Recipe: A deliciously moist carrot & walnut cake with a coconut-lemon frosting

carrot cake with frostingThese days I don’t bake cakes often. But when I do I make a point of thinking about nutrition. I know. I know. It’s the last thing that one thinks about when baking a cake! But I’m a strong believer in making each morsel you put your mouth count, nutrition wise. That doesn’t mean sacrificing taste. (It just means being smarter about your ingredient choices.)

So cakes need not  be naughty. (Did I hear you breathe a sigh of relief?) They can be part of a healthy lifestyle. But the proviso is they be baked from scratch with wholesome ingredients, and enjoyed on the odd (special) occasion. Like celebrating a loved one’s birthday or even Mothers’ Day. Which is how this cake came about.

It was Mothers’ Day last Sunday in Australia, and I couldn’t think anything better than cooking a meal for mum — to display my gratitude and appreciation for the countless and selfless times she cooked for me and my siblings.  Actually I cooked for the whole family. My in-laws came, and so did my sister with her husband and kids. My small weatherboard home was filled with love, laughter and warmth.

So I baked a cake, too, to cap off the lunch I had poured my heart into. And it was good, not naughty.

May your cakes be just as nourishing as they are yummy.



Serves 12–14

  • ¾ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • ¼ cup desiccated coconut
  • ¾ cup rapadura sugar (or muscovado sugar)*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2.5 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 cup freshly shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 3 carrots, grated (about 1/5 cups)
  • 5 medjool dates, pits removed and finely chopped
  • 3 organic, free-range eggs
  • 100 ml macadamia or coconut oil
  • ¼ cup nut milk or coconut milk with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or 1/3 cup runny natural yoghurt if dairy is not an issue)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

*If you’re doing the no sugar thing, you can use some stevia instead. If you’re using the Australian brand Natvia, use the same amount as you would sugar. Natvia is blended with erythritol.  Otherwise, if you’re using stevia on its own, you’ll need a lot less of it than you would sugar. So replace the remaining sugar bulk by adding extra almond meal. About 1/3 cup should do it. Remember to remove the dates too. If you try this, let me now how you go in the comments below.

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 22cm cake tin with some coconut or macadamia oil and line with nonstick baking paper.

In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients — flours, almond meal, sugar, desiccated coconut, baking powder, cinnamon and walnuts.

In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining (wet) ingredients. Pour the wet mix into the dry, and fold in until combined.

Tip cake mix into the prepared tin and bake for 40–45 minutes, or until a cake skewer comes out clean and the cake is firm in the middle.

Cool in tin for 5 minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack.

Once cool, enjoy as is or frost it up.


  • ½ cup coconut butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (more if you’d like a sharper taste)
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut, roughly ground (you can grind it in a mortar and pestle)

Mix all ingredients together and allow to cool in fridge (especially if slightly warm after melting the coconut butter).

If the mixture is too thick add some more coconut milk, and if it’s too runny, grind some more desiccated coconut and add it in.

Frost your cake!

naked carrot cake

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  1. Giulia says

    Hy, I’m an italian girl!! I’ve found your blog accidentally, and it’s fantastic!! I’d like to recommends you a very intresting book that have changed my diet some years ago, it’s: Sauvez votre corp!, i don’t know if it’s translated in english… :-( but it’s a brilliant book!!

    • says

      Hi Giulia, thank you so much for your lovely comment about my blog! I just checked out your book recommendation, Sauvez votre corps! (Save your body!) and it looks very interesting, indeed. Unfortunately it hasn’t been translated into English. Hopefully it will be one day soon!

  2. Andy says

    Hi Lesh! Great recipes. I LOVE your chocolate and beetroot muffins. Got some in the oven right now! My sister in law has a nut allergy. What can I sub for the almond meal in this (or other) recipes? Thanks in advance. Andy.

    • says

      Hey Andy, try subbing the almond for sunflower meal {you can grind sunflower seeds yourself in a thermomix/vitamix/coffee-spice grinder to make the meal}. You’ll need to increase the quantity to 3/4 cup. Let me know how you go. Lesh.

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