Keto Carrot Cake Or Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting
This paleo and keto carrot cake (or cupcakes!) is the real deal! It's soft, tender, has a great spice flavor, and is topped with silky keto cream cheese frosting! It is also gluten-free, grain-free, and can be made dairy-free too so everyone in your life can enjoy them.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat baking mat. Place the pecans on the baking sheet and toast for 7 to 8 minutes, or until fragrant. Then, set aside to cool.
Turn the oven up to 350 degrees and line 2 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and coat with oil. Be sure not to skip the parchment paper or the cakes may stick! Also, I don't recommend a larger pan simply because there's not enough batter. For cupcakes, line a muffin tin with 18 cupcake liners (or you can cut the recipe in half and make 9 cupcakes).
Use the grating attachment on your food processor to grate the carrots. Then, very briefly pulse them in your food processor for finer shreds of carrot. If you do not have a food processor, grate by hand.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sweetener, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, and cloves.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, avocado oil, and pure vanilla.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix until just combined. Then stir in the grated carrots and toasted pecans.
Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared pans or muffin cups and use your fingers or the back of a spoon the smooth out the tops.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are set and no longer look "doughy". For cupcakes, bake 18-23 minutes, or until the tops are a deep, golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the tops come out clean. If they start to brown too early, cover with aluminum foil.
Allow to cool in the pans 10 to 15 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack (remove parchment paper) to cool completely before frosting.
Keto Cream Cheese Frosting:
Add the room temperature butter and cream cheese to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until combined, about 2 minutes.
Slowly beat in the powdered sweetener until thick and creamy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add more sweetener to thicken or non-dairy milk to thin, as needed.
Beat in the vanilla until incorporated and a pinch of sea salt if it's too sweet.
In the YouTube video, I halved the cake recipe to only make 9 cupcakes and reduced the cream cheese frosting amounts.
For grain-free baking powder, combine 1 part baking soda with 2 parts cream of tartar and 2 parts starch (such as arrowroot, tapioca, or potato)
To grate the carrots, I recommend using the grating attachment on your food processor and then briefly pulsing them in your food processor for fine shreds of carrot. If you just grate them, they seem a bit too big. Be careful not to overdo it, though, or you'll have carrot juice! If you don't have a food processor, you can use a hand grater to grate them.
Feel free to leave out the nuts if you prefer a smoother cupcake.
Don't be tempted to save time using pre-shredded carrots from the store. Please grate your own! The pre-shredded carrots are often hard and dry. When you grate the carrots at home you'll notice how wet they are. This is needed moisture so don't skip it!
To sweeten the cake I use either Brown Swerve granulated sweetener or Brown Lakanto (use code "CRAVEABLE" for 20%off!) granulated sweetener. The brown sugar versions add a nice deep flavor that the white versions don't impart. However, the white variety of any erythritol-based granulated sweetener will still work, as well as sifted coconut palm sugar if you follow more of a Paleo diet.
To sweeten the frosting, I prefer to use powdered monk fruit with allulose or pure powdered allulose. It tastes just like powdered sugar and results in a super-smooth texture. I don't recommend erythritol or erythritol blends for frostings because there might be a slight cooling-like aftertaste and they don't completely dissolve.
If using pure allulose, keep in mind that it's only 70% as sweet as other sweeteners. Because of this, you'll need to add an extra ⅓ cup.
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I use the traditional cinnamon and nutmeg, but I also add a small amount of cloves and ginger. The cloves and ginger add a nice flavor without being too overpowering.
For the frosting, be sure to use a block of cream cheese and not a cream cheese spread, or the frosting will turn out runny.
If you are Paleo & Dairy Free, you may also like my Paleo "Cream Cheese" Frosting recipe. That recipe is sweetened with honey and doesn't require the use of dairy-free cream cheese or butter if you are dairy-free.