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‘Happy Birthday’ Carrot Cake (Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb)

birthday carrot cake sugar free

Trying to be healthy doesn’t mean you can’t have a delicious and festive birthday cake. This birthday carrot cake was my first birthday sugar-free, gluten-free, lectin-free, and even low-carb cake (in July 2008). I loved carrot cake, and I wanted to recreate something as good as the best one I remember eating. And it did not disappoint; it’s fluffy, moist, and sweet with a little spice.

A carrot cake that is grain-free, sugar-free, lectin-free, and low-carb? Yes, please.

My inspiration and the starting point for this lectin-free carrot cake was Dr. Gundry’s carrot cake muffins from The Plant Paradox Cookbook, pages 96-97. I’ve already made the muffins and knew what worked and didn’t work for me. So it was pretty easy to apply my modifications and turn them into a birthday cake. This is where you can find my initial review and modifications for the carrot cake muffins.

Firstly, what are the modifications I make to the recipe and why? From my experience and after seeing some feedback from other people who tried the recipe, it seemed the muffins came out too moist and needed more than double the time for baking.

To solve that problem, I measure the almond flour by packing the cup with the back of the spoon or my hand. If you don’t do that, there won’t be enough flour for the amount of liquid required.

Secondly, I do not add the entire amount of sweetener, I only add 2-3 tbsp for the entire batter. I also added three chopped black mission figs and increased the amount of nuts from 1/4 to 1/3, and mixed walnuts with pecans. You can use only walnuts, but nothing can replace the sweetness of pecans, so I would recommend them. I measured the carrots in cups, and from two medium carrots I got 1 cup of grated carrots, so this is the measurement I will use.

Ingredients for birthday carrot cake

FOR THE LAYER CAKES:
1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour, measured with packed cups (press down as much as you can)
3 tbsp coconut flour
2/3 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
Spices: 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp nutmeg + 1/2 tsp ginger powder + 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup of shredded coconut
1 cup grated / shredded carrots
1/3 cup of chopped nuts (walnuts + pecans)
3 black mission dry figs finely chopped
1/3 cup avocado oil
2 pasture-raised eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2-3 tbsp Swerve (non-GMO erythritol, allulose, or another similar sweetener can be used)
2 tsp vanilla extract

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
8 oz organic cream cheese
5 tbsp French butter at room temperature
7 oz cold coconut cream (if you can’t find coconut cream, refrigerate your coconut milk can overnight and scoop out the cream on top)
2-3 tsp confectioners Swerve (or you can use a few drops of Stevia instead)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract

If you want to simplify the frosting, just use Italian mascarpone cheese, a small amount of sweetener, and vanilla. It will work well and tastes amazing.

If you want to make the frosting dairy-free, beating chilled coconut cream with an electric mixer will make coconut frosting. But you have to ensure everything you use in the process is chilled and is not too hot in the kitchen.

OPTIONAL: Berries, roasted nuts, and shredded coconut for decoration

How to make the birthday carrot cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Grease your stoneware or the pans you are using with avocado oil, and line them with two ribbons of parchment paper in a cross, leaving a few inches outside the pans (see photo below).
  • Chop your nuts and figs and powder them with a little bit of coconut flour, so they don’t stick together.
  • In a big bowl, mix almond and coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  • In a smaller mixing bowl, mix eggs, coconut milk, avocado oil, vanilla, Swerve, or whatever sweetener you use.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients bowl, mix with a spatula until incorporated, and add the grated carrots, and the mix of nuts and figs. Fold to combine.
  • Add the cake batter to the two prepared cake pans/dishes and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Let them cool completely before you take them out. The two parchment ribbons should make this step super easy.
  • To make the frosting, beat with an electric mixer all the ingredients. Taste and adjust sweetness if you wish.
  • To assemble the cake, add frosting in between the two layers and on top and decorate with seasonal fruits or/and nuts (if you are roasting nuts, you can do it at 350F for 8-10 minutes).
  • The cake is better after refrigeration overnight or at least for a few hours.

You can mix everything by hand or using a standing mixer, but with this cake, you should not over mix.

The happy birthday carrot cake with berries and nuts looks beautiful

Baking a small birthday carrot cake

This is a 5-inch, two-layer carrot cake and is enough for 8 people.

Unless we have a lot of guests, I don’t make bigger-layer cakes. This size is enough for 8 servings if you want to make a full-size cake, double the ingredients.

I like to use stoneware for making the layers, and I use two Le Creuset tapas dishes, which you can find here. Just make sure you oil them and line them with two ribbons of parchment paper in a cross shape. This way, it will be easy to remove the layers from the pans.

The happy birthday carrot cake served on a plate

But you don’t need a festive occasion to make this carrot cake. Sometimes I just bake it in one layer and play with the decoration and add-ons. It’s the perfect everyday sweet treat.

Check these recipes for more birthday cakes:

*This post contains affiliated links, which means I get a small commission if you choose to purchase something via one of my links, at no extra cost to you.

'Happy Birthday' Carrot Cake

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (27 votes, average: 4.07 out of 5)
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By Claudia Curici Serves: 8
Prep Time: 40 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Trying to be healthy doesn't mean you can't have a delicious and festive birthday cake. This birthday carrot cake was my first birthday sugar-free, gluten-free, lectin-free, and even low-carb cake (in July 2008). I loved carrot cake, and I wanted to recreate something as good as the best one I remember eating. And it did not disappoint; it's fluffy, moist, and sweet with a little spice.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE LAYER CAKES:
  • 1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour, measured with packed cups (press down as much as you can)
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Spices: 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp nutmeg + 1/2 tsp ginger powder + 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1 cup grated carrots (about two medium carrots)
  • 1/3 cup of chopped nuts (walnuts + pecans)
  • 3 black mission dry figs, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 2 pasture-raised eggs
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsp Swerve (non-GMO erythritol)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • FOR THE FROSTING:
  • 8 oz organic cream cheese (I used Organic Valley)
  • 5 tbsp French butter at room temperature
  • 7 oz of coconut cream (refrigerate your coconut milk can overnight and scoop out the cream on top)
  • 2-3 tsp confectioners Swerve (or you can use few drops of Stevia instead)
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • Optional: Berries, roasted nuts, and shredded coconut for decorating

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 350F.

2

Grease your stoneware or the pans you are using with avocado oil, and line them with two ribbons of parchment paper in a cross, leaving a few inches outside the pans (see photo below).

3

Chop your nuts and figs and powder them with a little bit of coconut flour, so they don't stick together.

4

In a big bowl, mix almond and coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

5

In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, coconut milk, avocado oil, vanilla, Swerve, or whatever sweetener you use.

6

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients bowl, mix with a spatula until incorporated, and add the grated carrots and the mix of nuts and figs. Fold to combine.

7

Add the batter to the two prepared baking dishes and bake for 30 minutes.

8

Let them cool completely before you take them out. The two parchment ribbons should make this step super easy.

9

To make the frosting, beat with an electric mixer all the ingredients. Taste and adjust sweetness if you wish.

10

To assemble the cake, add frosting in between the two layers and on top and decorate with seasonal fruits or/and nuts (if you are roasting nuts, you can do it at 350F for 8-10 minutes).

11

The cake is better after refrigeration overnight or at least for a few hours.

Notes

This quantity makes a 5-inch two-layer cake. For a full-size cake, double the ingredients, and increase the baking time. Please note that if you are using coconut cream from a coconut milk can, the can should be refrigerated overnight. The cream rises on top so just scoop it out without mixing it with the water on the bottom. Alternatively, you can use cans of unsweetened coconut cream, but that's more difficult to find. This cake is better after refrigeration overnight, so think of preparing it in advance.

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Janice
    August 3, 2018 at 11:23 am

    I love everything about this cake! Now off to make it!

    • Reply
      Claudia
      August 3, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      Thank you! Let me know how it goes, I hope you love it ๐Ÿ˜€ xx

  • Reply
    Lory Brooks
    September 8, 2018 at 10:00 am

    I made this cake a few days ago. It was wonderful!! I don’t think anybody would be able to tell this was Plant Paradoxed approved and not a regular carrot cake. I made a few small changes due to what I had on hand. I will definitely be making this again!! I ended up with extra frosting which I am going to put on Dr Gundry’s Lemon Poppy Coffee Cake that just came out of the oven. Thanks for all the great recipes!!

  • Reply
    Samantha Kopy
    September 21, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Do you think this would still be good without nuts?

    • Reply
      Claudia
      September 21, 2019 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Samantha, do you mean without the chopped nuts, or also without the almond flour? (as that’s the main ingredient). For a nut free carrot cake I would try to make it in a different way. Almond flour maybe replaced with tigernut flour, or a mix of tigernut and cassava. But I could not make a judgement on that unless I tried ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Lans
    June 15, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Claudia! Just found your website and loving the recipes – Thank you! What could be a substitute for the avocado oil? (am allergic to avocado)

    • Reply
      Claudia
      June 16, 2020 at 5:23 am

      Hi Lans, thank you so much ๐Ÿ˜Š. If you are refereing to this specific recipe, replace with melted coconut oil or nut butter, pecan or walnut oils. In general oils that don’t have a strong savory flavor with them. I hope this helps.

  • Reply
    sara teta
    April 4, 2021 at 9:42 am

    can you make this in just a loaf pan without the layers? im curious if i will have to leave it longer!

    • Reply
      Claudia
      April 4, 2021 at 12:59 pm

      Yes you can! I don’t think it would take longer than 35 minutes, but you can do the toothpick test to be sure. Usually, the smell and the color on top will guide you. I have another recipe for carrot cake (with cranberries, but those can be skipped or replaced) and that one is made in a baking dish, not as a layer cake.

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