Primal Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Brandon’s birthday was the other day and neither one of us wanted to gorge out on birthday cake, but believe me, that does happen every once in a while. So I decided to challenge myself by making something that was “health-bent” and still better than edible. Gotta say, I’m tootin’ my own horn with this one. No almond flour is involved. All the ingredients are pretty dang cheap. Hope ya’ll can find a special occasion to show off this show stopper.

On a side note: Yes I’m using sugar. Yes I’m using dairy products. But hopefully you all understand this is a special occasion treat and we use sugar very sparingly. Also, dairy is something that is quite controversial in the Paleo world. We source raw (unpasteurized, non-homogenized ) and grass fed dairy products–and that’s the only way we’ll eat them.

Yield: 18


  • 1 c almond butter
  • 1/2 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 c raisins or 1/3 c sugar
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t ginger
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 c toasted, chopped pecans (optional)

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 lb. cream cheese, room temp
  • 4 ounce butter, softened
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • pinch salt


In a bowl, combine all the cupcakes ingredients and whisk to combine. Scoop into a muffin tin and bake at 350ยบF for about 20-22 minutes.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting by dumping all the ingredients into a mixer and mix until fluffy, about 10 minutes. Don’t frost the cupcakes until they’re C O M P L E T E L Y cool, otherwise it will melt and that is just not good.

To frost the cupcakes, use a spatula to put 1/4 of the frosting into a zip top bag. Cut a tip off the corner of the bag and try your hardest to make them look pretty (it takes practice). Fill the bag again and repeat. Or use a small spatula to swirl a bit of frosting on ’em. Top with chopped, toasted nuts if you’d like.

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  • Reply
    Liz N
    September 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Holy Mary! I love carrot cake and even more when they’re in the shape of a cupcake. I cannot wait to try this out. I love your Paleo approach and that you make allowances for treats like this. Go ahead and toot your own horn…this looks AMAZING!

  • Reply
    megan keatley
    September 3, 2010 at 10:47 am

    thanks liz! i had a comment about nutritional info for our brownie recipe. so i looked these up too. i got 10g of carbs…using raisins (not sugar) and including the frosting. not bad!

  • Reply
    September 6, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I made these for my aunt’s birthday. My whole family eats Paleo so they totally appreciated the goodness you came up with. Thanks. Keep up the yummy work.

    • Reply
      megan keatley
      September 22, 2010 at 10:02 am

      thank you! i applaud your entire family for eating this way. we have a very hard time convincing ours.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Did you use sugar or raisins in your recipe?

    • Reply
      megan keatley
      September 24, 2010 at 10:49 am

      well…some people like raisins, some don’t. so i put two options. but…it also depends on how sweet you want it. they’re not that sweet with one or the other, so both sugar and raisins may be better if you’re making these for non-paleo eaters.

  • Reply
    September 25, 2010 at 10:38 am

    I officially love you. the cupcakes were amazing! I used sugar instead of raisins and it was delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe and treat :)

  • Reply
    October 14, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Megan–My wife and I tried out the brownies last weekend and they did come out a lot like fudge–not as cake like as traditional brownies. I realize that may just be part of the territory when it comes to paleo desserts. But, do these cupcakes come out a little more cake-like with the addition of the baking soda/powder, or are they still pretty dense?

    P.s. Love the site!

    • Reply
      megan keatley
      October 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm

      thank you david!

      you are exactly right, the lack of a leavening agent in the brownie caused it to be more like fudge. the ‘cupcakes’ are definitely more cake like, not exactly a traditional cake ‘crumb’, but it’s a decent alternative, i think.

  • Reply
    November 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    So excited – about to try this recipe in t minus one hour to bring to my boyfriend’s parents.

    I wanted to make a paleo treat that didn’t have agave or maple syrup etc. Yours was one of the few I came by – I’ll let you guys know how they come out!

  • Reply
    November 24, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    DELICIOUS – just blogged about it on my own blog. . .

    hope this sends some folks your way

    basically because I didn’t make the icing I added some hazelnuts and pecans in the ‘batter’ . . I also doubled the amount of raisins. . .=)

    YAY you guys

    • Reply
      megan keatley
      November 27, 2010 at 10:57 am

      jasmine, awesome-ness..glad they worked out for you!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2010 at 11:24 am

    I tried this recipe and it turned out really well! I added in a few scoops of crushed pineapple and some coconut, but I’m definitely keeping this recipe. I even brought the leftovers to work the next day and had 2 people (who had no idea that this cake had no flour and barely any sugar) asked for the recipe. I put it up on my blog:

    keep up the great recipes, I love them!

    • Reply
      megan keatley
      December 20, 2010 at 10:24 pm

      looks great girl! thanks for the feedback!

  • Reply
    February 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Just curious if you have considered trying to use stevia instead of sugar? Would it work you think?

  • Reply
    megan keatley
    February 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    we actually JUST bought some stevia. i don’t see why it wouldn’t work…can’t help you with quantities though. we will definitely post any recipes we like w/ it.

  • Reply
    Nadine from Montreal
    June 14, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Just tried them, but with out the frosting…and im not quiet sure. It does taste good, but without any almond flour i found them too much `juicy`.

  • Reply
    September 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Just an F.Y.I both sugar and cream cheese (especially) are not primal… might want to rename these!

    • Reply
      May 21, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      i know, i completely agree. and so many people are being fooled by recipes like this and are actually gaining weight and messing up their blood sugar levels.

      • Reply
        brandon keatley
        May 22, 2012 at 9:24 am

        i’m going to guess that people like this do not have websites on which they post everything for free and according to a point of view they’ve written about in depth elsewhere on their site. a point of view that exists “in context” and can be a very helpful option for someone actually interested in understanding it.

        because if they did, they’d probably put their desire to “enlighten” aside in realizing that they might actually come off as sanctimonious and ignorant.

        but then again…maybe not…i’m sure they’re really proud of their little zingers.

        “any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.”
        – ben franklin

  • Reply
    October 22, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Used your frosting recipe on the Pumpkin Spice Bars – fantastic!

    These are for my son’s 2nd birthday so I was fine with having a little treat (cream cheese, icing sugar).

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    This dessert was great! I constantly have a sweet tooth and usually just suffer! I have tried to make other paleo desserts but they usually fall flat because they don’t taste like “normal” desserts. This one conquered my sweet tooth while not trying to be something it isn’t… yummy. I did not use the frosting recipe because I personally don’t do dairy as a part of my diet, but I did a modified version of the cinnamon icing on another recipe you have up! I just stumbled upon your website this week and am already making 3 recipes from it! Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Reply
    January 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I made these for my mom’s birthday. They were soo good. I did modify a few things: I tallied up the spice measurements and instead used the same amount of pumpkin pie spice (penzey’s), I used almond flour instead of almond butter, added some crushed pineapple and a couple of tablespoons of coconut flour. Yum.

    • Reply
      megan keatley
      January 26, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      hmmm…you made hummingbird cake, kind of. i made that for our wedding cake. love it! great idea!

  • Reply
    Jessica Rhyan
    April 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    I made these for Easter lunch & they were a HIT. Sooooo good! & my mom couldn’t believe there was no flour or butter! Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Thank you so much for these!! I made them for a special occasion so that i would have a treat too and everyone liked them. I wanted them to be pretty sweet so non paleos might like them so i used raisins and a little bit of raw honey and it worked well i skipped the cream cheese frosting and used a recipe i found for coconut milk whipped cream on top instead and delish! My husband loves carrot cake and gave them a big thumbs up.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I just baked a batch of these – I haven’t even gotten to the frosting stage (cream cheese is still coming to room temp) but couldn’t resist trying a cupcake alone. They’re delicious! This is my first attempt at baking anything grain-free/sugar-free, and I am entirely agog at how well they turned out. I LOVE baking and baked goodies of all varieties… This could be revolutionary in my household!

    Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes, and for the explanations throughout the website. This is the fourth recipe I’ve tried from Health-Bent and they’ve all been amazing! Keep up the great work and positive influence!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Have you tried banana instead of sugar? Think it would work? Maybe with just a pinch of coconut flower?

  • Reply
    February 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    These are amazing! So moist, rich and flavorful. Can’t believe there was zero flour in them.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    These look glorious! I know the recipe says a half can of coconut milk. How many oz is that?

  • Reply
    June 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Just curious as I am just beginning to explore the Paleo diet…no almond flour but 1 cup of almond butter. I thought the reason one wants to avoid almonds in excess (flour or otherwise) was because of the higher omega 6’s in nuts.

    • Reply
      June 21, 2013 at 10:51 pm


      You’re right…and you’d get a fair dose of n-6 from almond flour or almond butter. We’ve learned a lot in the years we’ve been doing this, at first we might not have even been as aware of the omega 6 issue with almonds. And it also used to be a sacrifice we’d make occasionally to make a treat that was free of grains. Until we did the experimentation for the book, we didn’t really know any other way. But yes, that’s exactly why we did away with most almond flour and almond butter in the book…we still have 2 recipes in there with almond butter and again, sometimes it’s just worth it.

  • Reply
    Primal Carrot Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting « The Cupcake Blog
    June 27, 2013 at 11:28 am

    […] Coconut milk, cinnamon shredded carrots and zest of orange, all in a cupcake, definitely adds a hint of health to a cupcake. Carrot cupcakes are among the most loved top of the list cupcakes by people the world over. Certainly, they are appetizing nibbling at anytime of the day and for any occasion. With their topping of whipped cream cheese and pecan nuts, what more could you want in a cupcake, than a carrot cupcake! Source Health-Bent […]

  • Reply
    Primal Carrot Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting | Cupcake Ideas, Cupcake Recipes, Cupcake Pictures
    June 27, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    […] Coconut milk, cinnamon shredded carrots and zest of orange, all in a cupcake, definitely adds a hint of health to a cupcake. Carrot cupcakes are among the most loved top of the list cupcakes by people the world over. Certainly, they are appetizing nibbling at anytime of the day and for any occasion. With their topping of whipped cream cheese and pecan nuts, what more could you want in a cupcake, than a carrot cupcake! Source Health-Bent […]

  • Reply
    Laura Penman
    August 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Is there a good substitute for powdered sugar that doesn’t include corn? I’m allergic to it. :(

  • Reply
    December 1, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Laura, I’ve used powdered maple syrup from Iherb with great success. Its not cheap but its worth it!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    These are delicious – have made over half a dozen of your “treats” and these carrot cupcakes are my personal favorite! Any chance you might come up with a Lemon Bar recipe for spring time ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    TJ D
    February 16, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Can I replace the powdered sugar with powdered coconut sugar?

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