This carrot cake recipe is my favorite. It goes back to my first office job in 1977 when I was in high school. I was working part-time in a mailroom sending out junk mail (yep, I did that). A coworker brought a cake to work for someone’s birthday and since I really was not a huge fan of carrot cake, I did not want a piece. However, in order to be polite, I tried a small piece. WOW. This one was different!
Carrot Cake with a Tropical Twist
The tropical ingredients include shredded coconut and pineapple, making it what I call a Pina Colada carrot cake. When you make this, get the best ingredients.
Go for organic carrots and put them through a shredder (like the Salad Shooter) or you can grate them by hand using a standard grater. Drain any excess liquid.
- Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, an orange pigment, that the body uses to make Vitamin A. This vitamin supports healthy eyesight and a robust immune system.
- Studies show that just a half cup of carrots per day is protective against heart disease. This small amount packs a lot of nutrition.
- The fiber in carrots helps with digestion and bowel regularity.
- Carrots are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, that help with bone health, immunity.
- In addition to beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene, carrots have a high amount of silicon and biotin to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails.
In this carrot cake recipe, I prefer fresh pineapple, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor but you can also use canned organic crushed pineapple.
- Pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
- They are abundant in the mineral manganese, which supports healthy bones, nervous system, and activates enzyme systems in the body. Manganese also supports healthy blood sugar metabolism.
- Pineapples help support a robust immune system.
- The enzymes in pineapples help with digestion, but can also reduce inflammation.
- Pineapples are loaded with antioxidants, which is important for chronic disease prevention.
I am a huge fan of coconut meat. Not only does the flavor enhance this carrot cake recipe, but it offers good nutrition.
- Coconut meat is antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal. It supports immune health.
- Shredded coconut provides an excellent source of fiber.
- The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut can help to increase metabolism.
- Coconut may help to balance hormones and cholesterol profiles. It’s a heart-healthy fat source.
This Carrot Cake Recipe is Gluten-Free
This recipe originally included regular white flour. I used a gluten-free baking mix along with some almond flour as a substitute for wheat and it worked well. After some experimenting with the amounts, I got it just right. I also decreased the amount of sugar in the cake and in the cream cheese frosting.
Enjoy this recipe as a birthday cake or for just about any special occasion or use it to make cupcakes.
Pina Colada Carrot Cake Recipe (Gluten-Free)
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free baking mix I use Pamela's Baking Mix
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup of raw sugar regular sugar may be used
- 1 cup of oil I use unrefined sunflower oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups shredded or grated carrots
- 1 cup pineapple chunks chopped finely (you can also use canned crushed pineapple, drained)
- 1 cup shredded coconut I use Trader Joe's organic shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon butter or ghee for greasing the baking dish
- 4 ounces organic cream cheese
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Mix together the baking mix, almond flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Gradually add the flour mix.
- Fold in the remaining ingredients (carrots, pineapple, coconut).
- Prepare a baking dish or pan (12" x 9") that has been greased and floured or use cupcake tins.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting the cake.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Leave the butter and cream cheese out for a while to soften, then mix butter and cream cheese together. Gradually add the sugar and lastly the vanilla.
- Feel free to add some chopped walnuts or raisins.
- To grease and flour the baking dish, use some butter (or ghee) and some of the gluten-free baking mix.
- Add some shredded carrots to the top for garnish.
- Calorie information includes frosting.
- For a dairy-free option, omit the frosting.