Leonor’s Healthy Carrot Cake (Gluten-Free)

Updated: September 6, 2022

Leonore's Healthy Carrot Cake (Gluten-free)

Leo here!

Today I want to share with you my ultimate healthy carrot cake recipe! I love carrot cake but when I started looking into making it at home, I was astonished at how much sugar and fat goes into it! I would trick my own mind into believing I was having healthy vegetables and overlooked the processed vegetable oils and sugars.

But it’s so easy to make a healthier version of your favorite carrot cake! It satisfies your sweet tooth and craving for carrot cake but you can feel good about sharing this with family and friends.

Leonore's Healthy Carrot Cake (Gluten-free)

Healthy Carrot Cake (Gluten-Free)

This recipe is moist and has 75% less fat than traditional carrot cake.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15 servings
Calories 424 kcal



  • 2 large mixing bowls
  • 2 9-inch cake pans
  • food processor
  • parchment paper
  • hand-held mixer or stand mixer with a whip attachment
  • rubber spatula

for the Cake

  • 1 cup dates organic (200g)
  • 4 cups carrots shredded (500g)
  • 1 cup applesauce organic (326 g)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil organic
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp all spice
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cups coconut sugar organic
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped (optional)

for the Frosting

  • 2 cups cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 cups dates
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup



  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Grease cake pans with coconut oil and parchment paper.
  • Using a food processor or a hand grater, grate 4-5 carrots to get 4 cups of grated carrots. (No need to pack the carrots. If you do, 3 cups would be enough.)
  • In a food processor, blend dates until sticky paste forms. Add applesauce, vanilla, salt, and melted coconut oil and process until well combined.
  • In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs until double in size and slowly beat in coconut sugar.
  • Add date mixture to eggs and stir well.
  • Add dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
  • Fold in grated carrots and walnuts.
  • Pour batter evenly between the two pans.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


  • In your food processor, blend the dates until smooth paste forms. Add in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and processor until well combined.
  • With an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in date mixture and blend. Adjust texture and sweetness with more maple syrup.
  • Once the cakes have cooled, frost the first layer of cake and add the second layer on top. Add the rest of the frosting and cover the whole cake.
  • Serve right away or keep in the fridge until ready to serve.


  1. This recipe works well with gluten-free and regular flour. For regular flour use 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour. For a gluten-free option, I used Bob’s red mill gluten all-purpose flour.
  2. Feel free to adjust the amount of spices in your carrot cake. I like 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of allspice (or combine nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon) but by all means, add more! You can also add ginger if you like!
  3. You can use pecans instead of walnuts. And if you don’t like nuts or are allergic, you can just leave them out.
  4. It was hard to find but I got organic cream cheese at my local store. I really recommend looking for one without modified milk ingredients and other additives.


Calories: 424kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 7gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 323mgPotassium: 492mgFiber: 5gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 6180IUVitamin C: 2.6mgCalcium: 120mgIron: 1.7mg
Keyword carrot, gluten-free
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

This recipe is so good, I would never make a traditional carrot cake again. The frosting is sweet from the dates and maple syrup and tart from the cream cheese. It packs serious flavor in a thin layer!

I’ve replaced a lot of the oil in traditional recipes with applesauce to give you that moist texture. You could replace all the oil completely with applesauce but the texture would be denser. Plus I use coconut oil which is wonderful for your health so don’t feel bad about adding a bit more in there! In most of my cake recipes, I try to substitute the sugar with dates and coconut sugar. I prefer the taste and they are much healthier alternatives.


In addition to getting 15.4 mg of calcium in just one date (about 24 grams) you get:

  • 167 mg Potassium
  • 14.9 mg Phosphorus
  • 13 mg Magnesium
  • 2.4 mg Choline
  • And trace amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B5, Betaine, Iron, Zinc, Copper, and Manganese.¹

And they are low in sodium!

Just like how AlgaeCal Plus is a whole food calcium source that offers a lot more than just calcium, dates are a whole food alternative to sugar. They offer a lot more than traditional processed sugar would!

This carrot cake also has loads of carrots for your daily serving of Vitamin A. And it’s high in fiber and healthy fats from the walnuts and coconut oil! So please give it a try and let me know how you like it in the comments below 🙂


  1. USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, USDA SR-21.

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Recipe Rating

  1. Leesa Buwolda

    October 5, 2016 , 6:47 am

    Why not add a download feature for smartphone users who dont print things anymore.
    I dont personally blog, Facebook or chat .
    This recipe I will try

  2. Monica

    October 6, 2016 , 2:34 am

    Hi Leesa,

    Thanks for the feedback! We will look into a download feature for mobile.

    In the meantime, you can actually download the recipe on desktop using the same sidebar feature. Simply hit the ‘print’ icon, remove the images or anything else you’d rather do without and instead of hitting ‘print’ at the top, hit ‘PDF’ and you’ll be able to download the recipe.

    Hope this helps!

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  3. Riley

    October 5, 2016 , 10:55 am

    I question the use of coconut oil products. My understanding is that in Malaysia they are cutting down forests to make way for coconut palm trees..
    We need every possible tree left standing to help save the planet. Maybe for every coconut palm product we use we should plant a tree in our back (or front) yard. SINCERELY Riley Morgan Port Angeles WA….

  4. Monica

    October 6, 2016 , 2:45 am

    Hi Riley,

    I believe you may be confusing coconut oil for palm oil. While both are tropical oils, they are not the same. Yes, palm oil has received massive backlash because it’s unsustainable and has been causing deforestation in places like Malaysia, which you have mentioned. If you do choose a palm oil, look for CSPO certified sustainable palm oil.

    As for coconut oil, not only does it provide a wealth of health benefits, but it also does not have the detrimental effects on our planet as palm oil.

    Hope this clears up and confusion!

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  5. Maxine Cobb

    October 7, 2016 , 1:42 pm

    Do you have PDF receipts? I have iPad . No printer. Maxine

  6. Monica

    October 11, 2016 , 8:24 am

    Hi Maxine,

    We currently have that option for desktop, but not for phones or Ipads. We are working on it! In the meantime, I have emailed you the PDF for this recipe 🙂

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  7. Louise Switzer

    January 5, 2017 , 9:29 am

    The recipe say ‘1/4 almond meal’. Is it 1/4 of the flour mixture listed above or 1/4 cup?

  8. Leonor Gaillard

    January 6, 2017 , 2:04 pm

    Hi Louise,

    It is 1/4 cup of almond meal in addition to the flour, sorry for the confusion! I’ve updated the recipe to make it more clear. Thank you so much for the feedback. Let me know how you like the recipe!

    – Léonor @ AlgaeCal

  9. Jean

    January 5, 2017 , 9:31 am

    The recipe sounds great and I will try it, but I don’t have a food processor, maybe a blender will suffice. I don’t see how much nuts listed in the recipe. Can I assume 1 cup?

  10. Leonor Gaillard

    January 6, 2017 , 2:01 pm

    Hi Jean!

    Thank you so much for pointing that out!! Yes it is one cup of chopped nuts, you can use more or less depending on your liking. I find 1 cup is already a good amount (and I love walnuts). I find that the date paste is too thick for my blender but if you have a very good high-speed blender it should work with a few stirs in between blending. Let me know how it turns out!

    Thanks again Jean! Hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

    – Léonor @ AlgaeCal

  11. Sidney

    January 5, 2017 , 9:45 am

    The recipe looks delicious. Is there a dairy free alternative you can recommend to substitute the cream cheese in the frosting?

  12. Leonor Gaillard

    January 5, 2017 , 3:04 pm

    Hi Sidney!

    Thank you so much for your great question! I’ve made dairy free cream cheese frosting from soaked cashews, powdered sugar and lemon juice! For 1¼ cups of frosting you can use:
    ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and rinsed (soak at least 3 hours)
    2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or more for a yummy tangy taste)
    ¼ teaspoon sea salt
    3 tablespoons maple syrup and/or powdered sugar to adjust texture and sweetness

    Combine the ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.
    Adjust flavor with the lemon and sweetness to taste, then transfer to a bowl and chill in the freezer for at least an hour, or in the fridge overnight to let the icing thicken.

    Thanks for the great suggestion, happy baking!

    – Léonor @ AlgaeCal


    January 5, 2017 , 10:24 am

    I love carrot cake! Thank you for this recipe. I also love to save recipe ideas in pinterest…….

  14. Cathy

    January 5, 2017 , 1:55 pm

    Can you please tell me how much saturated fat and cholesterol is in this recipe?

  15. Leonor Gaillard

    January 6, 2017 , 1:19 pm

    Hi Cathy!

    For one serving size of this massive cake (1/15th) you would get about 11.2 grams of saturated fat and 90 mg of cholesterol. That is if you can have just one slice 🙂

    – Léonor @ AlgaeCal

  16. Angela Dusenbury

    January 5, 2017 , 6:36 pm

    I would love to try this recipe but I did not find the walnut amount in the list of ingredients. You mention the walnuts vs pecans in your later comments but not in the recipe itself. Could you please add that?

  17. Leonor Gaillard

    January 6, 2017 , 2:15 pm

    Dear Angela,
    Thank you so much for letting me know! I’ve updated the post to include the 1 cup of walnuts in the ingredient list. And you most certainly can use pecans as well, both are so delicious and healthy!

    -Léonor @ AlgaeCal

  18. Alice

    January 16, 2017 , 9:21 am

    Leonor, this sounds so yummy, I hope to give it a try soon.

  19. Leonor Gaillard

    January 17, 2017 , 8:56 am

    Hi Alice!

    Thanks for your comment! I can’t wait for you to give it a try too, and please let me know how you like it 🙂

    – Léonor @ AlgaeCal

  20. Diana

    September 21, 2017 , 10:55 am

    I’ve read that sugar feeds cancer. While your recipe looks delicious, isn’t there a great deal of sugar in it? Dates. coconut sugar, carrots, &applesauce are loaded with sugar . . .

    Keep up your enthusiasm and experimentation, though. You’re terrific!

  21. Monica

    September 21, 2017 , 11:03 am

    Hi Diana,
    The nutrition info is located just below the video and there are about 29 grams of sugar in one serving. While not insignificant, the form of sugar (naturally from dates and coconut) is a better alternative than regular white, processed sugar. However, this is still a dessert! So it should be eaten in moderation, for sure ?

    Thanks so much for the feedback! We will definitely keep experimenting.
    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  22. Genie

    September 23, 2017 , 10:53 am

    I no longer consume eggs, dairy or oil. Is there a way for me to veganise this recipe?

  23. Monica

    September 24, 2017 , 11:59 pm

    Hi Genie,

    The following are ways you can potentially veganise this recipe:

    1. In place of eggs you can use chia or flax eggs. Basically, you need 1 tbsp. of the ground seed of your choosing (measured after it’s been ground) to 3 tbsp. of water. This equals 1 ‘egg’. Stir this together and let sit for about 10 minutes. After, it should be sticky enough to use as your ‘egg’.
    2. In place of dairy (cream cheese) you can try vegan cream cheese substitutes that use cashews instead. There should be various vegan cream cheese options at your local grocer (something like Whole Foods).
    3. In place of oil, you can use additional applesauce or even a banana (in the same amounts listed).

      We haven’t tried a veganised version of this recipe yet, so not sure how it will turn out. But please let us know 🙂

      – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  24. Tara Klanova

    October 12, 2017 , 5:11 pm

    Surely a tasty receipe given the huge amount of sugar in there. Not what I would call suicide prevention for diabetics. Incredible that you have not given one iota of thought to diabetics whom cannot eat sugar in huge amounts as your recipes call for. Sad to see such a slip up.

  25. Monica

    October 13, 2017 , 2:11 am

    Hi Tara,

    We understand that people may have different dietary restrictions to consider. That’s why this series includes a variety of different recipes (vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and more). So while this specific recipe does contain sugar, you’ll see the majority do not.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Feedback is what makes us get better 🙂

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  26. Tara Klanova

    October 12, 2017 , 5:14 pm

    On a general note I wish to say that as a visually impaired person it is very difficult to use visual captchas purposely cloudy and in particular it is very hard to see what you are supposed to identify. This is not helpful to me.

  27. Monica

    October 13, 2017 , 1:52 am

    Hi Tara,
    We are always looking to improve and appreciate the feedback. We will keep this in mind for future videos as we want to make these user-friendly for everyone!

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

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