This three layer Keto Carrot Cake is a stunner of a low carb dessert. Frosted with the best sugar-free cream cheese frosting, this cake will wow your friends and family. And it’s remarkably easy to make!
I am absolutely over the moon about this keto carrot cake recipe. Simply and utterly obsessed with it and I want to make it over and over again.
Trust me, this is high praise coming from someone who bakes a lot of keto desserts. And who typically leans hard toward the chocolate variety of anything. But I took one bite of this moist, tender keto carrot cake and I was instantly in love.
And it was high time that I posted something like this. I have many carrot cake flavoured recipes, like my popular keto carrot cake bars. But not a single one of them is a classic layer cake.
Many of you have asked for a classic Keto Carrot Cake and so I thank you for pushing me to this. Because it is beyond delicious!
Keto Cake Cookbook
Confession time! Part of the reason I chose to share this recipe now is that I am working on a new e-cookbook devoted entirely to keto cake recipes.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I love making low carb cakes that rival the conventional wheat-and-sugar variety. I derive so much pleasure out of creating something that no one guess is keto friendly.
I’ve got a classic keto birthday cake, of course, and a rich and delicious keto chocolate cake. But then I have more extravagant creations like Berry Chantilly Cake and Praline Sheet Cake.
I hope to have this book out by May or June, so keep your cake-loving eyes peeled!
For this recipe, I tried to stay true to the classic, with some notable keto substitutions.
Because carrot cake typically takes chopped pecans, I decided to use pecan flour as the base. It has great flavour and slightly fewer carbs than almond flour. I also added some coconut flour to help the overall consistency of the cake.
Staying true to conventional carrot cake, I incorporated both a brown sugar replacement and granulated sweetener. Swerve Brown is, by far, the most like real brown sugar, and it deepens the flavor of the cake.
Carrot cake is really a kind of spice cake, so don’t skimp on the spices. I used plenty of cinnamon and some ground cloves. You can also add in nutmeg and a bit of ginger. But don’t overdo the ginger as it can overpower the rest of the flavors.
As most of us are aware, carrots are not the most keto friendly vegetable. But you don’t have to add a lot to the recipe to give it the right taste and texture. Conventional carrot cake usually takes 3 cups of grated carrot. I cut this back to 1 ½ cups and it was perfect.
How to make keto carrot cake
Making a keto carrot cake is really quite similar to the conventional version. Here are my best tips for getting it right.
- Prep your pans properly: This means both greasing them and lining them with parchment paper. Don’t skip this step!
- Finely grate the carrot: Choose the smallest holes on your box grater or food processor grating blade. This ensures better distribution of the carrot throughout the cake.
- Whisk the dry ingredients: Make sure to break up any lumps in the flours before proceeding.
- Beat the wet ingredients together, then add the dry ingredients all at once and beat to combine.
- Bake the cake layers: Be sure to divide the batter into the pans as evenly as possible. If you have a kitchen scale, that can help!
- Let cool completely: You know I always stress this, as keto cakes are very fragile when they are still warm.
How to make the best keto cream cheese frosting
Classic carrot cake takes cream cheese frosting and this one is no different! A few tips for a truly creamy, smooth frosting:
- Properly soften the cream cheese and butter: Make sure that they are soft enough to beat very easily. If you live in a cooler climate, as I do, room temperature may not be sufficient. I always give mine a few seconds in the microwave before I beat them together.
- Add the sweetener after they are smooth: Don’t try to beat it in right away, as it can cause some clumping. Wait until the cream cheese and butter mixture is nice and smooth first.
- Use room temperature cream: Adding cold cream can also cause the frosting to clump up, so make sure to let the cream sit out for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Crumb coat the cake: For this keto carrot cake recipe, I went with the more naked look. I simply spread enough frosting on the sides of the cake to coat it lightly. It was plenty of frosting in the end, as the cake is wonderfully moist.
Frequently Asked Questions
While carrots aren’t the most keto friendly vegetable, they are fine used in a recipe that serves 12 to 16. I found I could use up to 1 ½ cups without raising the carb count much.
I haven’t tried making this recipe without nut meals as yet. But you could try replacing the pecan flour with sunflower seed flour. You will need to add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to offset the green reaction.
Then simply leave out the added nuts in the cake and the garnish.
The cake will probably turn out with other sweeteners but I do warn you that allulose causes baked goods to darken very quickly and look almost burnt. For the frosting, you need a good confectioner’s style (powdered) sweetener.
Protein powder is a critical ingredient as it helps baked goods rise and hold their shape properly. You will find that my keto cake recipes are lighter and fluffier than many others. You can skip it, but please understand that your cake will be more dense and more fragile.
You can use whey protein, egg white protein, or some plant-based proteins. But don’t use collagen protein as it will make the cake gummy and hard to cook through.
You can make 1 ¼ to 1 ½ times the frosting recipe to make a fully frosted cake.
Store the keto carrot cake in the fridge, with any cut edges covered with plastic wrap. I like it best served at room temperature so I recommend cutting slices when it’s cold and letting them sit out for a few minutes. The cake should last for up to a week in the fridge.
You can also freeze this cake, tightly wrapped up, for up to 2 months.
Want more keto layer cakes?
- Lemon Cream Cake
- Keto Margarita Cake
- Keto Marble Cake
- Cookies & Cream Cake
- Butter Pecan Cake
- Sugar Free Spice Cake
Keto Carrot Cake Recipe
- 2 cups pecan flour/almond flour See Notes
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- ⅓ cup unflavoured whey protein powder or egg white protein powder
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup avocado oil or another neutral oil
- ½ cup Swerve Brown
- ½ cup Swerve Granular
- 1½ cups finely grated carrot lightly packed
- 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup butter softened
- ¾ cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream room temperature
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon finely grated carrot
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease 3 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and grease the paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the pecan flour, coconut flour, protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and cloves.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs and oil with the sweeteners until well combined and the sweeteners are mostly dissolved. Beat in the carrots and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients and beat on low until combined. Stir in the chopped pecans.
- Divide the batter evenly among the baking pans and spread to the edges. Bake 18 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and the tops are firm to the touch.
- Remove and let cool completely in the pans, then run a sharp knife around the inside of the pans and flip out onto a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until very smooth. Beat in the sweetener and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Slowly beat in the heavy whipping cream until a spreadable consistency is achieved.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or plate. Spread the top with one quarter of the frosting. Repeat with the remaining layers.
- Use the final quarter of frosting to lightly crumb coat the sides, so that the cake peeks through.
- Sprinkle the chopped pecans and shredded carrot around the outside of the top of the cake. Refrigerate 1 hour before cutting and serving.
I was all set to buy ingredients to make this until I saw your note on the pecan flour. Any updates on a good pecan flour to purchase? Or can we make our own?
I have found one that does pretty well but I still recommend half almond and half pecan flour: https://amzn.to/3lDnZch
It’s VERY hard to get it fine enough at home.
Can I use straight almond flour? I can’t find pecan flour.
Yes, that works!
This recipe is the best, it’s better than any I’ve ever made. My teenage stepson had a WHOLE SLICE and liked it!!!! my non keto friends were shocked that it was keto. I added 1/4tsp nutmeg to batter and doubled the heavy whipping cream in frosting. I only had liquid sweetener and it turned out perfect.
So glad you like it!
thank you so much, this recipe is amazing !
I made this straight from your recipe. I don’t believe modifying recipes before you try the original. It was delish. Wouldn’t change a damn thing. Well I did make more of your frosting to ensue full coverage.
Hi Carolyn, I’m just wondering what brand of pecan flour you would recommend since Amoretti’s is no longer available?
Yeah, it’s a bummer. I have not found one I like nearly as much. Going to try Fisher’s next!
Hi can replace whey protein with soya protein?
I can’t see why not!
Cathy Stull says
I made the carrot cake recipe this weekend. I used 1/2 pecan flour & 1/2 almond flour. I still found it to be on the dry side. But, the flavor was spot on, so I tried it again and added 1/2 cup sour cream to it. It helped immensely. It turned out really good. I’m going to freeze it in smaller portions so I don’t eat the whole thing all in the next few days. I have recently purchased your baking, dessert, and breakfast cookbooks. Your recipes have been a game changer in my house. I’m a pastor’s wife, so our church people are loving your recipes too. It’s fun when someone asks for the recipe and I inform them that they are eating keto food. They are shocked and still want the recipe. So far 2 of my friends have gone and purchased your baking cookbook for themselves. ❤️
April Worrall says
What recommend ratio for the pecan/almond flour would you suggest if I make my own pecan flour? Concerned that the fresh ground will not be as dry as store bought and cake will be too moist and not hold together.
I’d still do half and half. It won’t be as fine but will be delicious!
I have one 8 inch pan only. so can I just repeat the paking three times ? I will pake it then remove it from the pan then again pake it for second and third time. will it work like this ?
Yes… but it’s a total pain to do it that way. Can you borrow any from a friend?
I have decided to use 12 inch pan and to go with one layer only. taste was so good espically that cheese frosting. anyways it is not as fluffy as it should be, maybe because of paking it all in one layer.
I just want to verify the cake pan size you used. I assume it is 8 inches but wanted to be sure. Making this cake for a special 70th birthday and want it to be perfect!
No need to assume… it’s written right into the first step of the directions. 🙂 (Yes, it’s 8 inches).
Can this be a sheet cake instead of a layer cake?
Of course! But I can’t guide you as to baking time except to say that it will be less so please watch it carefully.
Could this cake recipe be used to make cupcakes?
Yes, but I can’t guide you as to bake time. Watch them carefully.
Hi , can you just use almond flour instead of the pecan /almond combination? Thank you.
yes… that’s the point. You can use a mix or just one or the other! 🙂
This carrot cake is fabulous! Almost every keto dessert recipe I’ve made has turned out yucky or not so good. But this recipe is wonderful! My husband even liked it…he never eats anything that’s keto! I will definitely make this again! Although I should have followed your instructions about waiting to add the sugar to the butter and cream cheese. My frosting was a little lumpy but that didn’t take away from the flavor! This cake is awesome! Thank you for this recipe!