Flourless Paleo Carrot Cake with only five ingredients. No nuts, flours, grains, dairy, refined sugars, liquid sweeteners, or oil of any kind.
How, you may ask? The banana naturally sweetens, the egg binds it together, the pineapple makes it moist, and the short ingredient list allows the carrot to really shine.
When I was searching for a simple carrot cake recipe, I couldn’t find a single one that didn’t have almond flour or coconut flour or a million ingredients. Most of them had nuts, sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.) and oil. I wanted a simple recipe with none of the expensive Paleo baking flours/oils/sweeteners.
In fact, when I searched “Flourless Paleo Carrot Cake” into Google, not a single recipe fit the criteria.
What did I do? Completely fudged it. (Err… caked it?)
I closed down the laptop and went straight to the kitchen with just my fingertips and my imagination. I actually didn’t expect it to turn out good the first time – I figured I would have to redo it several times before achieving perfection – but much to my surprise this sweet little cake popped right out of the oven perfect. The first time.
This Flourless Paleo Carrot Cake has only five ingredients and no flour, nuts, refined sugar, grains, gluten, dairy, liquid sweeteners (ie. honey) or oil. It’s super easy to make (shred the carrots, chop the pineapple, mash the banana, mix everything together, pop in the oven) and doesn’t take long to cook, or to cool. It’s ready in minutes, perfect for those days when you just want to chillax and not spend all day in the kitchen, or when your sugar cravings flare up unexpectedly.
This may have no sugar or sweeteners, but it will satisfy that sweet tooth of yours.
This cake is extremely moist. Soft and cake-like… the texture is perfect. It isn’t crumbly at all like a lot of healthy cakes. Instead of falling apart when I pick up a piece, it slices beautifully and holds together well. Considering it only has one egg in the whole recipe, I’d say this healthy carrot cake far surpassed my expectations.
One thing I like about this cake in particular is the subtle sweetness. I’m not gonna lie, a lot of the desserts I make are loaded with sweetness – that’s the whole point of a dessert, right? – but this one is light and easy on the tongue. It isn’t one of those drenched-in-honey desserts, coated-in-sugar candies, or super-rich-chocolate decadences. The flavor is subtle with just the perfect hint of sweetness. It isn’t too rich or too overpowering or too sweet. Just subtle, and simple.
My brother says this cake is best right out of the oven when it’s “fresh”. It is definitely good then, after it’s had a few minutes to cool, but I actually really like it after it’s been refrigerated for a few hours. It gets cooler, stiffer and just a little bit sweeter. It does get a bit icy but not horribly so, and the soft ice crystals actually add to the appeal for me.
Although I usually eat this cake by itself, I’ll admit it does look beautiful coated in icing. When contemplating carrot cake, my first thought was cream cheese frosting. But cream cheese? Nah, I’ll pass… My next thought was coconut cream (I made the. best. coconut whipped cream the other day; my whole family was shocked and awed and in love) but I didn’t have any coconut milk on hand at the time. Coconut oil frosting would have been an option (although that’s a bit soft/melty and the cake would need to be chilled before being frosted) except I didn’t have any coconut oil either! (I know, I need to hit the grocery store.) So, I used coconut butter instead…
For the two ingredient frosting I mashed up a few bananas and added some coconut butter (freshly homemade and completely melted). I then chilled it in the fridge briefly while the cake was in the oven. I personally loved the gentle sweetness (it paired well with the light, sweet cake) but if you prefer your icing even sweeter, mix some honey or coconut sugar in. Or you can even do a chocolate-frosted carrot cake with some chocolate icing (this chocolate avocado recipe, perhaps?) or even just melt some healthy chocolate right on top of this cake… mmmmn.
They say that cooking is an art, baking is a science. But there are some that say science is an art. Where does that leave us?
Feel free to spice up your cake however you wish, although it certainly isn’t necessary. I usually just use the five ingredients and bake as is. But can you really go wrong any way with a little cacao?
Some good ideas: spices (cinnamon, cacao, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom), cacao nibs, flaked coconut, coconut sugar, any sliced fruit (dates would be heaven), chia seeds or ground flaxseed or hemp hearts (aka “hemp seeds”). Adding honey or maple syrup would make it sweeter. To up the vegetable content, shred some zucchini into the batter along with the carrots!
As for as how to eat it, you’ll probably come up with a million ideas of your own. Make a single layer cake, a double layered one, or cupcakes. Put icing on it or eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven with your ravenous hands. Melt chocolate on top or drizzle honey over it. Breakfast, post-lunch, dessert: all good options.
I baked this in an 8.5 inch silicone pan and the carrot cake turned out pretty thin. If you want a taller cake, try baking two of these and stacking them on top of each other. You could put icing in between the cakes as well as on top.
This shredded coconut is my favorite. I like it because 1) it’s organic, 2) the price is not bad and 3) Let’s Do Organic‘s coconut tastes more juicy and natural. The shredded coconut is dried, but it doesn’t taste stale like a lot of the regular stuff. I usually stock up on Amazon but they have it at my Wholefoods and local supermarket too.
Before I started eating healthy, I rarely ate carrots. I remember thinking they were bland tasting, sometimes sour and way too much work to chew up than they were worth. It blows my mind how my perception of taste has changed since cutting out processed food and refined sugar. Carrots actually taste sweet! Like, dessert quality sweet; it makes sense that carrots would star in their own cake.
Are you ready for a Flourless Paleo Carrot Cake? Only five ingredients. Super quick, super simple. Free from most of the common allergens. This is a recipe I’ll be falling back on many times in the near future whenever my inner sugar wolf starts howling.
- 2 cups shredded carrot (2-3 carrots)
- 1 cup mashed banana (3-5 bananas depending on size)
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup chopped pineapple (optional - highly recommended)
- Optional: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, cacao, or any spice that you desire. No spices are necessary; I usually don’t use any unless I’m craving a particular flavor.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Shred your carrots. I used a hand cheese grater and it was pretty fast, but you could probably pulse in a food processor if you want.
- Mash your bananas.
- Slice the pineapple into little cubes.
- Mix the shredded carrot, mashed banana and cubed pineapple together. Add the shredded coconut and crack in an egg. Stir everything together.
- Transfer batter to a cake mold.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until firm when you press on the top. Let cool for just a minute. Eat straightaway or chill in the fridge.
Remember: for baking, the darker the bananas the better. Mine were spotted with brown and very sweet. Riper bananas are also easier to mash. For this recipe especially, since the bananas are the only thing to sweeten the cake, you want them to be as ripe as possible without being rotten.
I used an 8.5 inch non-stick silicone baking mold.
Don’t you just love the simplicity? Only five ingredients. Super easy and quick to make. No complicated instructions or exotic ingredients. No flours or sugars or grains or any of those bad things. Just real food.
Now there’s finally a Flourless Paleo Carrot Cake out there.