then invert one onto a cake stand and remove the parchment liner.
  17. Refrigerate that layer, as is, and the other cake layer still in the pan. Keep chilled for at least an hour or up to overnight.
  18. When chilled, using prepared ‘cream cheese’ frosting, spread about a cup of frosting on the cake stand layer, then gently invert the second layer onto the first and remove parchment paper. Press down gently, into the frosting, just enough for the layers to stick together. You will notice one layer looks significantly larger in parameter than the other - to create even-looking layers: place a plate over the top layer and hold it while you lift up the cake and flip it over onto the plate. Then gently transfer the cake back onto the cake stand.
  19. Frost cake with a thin top coat using about 1 cup of frosting (save remaining for final frosting).
  20. Refrigerate for at least one hour before final frosting.
  21. Cut a parchment round into a 4-inch round. Place in the center of the cake.
  22. Grab handfuls of pecan pieces to gently release onto the sides of the cake and around the exposed top of the cake (this gets messy. working on a large table or counter helps.).
  23. When done, remove the parchment round and add coconut chips to the center.
  24. Gently press any loose pecan pieces into the cake.
  25. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days (uncovered) before serving.
  26. Note: the cake will stay very moist even uncovered for 2 days. It is a heavy cake, but rest assured, not a dense cake in the least.
  27. Serve slices chilled for best-tasting results and easier slicing.
  28. Slicing the cake at room temperature may not produce clean cake slices.
  29. For the frosting:
  30. In a stand mixer, set with a paddle attachment, cream palm shortening, non-dairy cream cheese, vanilla extract and orange extract at medium-high speed.
  31. About a minute later (after ingredients have fully incorporated) add maple syrup and continue to cream for a few minutes until it appears light and airy.
  32. Turn off mixer, pull away the mixing bowl from the unit and sift powdered sugar directly over the bowl (this, as opposed to adding in sifted powdered sugar while mixing, makes a super light and creamy “cream cheese” frosting.) then connect the bowl back to the unit and mix on medium speed until blended then raise speed up to very high for a minute. When done, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl before using. The frosting spreads easily at room temperature.
  33. Make ahead: Can be made a week in advance when stored in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about an hour before using.
  34. Freezer friendly: Freeze any remaining frosting (if you prefer thinner frosting layers) for up to three months in an airtight freezer-safe container with an inch of room before sealing.
  35. For alternatives: this will make enough for 36 cupcakes and extra if making a sheet cake.
  37. *Canned coconut cream is different than canned coconut milk in that it is made with four parts coconut meat and one part water. Canned coconut milk is one part coconut meat one part water, a much thinner consistency. If coconut cream is not available use coconut milk or other nut milk (not canned) with thickeners added to help hold the cake together.
  38. *We love a pecan studded cake, as you can see, but completely optional. Use as much, or as little pecan desired. I didn’t add pecans to the batter because it's egg-free, which would make the moist cake fall apart.
  39. For Passover: swap arrowroot starch for potato or tapioca starch. Use alcohol-free extracts. Parchment paper needs to be kosher for Passover certified, if strictly observed and precut to measure for pans or simply make a 9x13 inch cake, no paper needed. Flaxseed meal is not considered kosher for Passover, use chia seed meal or almond meal during the holiday.
  40. Easter-themed cake idea: swap pecans for shredded coconut flakes, and some to dye some green to mimic grass for the top center then add candy or chocolate eggs in the grassy ‘nest’.
  41. If using eggs: If eggs are tolerated or preferred: swap banana for 3 whole eggs. Add in when banana would be added.
  42. Currants and alternatives: similar looking to raisins but more tart than sweet and not as high of a glycemic index as grapes. Not to be mistaken for zante currants, which are really tiny grapes. Zante currants, Thompson or golden raisins can be used if black currants aren’t available. If using raisins, it’s best to pre-soak in hot water for ten minutes then drain before using in the recipe.
  43. Frosting Alternative: softened at room temperature refined coconut oil instead of palm shortening will yield similar results.
Recipe by From Jessica's Kitchen at