Grain-Free & Low-Carb Maple Carrot Cake with Cultured Cream Cheese Frosting
This Grain-Free & Low-Carb Maple Carrot Cake with cultured maple cream cheese frosting is flavorful without overpowering sweetness. This healthy spring carrot cake needs to be on your must-make list for Easter or Mother’s Day. Don’t want low-carb? Whole sweetener options included, too!
Want to know more about alternative sweeteners used for keto and low-carb desserts?
Download this FREE Guide To Alternative Sweeteners!
Spring is here!!!
After a long, dark, and cold Minnesota winter, I can hardly wait for all the spring things!
The chives and rhubarb will be poking their little green heads out of the ground soon. Maple syruping is in full swing. And, I’m finally able to use my camera before 10:00 a.m. and after 2:00 p.m.
I’m tellin’ ya, this past Minnesota winter truly tested the stuff I was made of. I am so, so thankful that Spring is here, the snow is melting, and it’s time to start thinking about healthy, sugar-free, grain-free spring recipes!
From the time I could sit up, my mom and Memaw had me sitting on the countertop, pinching pie crusts and stirring pudding filling.
Middle school introduced me to the snack bar line at school, and with that, a two-year Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll phase.
Then, marriage gifted me a mother-in-law who makes a killer yellow cake with chocolate sauce and Puppy Chow at Christmastime that will make your eyes roll back into your head.
My entire life has been filled with sweets.
Yet, something my life that was sorely lacking???
You see, in all that sweet, sweet, sweet ALL THE TIME, I never learned to appreciate flavors — because they were either absent or masked by insane amounts of sugar.
Then, I changed how I made dessert — to include no sugar and MORE flavor!
Cutting sugar out of my life (including honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar 98% of the time) was the best health choice I’ve ever made! Once my palate became accustomed to tasting flavor, sweet things became too sweet.
I began craving flavors (and meat and vegetables 😉 ) more than sweets… and that’s how I know I’m no longer addicted to sugar!
Heck, I even LOVE and prefer the darkest stevia-sweetened chocolate WITH salt! I just adore the chocolate flavor, not the sweetness!
So, what does all this have to do with a recipe for Grain-Free and Low-Carb Maple Carrot Cake?
Grain-Free & Low-Carb Maple Carrot Cake
First and foremost, you’re going to taste all the flavors this healthy, low-carb cake has to offer: the flavors of carrot and maple, the nutmeg and cinnamon, and the tang of a homemade, cultured cream cheese frosting.
Nothing is hiding behind overpowering sweetness!
We’re not hiding vegetables in cake here, folks. (Well, actually, we are. Because it’s carrot cake. But, you get what I mean.)
Carrots have a beautiful, earthy sweetness of their own. When mixed with spices, a few raisins, and a probiotic cream cheese frosting, you get a perfect spring dessert — great for Easter or Mother’s Day or any Spring celebration.
How To Make Low-Carb Maple Carrot Cake
It’s really, really simple. As simple as a sweetener swap.
If you don’t want a low-carb maple carrot cake and prefer to stick with whole sweeteners, use maple sugar. You’ll get the beautiful flavor of maple in a granulated sweetener, which is best for the texture of this cake.
The one-half cup in the entire cake (not including frosting) is not enough to cause any sharp spikes in blood sugar. And you know that balanced blood sugar is where I like to keep it!
(I have not tried this recipe with maple syrup, so I cannot say how it will turn out!)
If you like, this grain-free maple carrot cake doesn’t have to have any sugar at all!
Yet, if you’re watching carbs or don’t want the blood sugar spike that often comes after eating sugar-laden desserts — even whole foods desserts — you’re going to swap out the maple sugar for your favorite keto/low-carb/THM sweetener, such as Dietz Sweet or Lakanto, plus some maple extract.
I use my DIY Sugar Alternative Blend (aka Dietz Sweet) for this cake and add a bit of maple extract to the cake and the maple cream cheese frosting. If you have never used alternative sweeteners before and you’re curious, get my FREE Guide To Alternative Sweeteners!
Magic! You get the flavor and sweetness of maple sugar without the carbs!
*Note: You may wish to omit the raisins to make this cake even lower in carbs.*
Let’s Talk About Cultured Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Not that you’re trying to add nutrition to a cake — I mean, this is CAKE after all — but a little probiotics with your cake never hurt anyone.
And that’s why I love using a probiotic-rich or cultured cream cheese. Nancy’s is the only brand I know of that makes a truly cultured cream cheese. You can find Nancy’s cream cheese in most health food stores or order it through Azure Standard (best price).
When whipped with a bit of sustainably sourced palm shortening and powdered maple sugar or low-carb sweetener + maple extract, you get a light and fluffy, gut-healthy cream cheese frosting that’s the perfect accompaniment to this lovely Grain-Free Maple Carrot Cake.
To make my frosting extra pretty, I like to use a piping bag with a round tip to make little dollops of frosting all over the cake.
I won’t be winning any cake decorating awards any time soon and certainly won’t quit my day job to decorate cakes, but I like this simple (though slightly time-consuming) piping technique. It’s pretty difficult to mess up!
How To Make This Flavorful, Beautiful Grain-Free, Low-Carb Maple Carrot Cake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then, you need to decide how many layers you’d like your cake to have. You can use four 6″ cake tins or two 9″ cake tins — your choice! Grease the cake tins and line the bottoms with unbleached parchment paper.
Go ahead and measure out your wet ingredients, which includes your sweetener, so everything is ready to go. It’s also helpful to combine the dry ingredients (except raisins) and whisk them together in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
While the mixer is running, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Allow the dry ingredients to fully incorporate. Lastly, fold in raisins (if using).
Evenly divide the cake batter among your pre-greased and lined cake tins and bake until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn the cakes out on to a cooling rack and cool completely before assembling and frosting.
Wash your mixing bowl and place the whisk attachment on your stand mixer.
Whip together softened probiotic cream cheese and palm shortening until light and fluffy — about four minutes. It’s helpful, too, to use a blender to powder whatever sweetener you plan to use for your frosting.
Add the powdered sweetener in, a bit at a time to prevent an explosion of sweetener all over your kitchen! If you’re using a keto/low-carb/THM-friendly sweetener, you’ll also need to add the maple extract at this time.
Then, whisk for an additional minute or two.
As soon as your cakes are cooled, frost them however you like.
Store your cake in the fridge.
Here’s the full, printable recipe for this happy Grain-Free & Low-Carb Maple Carrot Cake with Cultured Maple Cream Cheese Frosting!
Grain-Free & Low-Carb Maple Carrot Cake with Cultured Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
This Grain-Free & Low-Carb Maple Carrot Cake with cultured maple cream cheese frosting is flavorful without overpowering sweetness. This healthy spring carrot cake needs to be on your must-make list for Easter or Mother's Day. Don't want low-carb? Whole sweetener options included, too!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Then, add the remaining wet ingredients to the creamed shortening/sweetener and thoroughly mix.
- In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, except raisins (if using).
- With the mixer running, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
- Mix until combined.
- Fold in raisins, if using.
- Place on the middle rack in pre-heated oven.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes (depending on the size cake pans you're using).
- Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely on cooling racks before frosting.
Cultured Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the palm shortening and whip until fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Next, add the powdered sweetener and maple extract.
- Beat for an additional minute or two.
- Frost the cakes after they're completely cool.
Cake Pans: This recipe will fit in...
- 4 (6") round cake pans for a 4-layer cake or two 2-layer cakes
- 2 (9") round cake pans for one 2-layer cake
Want more sweets without sugar?
If you love the idea of flavorful desserts that aren’t so sweet they’ll make your teeth hurt…
And if you love the idea of enjoying nourishing desserts made with whole food ingredients — desserts that won’t spike your blood sugar or add to your waistline — then…
You need Sweet Without Sugar! This collection of nourishing, allergy-friendly, low-carb desserts has all your favorite desserts, just made with Real Food and no sugar!
More Keto/Low-Carb Spring Desserts You’ll Love…
- Keto Matcha-Moringa Baked Donuts
- 6-Ingredient Paleo & Keto Flourless Chocolate Torte
- Keto Swedish Cream (egg-free)
- Easy Keto MCT Oil Thai Iced Tea (dairy-free, stevia-sweetened)
- Paleo Instant Pot Strawberry-Rhubarb Custard
- Keto Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars
- Probiotic & Low-Carb Black-Bottom Raspberry Cheesecake
Do you prefer flavorful desserts that aren’t overly sweet?
Recipe originally published on November 17, 2017. Updated with new photos and updated recipe on March 30, 2019.
What are they? Are they safe? Are they healthy? Which one is best? Give me your e-mail address, and I'll send my Guide To Alternative Sweeteners to you for FREE!