Heartbeet Kitchen
Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting {AIP, Paleo}
AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting
AIP Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting (nut-free, dairy-free)

AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting

When I discovered my gluten intolerance five years ago, baking was a big, foreign challenge. All the new to me flours, getting things to rise, not crumble into pieces or be dense and gummy, and most importantly – to taste identical to their glutenful partners.

But whoa. Nothing could prepare me for what I was going to experience while trying to make an AIP carrot cake, not even my dabbles in paleo baking because that relies heavily on eggs. No flours from grains/seeds/nuts, dairy, eggs (which also means flax or chia eggs were out), gums for binding or refined sugar.

AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting ~ so delicious, moist & full of flavor.Although I don’t find myself craving sweets, I have missed the pleasure of a special treat. I wanted to change that, for myself and you, especially with Easter coming up.

So six fails and a few choice words later, the Carrot Cake that I had envisioned finally came out of the oven. I hate the word moist, but truly it is. And just sweet enough from maple syrup, spring carrots and plump golden raisins. The smell of cinnamon, ginger and cloves float through the air while it bakes, and bring classic flavors to each forkful.

AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting

Topped with airy Whipped Coconut Milk Frosting and toasted coconut flakes, it was the best bite I’ve taken in a long time. For a combination of reasons, as healing through the autoimmune protocol is more emotional than I expected, and because I haven’t had anything dessert-like other than these little coconut gems in a month.

Without the chemistry of regular baking ingredients, there were a lot of components that were going to have to work just right to get this AIP/Paleo cake to work and be utterly delicious.

AIP Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting + Tigernut Flour Giveaway!

My flour arsenal was arrowroot starch (or tapioca starch), coconut flour and tigernut flour. Tigernuts are actually a root vegetable, not a nut even though they kind of act and look like them. I’ve been enjoying them raw as a snack, mostly savory but kind of sweet like the profile of cashews.

I figured the flour combination I mentioned would be a good balance of weight, absorbency and starch to help the cake stick together. From there I tackled the wet ingredients:

– maple syrup (sweetener)
– applesauce (to act as a binder and mimic eggs)
– coconut milk (soft texture and fat)
– coconut oil (soft texture and fat)
– date puree (sweetener + act as a binder and mimic eggs)

AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Coconut Milk Whipped "Cream"

It looked pretty and tasted really good, but I couldn’t get it to bake through. Too much liquid compared to flour, and it didn’t rise much. It kind of held together, but it was dense, not fluffy like a cake should be.

I started with a large amount of tigernut flour to little arrowroot & coconut, but found that less tigernut flour made for the best balance. The skin on a tigernut is quite tough, similar to the other outer bran of brown rice so it’s best for it to blend into the softer flours instead of dominate.

I took out the dates, which made it too sweet, and from there I worked on the egg replacement. I really struggled with that piece, but making “eggs” from grassfed gelatin was the winning answer.

AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting (nut-free too)

AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting (nut-free too)They have mighty binding power, but do not result in rise. That becomes the job of baking soda in this recipe. And figuring that out ended up in another fail – too much of it with no acid to counteract meant a beautiful cake, but a terrible metallic taste. And then I finally hit the jackpot on this luscious Carrot Cake that looked good, tasted good, and felt so good to eat.

I’ve been excited to share this recipe with you because I want all of us experiencing autoimmune conditions or food sensitivities to feel normal, especially on holidays when food is at the center of family and friends. I’d have to say that beyond the flares I’m experiencing about once a week, social settings have been difficult.

But for now let’s all make carrot cake, and embrace the sunshine of spring. It’s the arrival of a new season, new again fruits and vegetables, and opportunities to embrace the beautiful life around us.

Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting {AIP, Paleo}
Author: 
Recipe type: AIP, Paleo, Gluten-Free
 
I highly, highly recommend using a scale and measuring for weight for any type of AIP/paleo/gluten-free baking because the weight of the flour is adjusted just perfectly for the amount of liquid. If you decide to use a measuring cup, don't pack the flour in. Take a spoon and add the flour to the cup, then level off.
Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • 110 grams tigernut flour (1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 70 grams arrowroot starch or tapioca starch (1/2 cup)
  • 30 grams coconut flour (3 tablespoons)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup full fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup melted & cooled coconut oil
  • 1 cup raw shredded carrots (75 grams)
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • 2 gelatin eggs made by using these simple instructions - Make sure you use this make sure it is this red can of Great Lakes, not the green & wait until the below directions tell you to make them. If you wish to make these recipe vegan, you can use 2 vegan eggs using flax or chia seeds, but then this recipe will not be AIP compliant.
  • Frosting
  • 1 can very cold full fat coconut milk (should be refrigerated overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • ½ cup unsweetened toasted coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8 inch baking pan with a thin layer of coconut oil on the bottom and up the sides, in the corners.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the tigernut flour, arrowroot/tapioca starch, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, coconut milk, applesauce, maple syrup and cooled coconut oil.
  3. Add ½ of the wet ingredients to the dry, stir until combined. Then add the remaining half of wet ingredients and stir until no streaks remain. Fold in the carrots and raisins. At this time make your gelatin eggs, and stir them fully into the mixture. From here you will need to work quickly because the mixture gets very sticky. Spread into the pan, pressing down with a piece of wax paper to make smooth as needed.
  4. Bake for 18 minutes then set a piece of aluminum foil on top (not securing it, just covering it) and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove and test with a toothpick. When it comes out clean and not gooey, the cake is done. If not done, continue baking in 2 minute increments until it is. Let cool completely.
  5. For frosting: Open the refrigerated coconut milk, being careful to keep it level. Scoop out all the hard cream that has come to the surface, until you hit the liquid. Leave the liquid in the can, do not add. Put the coconut cream in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a mixer or handheld mixer on high speed – whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks. Stir in the honey and frost cake. Best stored in refrigerator, then let it come to room temperature before serving

AIP Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut FrostingThank you for making Heartbeet Kitchen possible! To help me pay for my domain, hosting, and enormous grocery bill, this blog is supported through the use of affiliate links. This means that I will earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Another reason I include them is because I get a lot of questions about the exact brand, etc. of what I’m using in my kitchen.

This post is linked to the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundup.

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101 thoughts on “Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting {AIP, Paleo}

  1. Alicia

    Beautiful! What a perfect addition to the Easter table. Thank you for your persistence, I’m looking very forward to making this.

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Of course Alicia, it actually is super gratifying and fun for me to get things like this cake right. My biggest passion is helping others who struggle with autoimmune conditions like AIP with delicious food. We all deserve a treat! xo

      Reply
  2. sharon

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work on this recipe! It looks and sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it. I still am struggling with gut issues. Thank you for what you do for all of us!

    Reply
  3. Audrey @ Unconventional Baker

    Now, tigernuts are an ingredient I have yet to play around with. I keep meaning to, they grab my attention at the store every time I’m there, and even just yesterday I received an email from my mother-in-law asking if I’ve got any tigernut recipes. I think all this can only mean one thing ;)

    The cake looks amazing — well worth all the effort! ♥

    Reply
  4. Amanda

    Oh my goodness!!!!! So amazing! I have all the ingredients except the raisins. I have not made and aip cake yet. Definitely making this soon!! Ill let u know when I do. Thank you for figuring it out!!! Yay

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Yes, please let me know how it goes! The baking time tends to vary, so that’s what I suggest the toothpick test. I hope you love it! xo

      Reply
  5. Steph @ Steph in Thyme

    What a baking challenge! Good for you for sticking with it, despite all the frustrations. I’m so excited to try this cake because I know it was an especially laborious labor of love. I hope the new protocol works well for you, I’ll be following our journey and wish you all the best. XOX.

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Thanks for stopping by Steph! It’s kind of fun to have a challenge, and the end result paid off. I am feeling pretty good lately, so that helps my daily energy a lot. XO!

      Reply
  6. Alanna

    Wizardry! What a handsome cake, and I loved reading about how you created it. And I’ve been curious about tigernut flour, I’ll have to try some out. Serious kudos my friend!!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      i will bring some tigernut flour along when i come and visit! it’s similar to oat in taste, but millet in how it works in baking. not too absorbent which is helpful. thank you for the kind words too! nothing like your wizardy :)

      Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      The tigernut itself is such an interesting little vegetable! They look kind of like brown shriveled peas, but a little bigger. The flour kind of reminds of the natural sweetness in oat flour. The horchata is soooo good too, and they even have strawberry, banana chai flavors. And they’re just sweetened with a little date puree. xo!

      Reply
  7. Michelle ~ My Gluten-free Kitchen

    I’m in awe of what you are discovering through this journey! You must feel like you are in a food chemistry class! It was so interesting to read how you are finding these different substitutions work together. So thankful you persevered to the end with this one – it looks delicious!

    Reply
  8. Nicky Moore

    HI Amanda,

    I tried clicking on both the Organic Gemini entry by visiting their FB page as well as your and I “liked” both of them and yet it won’t count points toward it for my entries. Do you know why that is happening?

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Nicky! Once you’ve done that you’ll need to come back to those line items in the raffle copter and hit the little button in the bottom right hand corner that says “I Visited”. It can be easy to miss. Thanks!

      Reply
  9. Charlotte

    AMAZING! I love you for this because I am not a baker. I am so happy you are. I am going to see if I can whip these together for Sunday because CARROT CAKE IS MY FAVORITE DESSERT!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      oh yay – dessert happiness! let me know if you do make them, as much as i worked to get the recipe right, i’m hopeful that it turns out just as amazing in someone else’s kitchen. xo

      Reply
  10. Rachel Edington

    This is the first I have heard of tigernut flour. The cake looks great, however, I am especially inclined to try your version of whipped Coconut frosting. Perfect combo with carrot cake and so many others.

    Reply
  11. Nadine

    It looks delicious! I definitely have to try it.
    Are the carrots cooked before folding into the rest of the ingredients? Do you just grate the carrots or blend them?
    Thank you in advance :)

    Reply
  12. Faith (An Edible Mosaic)

    This is gorgeous in every possible way. Would you believe I’ve never heard of tigernut until now? I learned something new today. I’m a big fan of carrot cake, but I’m steering clear of grains/sugars so this beautiful treat is right up my alley. And girl, all that recipe testing! I appreciate you getting it perfect. Genius use of gelatin here!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Tigernut flour is pretty new to me too, I hadn’t heard of it until starting AIP. It’s crazy how many new grain-free flours are starting to come out – and I’m so thankful. Appreciate you stopping by! xo

      Reply
  13. Pingback: 5 Minute Dessert For One (AIP/Paleo) | It's me, Charlotte!

  14. [email protected]

    This looks delicious! Carrot cake is my favorite.

    Reply
  15. Sylvie

    I’m so excited to make this, it’s my birthday and was looking for a cake to be able to eat. My only question is I really can’t digest Tigetnuts and it’s so frustrating. Do you think I can use Cassava flour instead? You have amazing recipes and appreciate all your hard work. THANKS!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Sylvie! Sorry you have trouble with Tigernuts. It can be such a process to test what our bodies are okay with.

      I have not tested the recipe with cassava flour so I’m not sure it it will work. They may have different absorbency when mixed with liquid so it would be an experiment. If you do try it, let me know the results. Thank you for stopping by! xo

      Reply
  16. Newton21

    Thanks for the great recipe! I made it this weekend. It actually has a moist crumb, although is maybe a little on the soft side (even after an extra 10 minutes or so). I would also add a bit of salt and I think you can also up the cinnamon if you like a really spicey cake. The tigernut flour has a crunchy/sandy feeling at times- I wonder if they make peeled tigernut flour? Anyway, this is one of the first AIP baked goods that I would actually make again. Nice treat.

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Anna! I’m so glad you enjoyed. I was so happy when I finally figured out the recipe because I had been missing a treat too. I did have salt in the recipe, but it may have just gotten missed. As for the tigernut flour, I also wish I could find one that was peeled, like blanched almond flour is, but I think that would be really difficult as the skin on tigernuts is bumpy and irregular. That’s why I ended up going with a higher proportion of tapioca/arrowroot so it would blend in better, yet work with the chemistry of the cake. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
      1. Newton21

        Thanks Amanda! It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve forgotten/missed the salt in the list of ingredients, oops! I also read that the peeled tigernuts you can find have been bathed in some chemical bath to remove the skin, so maybe the gritty feeling is all the better for us!

        Reply
  17. Tasha

    Hi there! Your cake looks gorgeous! I just tried making cookies with tigernut flour today and thought that the texture was sort of gritty, but in a chewy sort of way. Is the texture of your cake also on the gritty/mealy side?

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Tasha! I tested this recipe a lot because you’re right, tigernut does have a coarser texture than other flours. The blend I use in this recipe makes it soft and moist, and I’ve had other followers make it and have a great experience. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  18. Christina C.

    Thanks for doing all the work to make this recipe work. Our 4 yr. old daughter is on AIP and we’re always looking for ways to help her through her healing while letting her enjoy life’s simple eating pleasures. Her Daddy’s birthday is coming up and we wanted to share a cake together. This might be our winner!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Oh great Eileen, that’s so fun to hear! I always enjoy all the inspiration that comes from your roundups and the wonderful community. Thank you!

      Reply
  19. Emily

    I’m so excited to have found this recipe! I’ve been on AIP for only a week and a half, but my birthday is in 2weeks and it will be nice to have an option to celebrate with. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Wonderful Emily! We loved it. And I hope you’re AIP transition is going well. It can be difficult, but know that the road to healing is a journey.

      Reply
  20. jillian

    This looks great and I have been wanting to try gelatin eggs. Being allergic to eggs and gluten I am always trying for the best baking results. I am interested in the tigernut flour, until we find some what is a good sub? We have almond flour, hazelnut, cassava, oat, millet, etc. thanks for this!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Jillian! The gelatin eggs are a really nice substitution. Just remember that you’ll have to work fast once you stir them in. Although I have not tested the recipe with the flours you have at home, if I were to guess which it would turn out best with I would say almond flour. You’ll need to measure it to the exact weight of what I used, not the cup measurement. I can’t guarantee that it will turn out since I’ve never made it that way, but let me know if you do try it!

      Reply
  21. Sarah @ SnixyKitchen

    I’ve only RECENTLY heard of tigernut flour and have been dying to try it ever since! I’m so glad you shared a recipe using it – I’ve got to pick some up soon! This cake looks so delicious, Amanda! Can I have a slice?

    Reply
  22. Ally @ Our Four Forks

    Amanda, this cake looks amazing! I’m not following the AIP, but I try to avoid gluten, eggs and too many nuts so this is a dream come true. There aren’t many gluten free baked goods out there that don’t use a ton of almond flour and eggs. Just bought some Tigernut flour to try this out, can’t wait! xo

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Ally! Isn’t it so great that there are more nut-free, grain-free flours coming out? Makes life a lot easier. I just had a person tag me on Instagram who had made it and the loved it, so hoping you do too :) The biggest thing I’ve noticed is the baking time can really differ depending on altitude and your oven. It will probably need to bake longer as in the increments that I listed, but I just wanted to be sure it didn’t turn out stiff and dense for people. The toothpick test is always the best! xo

      Reply
  23. Diana

    The recipe and resulting cake were perfect! Thank you so much for sharing.

    We did the calculations and a 1/16th piece is about 225 calories. It’s only my husband and me in the house now so I’m wondering how long you think the cake is “good” in the fridge and if you think leftovers could be frozen .

    Again, thank you!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Diana! So fabulous that your family liked it. If you frosted the cake, I wouldn’t freeze it, but it should stay good in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Thanks for sharing your joy!

      Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Jessie! Yes, these could be made into cupcakes. Grease the inside of muffin tins with a good amount of coconut oil, then fill 2/3 way full. The baking time will be a little less, so I would maybe test bake one cupcake before doing them all to get a good idea of the time. Enjoy!

      Reply
  24. Alison @ Food by Mars

    This looks AMAZING. I just got my hands on this flour last weekend and have all sorts of plans for it, I’m obsessed with the snacks and horchata they make. This will be on my list to try!!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      So glad you enjoyed it Nicole! And thanks for sharing your success, nothing makes me happier than knowing someone else was happy in the kitchen :)

      Reply
  25. Menesia

    The best gluten free cake I have ever had. Couldn’t get tigernut flower. Substituted with chestnut flour and it worked really well. Very moist and soft; taste great. Can’t wait to share it after dinner with my family.
    Thank you for recipe

    Reply
  26. Menesia

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    The best gluten free cake I have ever had. Couldn’t get tigernut flour. Substituted with chestnut flour and it worked really well. Very moist and soft; tastes great. Can’t wait to share it after dinner with my family.
    Thank you for recipe

    REPLY

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Menesia, I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! And wonderful to know that chestnut flour works as well. Sometimes we just need to use what’s in our pantry! Thanks for sharing your success.

      Reply
  27. Jenny

    Oh, sounds devine! I’m so glad you don’t have to use dates! I don’t do well on dates. I am strict AIP and I really want to make this cake! Question.. Can I use the orange canister of great Lakes gelatin? That is porcine gelatin. But I think you said you had to use the red can? I am highly allergic to beef, so I have to use the pork kind! Oh please tell me I can still make this!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Jenny! Yes, the orange canister (porcine) will work. The reason why I don’t use that is because the pork is not grass-fed, but the beef is. I would not worry about that in your situation though, as you do the best with what you can. Enjoy!

      Reply
  28. Malia

    I made this tonight and it was amazing. So happy to have found your blog!

    I have tried several Tigernut recipes but this time I sifted all the dry ingredients and it made the cake WAY less grainy/crunchy!!! My husband and I both love it so much!

    Reply
  29. Jbo

    Not sure if this has been pointed out yet but the link for instructions on how to make the gelatin eggs isn’t working. I’m really excited to try this recipe but without the instructions I’m scared to try it. I tried making muffins from another site and I replaced the eggs with gelatin eggs and it didn’t turn out :( I didn’t use the Great Lakes brand, is it better than the stuff you get from the health food store? I’m going to order some today. Thank you so much and I can’t wait to try this carrot cake!!!

    Reply
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  31. Cara

    This looks amazing Amanda! Can’t wait to try it. I’m intolerant to maple syrup though…would you be able to suggest a substitution for it here?

    Reply
  32. Donna

    Is it possible to use another gluten free flour (not almond either as there is a total nut & sunflower seed allergy here). I’m having trouble sourcing tigernut flour in Australia where I live. Would Besan flour work or just plain GF flour work? (I understand this may not make it Paleo, but I am looking for cakes that work for the allergies … eggs, nuts, gluten & soy in our family). Thanks, Donna

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hello! I think another gluten-free flour of choice like millet or sorghum would work well in place of the tigernut, but I have not tested it this way. Anything that isn’t super starchy would be a good choice.

      Reply
  33. greta hopkins

    I have tried other AIP desserts and they dont seem to come out tasting to good, but this one was awesome. Thankyou so much

    Reply
  34. Sheri

    This recipe sounds amazing. Unfortunately, I seem to be having a reaction to apples. I wonder if anything else could be substituted – pumpkin puree maybe?

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      Hi Sheri! Pumpkin puree should also work. I would just add one more tablespoon lemon juice, as you’ll be missing some of the acid from the apples.

      Reply
  35. Stephanie

    I’m going to make this for my son’s first birthday! Is it best made the day of or could I make it the night before? Thanks!

    Reply
  36. Michelle Catt

    I just made this about 2 weeks into AIP. I know very well I should try to avoid the sweets and cakes but when you first eliminate, you search in vain for something that will satisfy the cravings. THIS was better than any cheat! Thank you so much for this recipe. I still consider myself fully complaint and very satisfied! My two boys also love it!!

    Reply
  37. Raphaele

    This cake si delicious, thank you! I have been on the AIP for a couple of weeks and this has come as a welcome treat! I haven’t done the frosting because I am not a frosting person, but the cake is indeed very good.

    Reply
  38. Teri

    Going to try this with green banana flour in the place of tigernut which is just to expensive for me….but it looks great!

    Reply
  39. Kim

    Fantastic! I made this for easter and it was a real hit. I’m on the AIP, but now tolerate cashews so I made a cashew cream cheese frosting that made this seem like it was totally the real deal. The boyfriend loved it too. Will be making this one again!

    Reply
  40. gwen

    How important is the apple sauce? I’m allergic to apples (and pears) and would like to make this for my husband’s birthday.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  41. Jen

    Hi can I substitute the maple syrup with more Apple sauce and add stevia for sweetener. I can’t do honey or maple syrup right now.

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      Hi Jen! You will need a liquid sweetener, that can’t be fully replaced by applesauce. Sorry. :( Hope you are able to enjoy maple syrup or honey sometime in the near future! xo

      Reply
  42. psawyer

    An Excellent recipe. It handled many substitutions . Here’s my list of substitutions:

    no tigernut flour so I substituted sorghum
    ran out of coconut flour this weekend, but I had chestnut in the freezer and used it
    no applesauce, but I had apples – threw 2 into the microwave and then in the cuisenart
    not enough maple syrup – only used half the amount – not missing it.
    no golden raisins, but I had turkish figs which I cut up to raisin size

    Still turned out great! This is a great basic cake recipe!

    Thank you!

    Reply

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