carrot cake with coconut and dates

I realize that sharing a new recipe for a carrot cake the day after Easter is about as useful as a new latke recipe the day after Hanukkah ends or a perfect buche de noel on December 26th. I’d intended to share this a week ago and — hubris alert! — I was patting myself on my back for my own cleverness, the first sign things are going to head south. What could be more perfect for a week that contained both Easter and Passover, while also saving so many people the work of having to adapt a gluten- or dairy-full cake to not include them? Nothing! But I was unraveled by dual forces: first, some confusion about whether or not baking powder, a leavener, is allowed on Passover, a holiday that prohibits leavened breads [turns out it is!] and also by our own Seder preparations [we had 16 people here on Wednesday night; I’m criminally bad at outsourcing so I cooked for 3.5 days straight]. And that brings us up to today. A lovely thing about having a 16 year-old for a cooking blog, however, is that even poorly-timed arrivals tend to find their rightful place in the archives. When you come looking for a flourless carrot cake, be it today, next week, or next April holiday season, this will be here, seemingly right on time.

carrot cake with coconut and dates-01carrot cake with coconut and dates-03carrot cake with coconut and dates-04carrot cake with coconut and dates-06

Let’s talk about this cake! If you’ve got my most recent cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers (and oh, I’m obviously biased but I think you’d love it), you might know that I prefer carrot cake to spotlight carrots most of all. The book’s Carrot Cake with Brown Butter and No Clutter is the most straightforward I’ve made. Yet, this recipe is full of… co-stars: almond flour and coconut and dates! What happened, Deb? It might just be the gluten-free of it all, but I like that this cake is hearty and full of textures; it absolutely works here and makes it better. Am I … evolving? Will I soon begin to embrace beets, bucatini, and deadlines? Whew, this is a lot to consider. What’s not is whether you need this cake in your repertoire is not: you unquestionably do.

carrot cake with coconut and dates-12

A few notes:

Carrot Cake with Coconut and Dates

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (215 grams) brown sugar, light or dark
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) grated carrots, or 2.75 cups, gently packed; start with more (about 15 ounces) to account for trimming and peeling
  • 3 cups (340 grams) almond flour or almond meal; cups were scooped then leveled
  • Heaped 1/2 cup (45 grams) finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup (155 grams) diced, pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond brand; use 1 teaspoon of other brands)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) melted coconut oil, olive oil, or a neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Frosting
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 225 grams) non-dairy or regular cream cheese [see Note]
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (replace with additional extract if you don’t have)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the cake: Heat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Coat a 9-inch round (or 8-inch square) cake pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set side.

Place the eggs and 1 cup brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk at medium-high speed for 8 minutes, or until thick and doubled in volume. Combine remaining ingredients — carrots, almond flour, coconut, dates, salt, spices, baking powder, oil, and vanilla — in a large bowl, tossing to combine. Fold the carrot mixture into the beaten egg mixture, trying to deflate the eggs as little as possible, and spoon the mixture into your prepared cake pan. Smooth the top of the cake so that it’s level.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes but please note: A toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean of batter as early as 35 to 40 minutes but it will not be baked enough (i.e. the crumb might be damp and might even seem a little underbaked in the center) unless you take it another 10 to 15 minutes. The cake is forgiving of what you might think is overbaking, even if the sides seem dark.

Remove cake from oven and immediately run a knife around the cake, to loosen anywhere that might be stuck. Let cool for 15 minutes in pan on a rack, then flip it out onto a baking rack, peel off the parchment, and let cake cool right side-up until it’s at room temperature. I usually hurry this along either outside on a cold day or in the fridge.

Make the frosting: [See Note about cream cheese temps in the post] In a stand mixer, food processor, or with a hand-mixer: Beat or blend cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and and vanilla paste and extract until creamy and light.

To frost and decorate: Spread 2/3 (just eyeball it) of frosting on cooled cake and spread it in a thin, smooth layer. Place the remaining frosting in a bag and snip the corner off. Pipe overlapping squiggles around the cake until you’re out of frosting.

Do ahead: Keep leftover cake in fridge. It keeps (without seeming dry, hooray) for 5 to 6 days.

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164 comments on carrot cake with coconut and dates

  1. Kate GB

    I love your recipes and cookbooks, and this looks great; I’m writing today to tell you that this post reflects what I love most about your blog, and that’s your writing! Wow. Your voice is so crystal clear (witty, humble, intelligent, descriptive) and it’s the way you write that makes me want to cook everything you offer. Thanks, Deb, for continuing to be one of the best places on the web to visit.

  2. Beth

    If all I have is AP, cake, Bread, and WW flour in the house, can I 1:1 sub the almond flour and make the cake gluten-full??

    1. Bridgit

      Almond meal has a lot of properties different from wheat flours: mostly, a lot of fat, but also some sweetness. I read a different GF carrot cake recipe that included walnuts that had been food processed to a meal/flour (or mostly so), so if you have walnuts, that might work, but replacing nut flour with almond is going to give you a very different result. If I really wanted to do it, I’d probably replace each cup of almond meal with 3/4 cup of flour, and increase the oil, and perhaps the sugar.

      1. Ashley Wilkes

        I don’t eat grains in any form – not because of gluten intolerance – because extensive research into the chemical structure of grain has proven grains have the about the same glycemic index as table sugar.

        So, for many years, I’ve been using organic almond flour and organic GARBANZO BEAN (chickpea) flour for all my baking needs.

        I know that many baking/cooking experts do not recommend chickpea flour for baking and recommend that it be used for thickening and sauces, etc., but that has not been my experience. I have made cakes and cookies and other baked dishes using both almond and chickpea flour and found that there is virtually no difference between the two when used for baking.

        Chickpea flour is less expensive and just as nutritious, high in fiber – with less fat. It also rises as well as almond flour using baking powder as the leavening.

        1. Melissa

          The only problem is that chickpea flour in sweet baking has a very pronounced flavor that most of us find extremely off-putting…

    1. deb

      You can. Or you can use a non-dairy yogurt or sour cream. I add it because I like the way it makes with-dairy cream cheese lighter but I don’t think it’s as necessary for non-dairy.

      1. Marie P

        What kinds of non-dairy cream cheese do you like? I haven’t met one I liked yet, especially not enough to ruin a cake over.

        Btw made your graham cracker carrot cake yesterday and it’s perfection. I don’t see the need for multiple cc recipes!!

        1. Anna C

          I used Miyoko’s which is made from cashew milk and I really liked it! It had the same sort of tang that cream cheese frosting with dairy has, which I really appreciated as a person who can no longer eat dairy, haha.

          Thanks for the recipe, Deb!

    1. Sherra

      I instantly thought the same – bucatini al’ amitriciana is one of my most favourite comfort foods! But I hate aubergine, which gets lots of time here – that’s why the world is always fascinating!

        1. Janell

          Ha! I feel so vindicated in my irritation with bucatini! For all the reasons you described-sometimes the internet is a confirming place, thank you!

          1. CT

            The thing I dislike about bucatini is that the hole through the center means I can’t make a vacuum with my mouth, to suck in any noodles that didn’t wind perfectly around the fork. Endlessly annoying; I never understand why someone would choose bucatini over spaghetti.

  3. Kay

    Can I be really dorky here and say that this is a beautiful way to honor the overlapping holidays of the 3 Abrahamic faiths this year? Every 30 years, Ramadan, Easter and Passover coincides and this cake is perfect to bring to any of these celebrations!

  4. Jake

    I love your work – this recipe sounds delicious! Do you have any suggestions for substituting the coconut? I was thinking oats might work okay, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

  5. Monica

    “When you come looking for a flourless carrot cake, be it today, next week, or next April holiday season, this will be here, seemingly right on time.”
    I repeatedly find this true about the Smitten Kitchen! Thank you, Deb, for another keeper!

    1. deb

      You can probably just use less (since they won’t be suspended in anything). When I have a whole bean, I often use it an inch or so at a time, just scaping that part out and ensuring the rest will stay intact until I need it again.

  6. Isabelle Zolkower

    These comments are cracking me up!
    Can I make this cake without carrots, dates or coconut and use regular flour? 🤪

    1. Seriously. If you don’t like those things, find a different recipe (isn’t google amazing?!). If you need to sub for health/diet reasons, you are or should be the expert for that!

      1. Karen L Gibson

        So true! There are so many of them. I don’t want to sound rude, but some of these substitution questions are rude. If you don’t like or have the ingredients move on. Or just be courageous and try it out yourself and see how you like it. Comment back and let us know how it turned out. Give Deb a break.

      2. Anna

        Maybe their dietary restrictions are new and they’re still learning. Or maybe they’re cooking for someone else. Even though some comments can come across as insulting, I like to assume positive intent whenever possible. :)

      3. I love cake

        I have to admit, those questions ran through my head because this cake sounds so incredibly good but the combination of dried fruit, nuts, and high-fiber veggies with no flour would bloat me for a month. I think I will just have to imagine what it would taste like!

  7. Wendy Francis

    Can I do flax eggs? Would that work, or maybe aquafaba? I’m trying to do as vegan as possible and eggs are something I can give up or substitute, but 4 is a lot.

    1. Heather

      As an unfortunate soul that is allergic to almonds, walnuts and pecans, is there another nut flour that would work well with the flavors in this? Cashews? Hazelnuts? This is a common problem I have in GF baking—so many recipes rely on almond flour. Not always sure I can 1:1 sub another nut.

  8. Tara Lee Vaughan-Hughes

    Hi Deb, apropos your comment about scales…I have a Salter scale that has been going strong for 13 years now. It is slim, so it fits easily in a drawer when not in use. and it can weigh up to 6 kilos (sometimes I cook or bake large quantities, so it’s useful!). I don’t know if these are available in the States, but if they are, I very highly recommend them!

    1. Catherine

      I have a similar Salter scale to this (I’m in the US) and can attest that it has lived for well over 5 years. I wish I remembered when I bought it to give a more exact lifespan… oh well.

    2. deb

      I’ve had this scale and it’s great but ultimately went the way of my other ones. This post was getting long so I didn’t want to add an additional note, so here’s the last one I cut about scales:

      P.P.S. When I say that scales don’t always last, I don’t mean that they outright break. I mean that they start getting more wiggly and the numbers bounce around as they weigh things, I think the spring weakens over time. You can use them for a long time, but most get annoying after a few years.

      My hunch is that the technology is the same inside, regardless of the outer case or aesthetics, so unless you’re looking at lab equipment-level scales, they’re likely all about the same.

      1. Nathalie

        Digital scales don’t have springs – they use load cells, so probably the wiring is coming loose. I’ve had a cheapo Starfrit one for almost 20 years and its still going strong – just needs a battery change once in awhile. So maybe this is a “they don’t make ’em like they used to” kind of situation?

  9. Jorgia

    Hi – This is not related to the recipe at all, but it is crazy that this blog is 16 years old (old enough to drive!). I made your green beans with almond pesto recently and I was struck by a particular which was something to the effect of not needing the recipe because you know how you wanted it to taste. Comparing this to posts from 2007/8 in which you describe needing recipes for everything really highlights what you have achieved with this blog. I’m sure that, having written 3 cookbooks and all, you don’t exactly need random people pointing out that ‘You know how to cook and that’s awesome!’ but personally I find it very inspirational

    1. deb

      I used Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Natural Almond Flour (the skin-on one) for a couple of the tests and then Nature’s Promise Blanched Almond Flour for others; mostly because it was a little less expensive and came in a larger bag.


    This looks AMAZING and I can’t wait to try it, but in the meantime, I am savoring your incredible writing ability; your refreshing candor, care in crediting those who inspire and the warm snippets that interlace your your chapters are all part and parcel of you and your terrific work.
    Thanks for it all!

  11. Anna

    Oh my, I’m definitely baking it tonight!!!!
    there was a food poisoning episode in my house just before Easter so instead of enjoying lots of unhealthy, fat and delicious meals and desserts, we were on electrolytes-only diet… so no, you’re not late with this one! 😍😍
    I’ll swap dates for figs as I have plenty of the latter and will share later if that works at all. Might be helpful for others who buy food in duty-free zones when on vacation, completely ignoring the fact they hate dried figs as much as they love fresh ones. Plus for those who stuff their faces with dates 🐹 so it’s safer for them not to buy any.
    I’m both

      1. Anna

        Next time I’m going to stick to dates, figs are way too crunchy lol other than that it was yummy! I didn’t have coconut oil so I used someone’s suggestion and added walnut oil, threw in some chopped walnuts for the balance and the cake disappeared really fast. It’s very moist/on the verge of being oily from all the almond flour oils so it might not be for everyone.
        I also ‘experimented’ with the frosting and mixed cream cheese with dulce de leche and just a spoon of vanilla sugar.
        It all worked surprisingly well and my gluten intolerant man couldn’t be happier!

  12. Sharon

    Hi! I read your comment about substituting flour for almond meal, but I am wondering how to use coconut flour instead of the almond meal? unfortunately I’m allergic to almonds and I’m interested in keeping this gluten free. What do you think?

    1. Eva

      Hi Sharon, if you can have hazelnuts, I’d try those – I like them a lot in carrot cake anyway, but that’s a matter of personal taste … (coconut flour is extremely absorbent, so I’d not sub it 1:1)

    2. Sara

      I would be very cautious/hesitant about subbing coconut flour for almond flour. Coconut flour is much more absorbent – you would def need to increase the liquid and I think you’d have to experiment quite a bit to work out the correct proportions. I would suggest googling some other alternative flours to come up with a better sub that works within your dietary restrictions. Good luck!

  13. Margie

    Cake pan height? Based on the ingredient list and the photos, I think this cake has too much volume for the standard 9-inch cake pan which is 1 1/2 inches high. I think you need a pan that is at least 2 inches high. This cake looks wonderful and I wish I had made it for Easter. Definitely on menu for next year, if not before.

    1. Maura

      Can confirm the volume is too great for a height of 1’1/2” :) Switched to an 8” square that was deeper and it fit perfectly.

    2. Alyssa

      I made it in a 9in cake pan with 1.5 inch sides, and it was full to the brim! No spillage as it baked but it is sunken in the middle, which I suspect would be fixed with a 2inch tall side. Nevertheless, smelled heavenly coming out! And a sunken middle is easily hidden by extra frosting…

  14. Kate McG

    Looks like another keeper and an excellent weekend cake! You missed one Easter but no worries! Orthodox Easter is this weekend!

  15. Gerley

    „P.S. on scales I use this scale. I buy scales that have good reviews but also try not to spend too much because I rarely find any that work consistently for more than 5 years (it’s not unusual for restaurant kitchens to replace them yearly), and I’ve bought them at all price points and have not found that spending more yields a better or longer-lasting scale.“

    I surely thought I must have bad luck or be too dumb to buy a standard kitchen scale- they never end up working consistently. I was about to spend a fortune because I thought that must be the deciding factor since I ruled out pretty much everything else. Thanks for solving that mystery for me!

    1. Rebecca

      Replacing 4 eggs is a lot. They’re doing a combo of moisture and leavening, so you’ll probably have to play around with a combo of egg replacers. But that just means more cake to eat!

  16. Joanna S.

    This looks amazing. We have a family member with a coconut allergy – is there something else I should add to make up the moisture or flavor? Thank you!

  17. Priscilla

    This looks delicious. I admit I came to the comments in the hope that someone else would have figured out how to make this gluten-full, that is, with wheat flour, since almond flour is not easily available in my part of the world. But I get the responses on why this is not a good substitution idea, so my question is: can I simply grind almonds myself, in a spice grinder? And if yes, can I just use 380 gm of whole almonds, and grind them down, or will the amount measurement change? I really do hope there’s a way to make this work, because the cake really does look that good!

    1. Claudia

      Yes you can definitely grind your own almonds. I’ve done it many times over the 10+ years I’ve been baking almost exclusively with almond flour

      1. Deborah Vieira Biggs

        Turned out great! Baked this for about 55 minutes. Didn’t have a stand mixer or the time to hold a hand mixer so used a blender for the eggs and sugar. The scale made things so easy. Ran out of almond flour so used a combo of pecans and almonds blended into flour. That worked really well. Cuisinart for the grated carrots. Only the dates were stumbly to chop but all these other timesavers worked beautifully. The frosting was heaven but everyone wanted more, so will increase by 1/2 next time. The cake was moist, dense, very yummy in the balance of flavors and textures, but def not a standard carrot cake. Still, we loved it and I’d happily make it again. Couldn’t believe my pickiest are two slices – happy for all the tucked in nutrition in the cake!

  18. Deb Outland

    This looks great! One question, though-is the coconut dried, or is it frozen fresh coconut, or something else? I am looking so forward to making this cake! I love dates, and thoroughly approve their inclusion instead of raisins. And I’m on the specific Carbohydrate diet, and the modifications I’ll have to make are minimal! Thanks for a great recipe!

  19. Philip

    Deb, you are so right to encourage bakers to weigh ingredients. Similarly, it would sure be great if you began promoting cooking to temperature. Here you say 50-60 minutes, with no other clues as to when the cake is done. Well, I think to myself, is it 50 minutes or 60 minutes? If I can’t overcook it, why didn’t she just write 60 minutes? Must be a reason. Do I have to wait until I slice the cake to find out? I’m sure you (and many/most of your readers) already own digital thermometers. The extra 5 seconds would be so-o helpful! Thank you!

    1. deb

      Yes, I usually add a visual but I was so stuck here because it’s after the point when a toothpick comes out clean and warned it’s okay if the sides seem dark. I’ll check internal temperature next time I make it.

  20. Mary

    I detest cooked raisins, but love carrot cake. I usually just omit the raisins, but dates is a perfect addition/substitution. Thanks, Deb. As always!

  21. Marianne

    Could you use a food processor to whip the eggs and sugar? I’m wondering since I’d already have it out and from grating carrots…but my hunch is no since Deb usually saves us dishes wherever possible!

      1. Marianne

        I gave it a try tonight in a 14-cup Cuisinart and it didn’t seem to give it enough volume, so I switched to the stand mixer. I was making a half batch, so maybe it would work with the full volume.

        I did put my coconut flakes and dates in the food processor and it chopped the dates perfectly!

        So, still some additional dishes needed :)

  22. Fjvjess

    I’m thrilled to see this gf carrot cake recipe. I bet coconut sugar would be a fine swap for brown sugar, making it even more acceptable for breakfast. p.s. I was not aware scales needed to be replaced! Whoops! Mine is going on 7 years…

  23. Sherra

    I just put this in the oven – can’t wait for it to come out! It made enough for my 8 inch square tin, plus a 6 inch little cute cake. Honestly, it seems perfect for breakfast.

    1. Sherra

      Update: This cake is beautiful. Moist and plush with pleasing texture and nice carrot cake flavour. I used a white chocolate buttercream as cream cheese here in Ireland is usually the soft type in a tub, and can be tricky to work with. I made the recipe exactly as written and it’s perfect. Goes together quickly too! Thanks Deb, this has replaced my other carrot cake go-to.

  24. Wendy

    LOLed at the bucatini dig. I was a little baffled when people were so upset at the shortage. Regarding scales – it never occurred to me that they would wear out. Is there a good rule of thumb for testing accuracy?

    1. Philip

      Measuring a known volume of water would be a good way to test the accuracy of a scale. A U.S. cup of water weighs about 236g (0.236kg). Put a large empty bowl on your scale, and tare it (set the reading to zero with the empty bowl on it). Then fill your largest glass measuring cup so that the bottom of the meniscus (the bubble-like thing you see at the top of the water when you look through the side of the measuring cup) rests exactly on the measuring mark (1 cup, 4 cups, etc.) Then just pour the water into the bowl on your scale, and check your result. Repeat the procedure several times to check if your scale is consistent. I just tried it, and my $12 five-year-old scale registered correctly to within < 1/2%.

  25. Julie

    Been reading/baking from this blog for 14 years
    Am supposed to avoid gluten forever as of last month
    Newly diagnosed autoimmune disease
    Very extra thankful for this well-timed post!
    Cake is too big a part of my life to let it go!

  26. jan

    I made the cake as muffins…the recipe made 20 largish muffins that baked for 35 minutes. I subbed oats for coconut and walnut oil for coconut oil. I also used only half the sugar. They turned out quite well and I would recommend them to anyone.

    1. deb

      I might 1.5x instead as the layer is already thick. It’s also a bit on the heavy side for a layer cake, but that doesn’t mean it will taste bad.

  27. S A

    I’m an experienced baker, I weighed all the ingredients. The moisture content is so high in this cake that you really should focus on internal temp vs time when baking. At 60 minutes the batter was still jiggly in the 9 inch round. I baked it another 30 minutes to get to 200F, but wish I would have left it in to reach 205F or higher. The end result was delicious but stodgy and very crumbly (slices just barely held together) cake. Loved the frosting. Had to use dark brown sugar because it was all I had, but the flavor was great. I’ll use the frosting recipe again but wouldn’t rush to make this cake again.

    1. Marianne

      I baked until 55 minutes, then another 10, then another ten, then another 5 and STILL it was all heavy, sticky and crumbly. I am glad I skipped the frosting!

      It says 215 g brown sugar or 1 cup. My light brown sugar weighed in at 135 when it was very heaped, and even then I found the cake too sweet. I used currants which are less sweet that dates, too.

      Nest time I will use a GF flour like Better Batter and maybe try Molly Katzen’s recipe from Moosewood days, in a Bundt pan. It is very much like a carrot pound cake, delish.

    2. Tim

      Completely agree with S A, cooked until the center was 205, then put it in the window since it was a cool day. I am glad I pulled it at 205 because my total bake time was 90 minutes! The final texture was perfect, held together but still moist and carrot flavorful! I’ll make it again.

  28. Marianne

    I made this yesterday. Quite a production. Followed recipe to a T, had to bake it an extra 15 minutes and it still came out sticky-moist.

  29. Ever since I’m pregnant, I am constantly craving carrot cake and look for different recipes!
    Haven’t tried yours yet but it sounds incredible!!
    Will let you know as soon as I made it how it turned out :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  30. Yael

    Made this yesterday or my dad, who had to go low-carb some time ago, so I used a brown sugar replacement (combination of monkfruit and stevia varieties, since that’s what we had at home). Otherwise, kept the recipe mostly the same (other main change was that because I prefer simple cakes I baked it in a square 20×30cm pan, instead of a round 9″ one, and didn’t bother with the frosting, but those are less relevant).
    For those who might be thinking of doing the same, it worked well in terms of flavour, but in the whipping stage the eggs just would not thicken, even after longer than 8 minutes, so I ended up adding a couple of pinches of xanthan gum (I think it came up to about 1/8 tsp, maybe a bit more), and that did the trick. I kinda wonder whether I could whip the eggs on their own, and combine the sweetener with the other ingredients, and if that would be better than the xanthan gum, but anyway, worth knowing that it’s an option.
    Perhaps because of the whipping issues, perhaps because that’s how it’s supposed to be, it felt like a pretty small amount of eggs compared to the rest of the ingredients – there wasn’t really a way to *fold* the two mixtures together, although I did my best. The dough seemed so stiff and heavy that I worried it’ll be a brick of a cake. But it’s not! It’s definitely a very wet cake, and maybe a little dense, but it’s not heavy at all, and very pleasant to eat. All the flavors are very well-balanced, too. Definitely a success.

  31. Amanda

    I made this last night and it is fabulous! I followed Deb’s advice and used a food scale – really glad I did. I would not have put as much shredded carrot in if I just used a measuring cup. Same goes for the flour. I ended up needing about 4 large carrots and 10 dates. I took it out of the oven right at 50 minutes. I wouldn’t call it underdone in the center but it could easily have gone the full 60 without being overdone. Thanks for another great recipe, Deb!

  32. Carole S.

    I made this yesterday for a birthday celebration today, and it was amazing. I omitted the cinnamon because one person doesn’t like cinnamon, and I subbed coconut palm sugar for the refined sugars. I baked it in two 6” x 3” pans, and it turned out perfect. This is definitely a keeper.

  33. tea

    First, the frosting is absolute money. It alone is worth the price of the cookbook. Second, I took vast liberties with the cake, mainly by substituting almond flour with 50/50 flax meal and wheat flour. It was strongly flaxy-smelling and tasting, which I neutralized by turning it into bread pudding. The milk mutes the flax and the maple syrup sweetness masks it. My attempt at healthy cooking became something Frankenstein-like, so if someone can tell me what I can make with copious flaxmeal, I would be eternally grateful.

      1. Tea

        Thanks, PBK. Have you made that flax pudding and can therefore vouch for it? Truthfully, I’m both repulsed and intrigued. :) I will muster up the courage and make it…after I recover from this latest episode of flax overkill.

        1. PBK

          Tea, I have and yes I wondered how this would turn out too. I usually add a tbsp or two of milk to get a slightly thinner consistency and my go-to oatmeal additions of nuts and raisins. It’s very filling and is good for days when you don’t know when (or if) lunch will be.

  34. It’s always a good time to make a carrot cake :-). This was a big hit with my 17yo son and husband (and me). Texture was excellent; loved that it used a lot of carrot! Agree with slightly overbaking vs. underbaking – I thought it was done at 50 min., but to be safe, I turned my oven off and just let the cake sit in it for 10 more minutes before taking it out of the oven. That extra time really did help; it evenly browned all over the top. I didn’t use all of the sugar (ran out) but next time I will try just half of what is called for, as between the sugar and dates it was a little on the sweet side for my family. I might try it with all raisins, as well. I didn’t frost it (trying to cut down on dairy and sugar) but no one in my family missed frosting. If I was taking it somewhere I might lightly dust with XXX sugar. We will make this again!

  35. Stephanie

    Can you clarify the weight of the carrots? 12 oz of already-peeled-trimmed-grated carrots? Or 12 oz of carrots with an oz or two extra to account for the peeling and trimming?

    1. deb

      It’s as written — you want 12 ounces (340 grams) grated carrots, i.e. they need to be 12 ounces when trimmed and peeled. I tried to be helpful by suggesting your start with 15 ounces of fresh carrots to end up with 12 ounces, to account for the weight lost by peeling and trimming.

  36. Carin

    Sorry for another question re alternative ingredient. I have to cut back sugar and was hoping I could use maple syrup instead of brown sugar? I probably need to cut some liquid, but what?

    1. Yael

      Not sure about maple syrup, but if you’re using alternative (low-carb) sweeteners see my comment above about whipping the eggs.

  37. Mickey

    This cake sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to make it.

    Did you know that you were a clue in the Washington Post crossword on Sunday April 9th. I thought that was fun and was excited for you.

  38. Hi Deb, I love all your recipes and this cake was no exception, it was absolutely wonderful! So, so delicious! I’m just wondering why the baking temperature is at 325 degrees instead of the usual 350 degrees?

  39. Alexia

    Note: Orthodox Easter is typically 1-4 weeks after standard Easter so for some folks this recipe was published right on time. :)

  40. christina

    I just told my husband that I wanted to make a carrot cake, opened up smitten kitchen and BOOM! Will report back :-)

  41. Merri Clark

    Could I replace some of the almond flour with coconut flour? Seem like it would fit the flavor profile but I don’t know about the chemistry of it in the baking of this cake. I do use it with a pistachio loaf cake, so I’m guessing it would work but what do you think?

  42. Brier

    I made this cake and baked half as cupcakes and half in a loaf pan. This is a lovely cake in a large-loaf format, but does not suit a cupcake format. A bit too fragile. Still marvellously delish, and I will make this again!! (as a cake.. in a round cake pan… WITH parchment paper)

  43. Kelli

    This cake was great! Super moist and yummy. Everyone loved it, gluten free people and gluten lovers alike! Highly recommend.

  44. Ashley Wilkes

    I have egg allergens, so do you recommend anything as an egg replacement? Also, I would like to replace brown sugar with organic honey. Do you know what the substitution equation on those ingredients would be?

  45. Jacqueline Gorbutt

    This is the second time (although it was years ago), that this group of teachers that I worked with are going to get a carrot cake “trifle” instead of a lovely, decorated (with squiggles!) carrot cake. I followed the instructions carefully, baked the right amount of time, even temp checked it (205!), loosened the edge and let it sit for the time suggested on a rack, turned it out to remove the parchment and it broke. I was gentle with it and it did not stick, just broke into pieces and like “Humpty Dumpty” it will not be able to be put together again. It was baked through, but I think cakes made completely of almond flour are even more fragile than regular cakes. I am sad. It will be served in bowls with dollops of cream cheese frosting, and will be tasty (the one good thing about a cake when it falls apart is that you can taste before you serve) but not what I had in mind. Sigh.

    1. Jill from Detroit

      Mine broke as I removed it from the pan (as directed) but only in two pieces. So I stuck it together and covered the damage with frosting. But the cake was delicious. And gluten free so I could eat it! I will make again and I think will bake a little longer than the hour I gave it. Maybe that will help. My biggest problem was with the frosting. Came out like thick syrup. That I blame on my organic lactose free cream cheese that doesn’t have any additives to make it stable and thicker!

    2. Yael

      I had the same experience. It was crumbly and wet and pieces wouldn’t hold together. Flavors were good but I would not make it again. This is a rare fail for SK.

  46. mimi

    OMG this was soooo good. Made it last night, although I was a few carrots short, I subbed a zucchini to get to the right amount. It was amazing and everyone raved. This recipe is a keeper!

  47. Sherri

    I made this for a friend’s birthday party…it was a hit! I subbed Lakanto golden sweetener for the sugar in both the cake and frosting. For the frosting, I blitzed the sweetener in a blender to make it powdered. Baking time was 75 min before I checked the temperature and it was 210. Next time, I’ll check the temp earlier and pull at 205. I did weigh all my ingredients and used a 9″ springform baking pan. This is a keeper!!

  48. Elizabeth

    This cake is perfect. I followed exactly as written, weighed every ingredient, baked in a 9” pan with 2” sides (put it on a cookie sheet because I was afraid it would run over but it did not!) for 58 minutes because it looked right, used Medjool dates and avocado oil. Made it the day before I served it and let it sit covered in the refrigerator over night. It is soft and moist and delicious!

  49. Aliza

    Doubled this recipe for a party and it was a hit! I baked it in a 9×13 pan (plus a mini loaf pan). I ended up covering the top with foil for the last 30 minutes or so of baking as it was getting quite dark. I was glad to have seen the suggestion to use an internal temp of 205 degrees to help me know when it was done- I think it took closer to 85 minutes. Since the cake is plenty sweet, I used just a few glugs of maple syrup instead of brown sugar for the frosting.

  50. Carolyn

    Made this today for Mother’s Day. Followed the recipe to a tee, including using a scale. The cake is rich and moist and lovely. I’d make it again.

    Two things, I should have pulsed the coconut through the processor. It wasn’t fine enough and is a little annoying with the level of chew. And, I pulled it out of the oven at 50 min but should have waited until 60 min. It turned out fine but I think another 10 min would have been even better.

    Thanks, Deb. Love your work!!

  51. Laura

    made this cake today. even though i have a convection oven, it still took 60 min in 8×8 pan, as recipe states! Batter almost came to the top of the pan and i was afraid it would ‘spill over’ but I had faith in Deb and it puffed up but didn’t spill over. Delicious and moist. Sad i din’t have cream cheese to frost it, but it’s good without too. Next time I will add walnuts.

  52. Ginny

    I’m confused about the frosting. Dairy free cream cheese, but then sour cream is added? I don’t usually do dairy free, so perhaps I am at a loss. Are there also dairy free sour cream products? I’m gonna give this a go for a dairy and GF friend, but I have had no luck with plant based butters. I think they all taste terrible. Can you share which brand of dairy free cream cheese you use?

    1. Anna C

      There is indeed such a thing as dairy free sour cream! :) I haven’t tried it so I can’t speak to it personally, but I just skipped it and my frosting turned out fine. I used Miyoko’s dairy-free cream cheese which is made from cashew milk and I really liked it! It had the same sort of tang that regular cream cheese frosting has, which I really appreciated as a person who can no longer eat dairy, haha.

      Deb also said in another comment that she has used Tofutti and Kite Hill dairy-free cream cheese on vegan cakes in the past.

      Hope that helps!

    2. deb

      I’ve used Tofutti, Miyoko’s, and Kite Hill in the past. While I can find dairy-free sour cream and yogurt, you may not find you need the extra whip it gives, since dairy-free cream cheese is softer.

  53. Lori Houston-Floyd

    I have had my eye on this cake for months – I am not a baker and was a little intimidated but it turned out fabulously!

    I followed the directions exactly as written but with one exception: just as I was about to put the cake in the oven, I realized my cake pan was 10″ instead of 9″! A quick google search came to the rescue. According to the Food Network, “If, for example, your recipe calls for an 8-inch cake pan and you only have a 9-inch, relax, no problem. Just increase the oven temp by 25 degrees F and decrease the bake time by a quarter.” I baked the cake at 350 for 45 minutes and it was perfect. Passing this tip along for others who might find themselves in this situation!

  54. This cake is THE VERY BEST GF CARROT CAKE on the planet. Trust me, I’ve been searching for recipes that I could proudly serve my gluten eating family members along with the GF clan for about 12 years, and this is IT.
    The texture is sublime, and it has to be the combo of almond flour and dates; it feels appropriately dense and not too sweet. I love the icing and it surprised me with its complex notes. I have made this cake 3 times and served it without saying it’s GF and nobody was the wiser and they LOVED IT. Deb, you are my hero.