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.
It says serving size is one slice, but I do not see anywhere where it says how many slices to cut the cake into. Can you please enlighten me?
Right at the top of the recipe card, it says the prep time, cook time, and number of servings.
Linda A. says
You say that this cake can be frozen. Can it be frozen WITH the frosting, or does it have to be unfrosted to freeze it?
Also, the pecan flour you link to is unavailable. Can you recommend another brand that is good?
You can freeze it with the frosting but careful not to smush it. I am still searching for a pecan flour replacement. I can say this… don’t use the Nature’s Eats brand. It’s very dark and dense, almost like they just used the pecan skins rather than the nuts themselves.
Linda A. says
Thank you. I’ve now removed the Nature’s Eats Pecan Flour from my Amazon cart. When I finally get some pecan flour, I’m going to make and freeze cupcakes and I’ll be sure to avoid smushing the frosting. I’m really looking forward to your e-cookbook on cakes.
I wish I could speak more to the other brands. I got a new one but haven’t tried it out yet!
Another winner! Thank you, Carolyn for another great recipe! I want to put the icing on all of the things!
I made this cake for my birthday and it was delicious! Best keto cake recipe yet!! And the icing was great too!
I am so glad to hear that!!!! And happy birthday!
Made this cake today, and it was wonderful. I had only two 8” pans and so I needed to bake it for 30min. It was moist and full of flavor. The cream cheese frosting is the crowning touch. No changes in the ingredients. Thanks for another fantastic recipe.
Could this recipe work for cupcakes? If so, how long would they cook? Thank you
All cakes can be turned into cupcakes but as I did not make mine that way, I cannot guide you as to timing. You will simply need to keep your eye on them.
Has anyone tried this yet?
Tried the cake? yes… read the reviews. 🙂
I have read the reviews on the cake itself ???? How did they turn out as cupcakes was more the question.
Ah! These comments on the backend don’t always look like responses so I misunderstood.
Nancy Knowles says
I haven’t made the recipe yet but ordered the pecan flour. I noticed it is not blanched. Should I try to get blanched pecan flour before I try the recipe? Thank you for your help. I’ll let you know how it goes once I know I have the correct ingredients.
There’s no such thing as blanched pecan flour, that I know of. It’s very hard to get the skin off of pecan.
Carrot cake is one of my favorites. I will definitely have to try this. Thanks.
Donna Houchins says
I look forward to this but boy ohh boy am I dying for a red velvet cake. The one I made used cake flour as opposed to regular flour and we did not have a cream cheese icing ( it’s a dense cake to begin with!). We used a cornstarch icing recipe which gave it a lighter texture but made the flavors pop.
Either way I love your cake recipes and I made that darned mini ding dong cake 3 Sunday’s in a row because it was the best cake ever and I felt like I was eating a real ding dong after 30+ years
Can you suggest what pan size would be best for half the recipe and one layer? Thanks.
Just do an 8-inch single layer.
Linda Estabrook says
I’d been hoping you’d post a carrot cake recipe like this one and I cannot wait to try it!
Dumb question but will this turn out still if I’m unable to use the protein powder? Is there something I can substitute for it?
It’s not a dumb question but I am pretty clear in the write up… it makes cakes lighter and less fragile. So if you skip it, you need to know what you’re up against.
Yeah!!! I was looking just last night for a keto carrot cake recipe and was found wanting. Thank you for posting this today. I trust your recipes more than other options. I have found many winning recipes on your site.
Sherry Corson says
This looks delicious! Any issues if I bake this in a 9″ x 13″ pan? (Other than it won’t be as pretty!)
It can be adapted for other pans but I cannot guide you as to bake time.
Omigosh – my day just got busier – I have to make this! Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting was always a favorite!!
I like the idea of a mix with pecan and almond flours. I have pecan flour, though don’t know enough about it – do the two flours measure equally, so maybe 1 cup of each?
It would be helpful to know the weight in grams of your lightly packed finely shredded carrot.
I’m wondering, do I have to make the cake, or can I just eat the frosting? Kidding!! I couldn’t resist. I love your recipes, especially the caramel sauce. All these larger recipes are difficult for me since it’s just me, my cat and my dog, and I noticed some that look really yummy! I’ll think of something. Thanks a bunch for all your hard work.
I have a mini cake too! https://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/low-carb-mini-carrot-cake/
I only have two 8 inch round pans. What would the baking time be for just two pans?
I didn’t make mine that way so I can’t say for sure. Start with 25 minutes and check frequently after that.
JEN bECK says
This sounds delish! I’m going to make it into cupcakes!
Carmel Maldonado says
I want to make these into cupcakes as well but am wondering about bake time? ????
Can you please explain what or if their is a difference between ‘whey protien’ and ‘Whey protein isolate’. Thank you. This recipe looks fantastic!
No difference for baking!
Same question I was going to ask! Wondered the difference for a while about protein isolate and just whey protein! Thanks!