6″ Primal Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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  • carrotcake-IMG_7798
  • carrotcake-IMG_7801
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  • 6" layer cakeYield
  • 8Servings
  • 45 mPrep Time
  • 30 mCook Time
  • 1:30 hReady In
Print Recipe

Happy Spring everyone!

Cake is awesome, right?┬áSometimes though, you only want a small cake — not a big one. We got these 6″ cake pans awhile back, and I’m finally getting around to using them. (I don’t usually have the interest in making traditional cakes; and anyway, David is the designated birthday cake maker in our house.)

Making a small cake is easier than cupcakes, and this will give you just enough cake to enjoy celebrating with your small family, but not so much that you’re waddling around a week later.

You can easily double the recipe for a 9″ round layer cake. For other conversions, check out this cool blog that tells you how to adjust recipes for different size cake pans.

Did you know that you don’t actually need to peel carrots? I grew up peeling them, but when we started working toward a zero-waste lifestyle (a work in progress), we realized peeling the carrots is completely unnecessary… especially when you’re grating them anyway. Not only that, but it saves your precious time. (You’re welcome. ­čśë )

One final (important) note:

The recipe for cream cheese frosting makes enough to frost an 8-9″ layer cake, but I can’t bear to make a smaller amount (it’s possibly my fave dessert topping ever). Instead I just slather it on so there’s lots and lots of delicious, creamy frosting! If you’re not obsessed with cream cheese frosting like I am though, feel free to halve that part of the recipe.

Because, let’s face it: despite having a vegetable in its name, this is NOT a low-calorie cake. It’s a lovely┬áoccasional treat perfect for holidays like the Spring Equinox or Easter. ┬áIf you want to play with the ingredients a bit, here are a few options. For 120 less calories overall (i.e. 15 less calories per slice), you could use granulated sugar instead of maple syrup (honey is higher in calories and brown sugar is about the same). However, if you cut back on the most delicious part of the recipe and reduce the cream cheese frosting by half (or save the other half for something else), you’ll have 901 fewer calories (113 less per slice), leaving you at 458 calories per slice.

However you slice it (haha), a 6″ cake poses less threat to your waistline than a 9″ one… hence my preference for 6″ cake pans.


  • Cake
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
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Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Net Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber

Step by step method

  • Make the Cake

    1. Place 8 oz cream cheese and 1 stick of butter on the counter to soften (for the cream cheese frosting). Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit convection bake. Use a tiny bit of butter (or coconut oil) to grease two 6" round (3" deep) cake pans. Soften 1.5 sticks butter for 20 seconds in the microwave (unless you thought far enough in advance to already have it softened).

    2. With an electric mixer, cream together butter and maple syrup. Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and applesauce until combined. (You may need to scrape down the sides a few times).

    3. Mix in baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Blend in cassava flour.

  • 4. Grate carrots (if not already done). Fold into cake batter. Pour half the batter into each of the two 6' cake pans. Convection bake at 350 degrees (F) for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

    5. Place cakes on cooling racks until completely cooled. (If you try to frost them warm, the frosting will melt and it'll be a giant mess!)

  • Make the Frosting

    6. While the cake is baking and/or cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. Whip together the softened cream cheese and stick of butter. When completely mixed, add in the vanilla extract.

  • 7. Add in powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time, if you'd like to adjust the sweetness of the frosting) and whip until fully combined. You will need to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure the butter and cream cheese are completely mixed together. Taste. (Don't let anyone else lick the beater, because it's just too tasty to share.) If cakes are not yet cool, place frosting in the refrigerator until ready to frost.

  • 8. When cakes are COMPLETELY cool, frost using a small, firm spatula or butter knife. Optional: top with chopped walnuts or pecans. Serve and enjoy!

Tips & variations

  • *To make powdered sugar at home (so it doesn't have cornstarch or other additives), grind granulated sugar into a high speed blender (i.e. vitamix).

Ariana Ayu

Head Blogger/ Chef

For the past 20+ years, I've been cooking to accommodate a variety of food preferences, allergies, and styles. Lately, I've been working on paleo breads and baking with cassava flour since we've realized it's sooooooo much easier to send The Wee Man to preschool with sandwiches in his lunch. Visit our About Us page to learn more.

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