Paleo-friendly carrot cake bars made with almond flour and sweetened with coconut sugar. They’re moist, delicious and perfect for the carrot cake lover in your life. Gluten-free and grain-free.
We’re only a few days away from both Christmas and Hanukkah so things are getting cray over here. Lots of Christmas music, a massive amount of deliveries (thank goodness for online shopping and all the delivery people working extra hard this time of year) and gift wrapping — my fav! Last night I ran to the mall for some last minute gifts and then stayed up until midnight wrapping. I have a feeling things are going to be pretty similar tonight and I’m loving it!
Not only do I have Christmas and Hanukkah presents to wrap, we have a lot of December birthdays to celebrate as well. My sister and brother-in-law are the 15th and the 20th. Maria (EBF’s amazing intern) is a December 19th baby. One of my best friends AND my aunt were both born on December 24th. And my dad is December 27th.
I kind of feel bad for people with birthdays right around holidays, because the celebrations tend to get lost in the mix and most of the time people combine the person’s gifts into one. <– I’ve definitely done this before! But I can relate since my birthday is on a holiday (Valentine’s Day) so I try to go out of my way to make sure December babies get some extra love for their birthday. All this to say, my Dad’s birthday is coming up — two days after Christmas and he loves carrot cake!
So when I got a copy of my friend Lexi’s cookbook, Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, and saw this recipe for Paleo-Friendly Carrot Cake Bars, I knew they had to happen.
And you guys, can we just talk about her cookbook for one sec? It is HUGE and absolutely stunning! She has 150 paleo-friendly, clean recipes and in true Lexi’s Clean Kitchen fashion, each recipe has a gorgeous photo. She also provides a guide to clean eating and her approach to paleo, which is focused on balance and finding a customized diet that works for you and your body. It’s the perfect cookbook for those just getting started with clean (or paleo) eating or those who have been eating this way for a long time, but need fresh ideas!
The cookbook includes a ton of nutritious, healthy meals from breakfasts to soups, hearty salads (yay!) and main course dinners. And then there is a section for sweet desserts and treats, which is where these carrot cake bars come in.
The bars themselves taste just like regular carrot cake to me — moist, light and not too sweet — with bites of carrot and raisins. I would happily serve these on their own as a dessert, but the vanilla buttercream frosting definitely makes them more decadent and cake-like. I used the classic frosting recipe in Lexi’s cookbook (on page 288), but if you don’t have the cookbook yet, you can find a similar frosting recipe here.
I wasn’t able to share the carrot cake bars with my dad the day I made them (although I did send him a photo) so I’m planning to make them again for this birthday this week. I can’t wait because I know he’s going to LOVE them — probably even more than regular carrot cake!
If you have a carrot cake lover in your life, definitely try these bars. They do not disappoint.
1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup raisins
Optional: 3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (page 288 in the book) if desired
Preheat the oven to 350° F and line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt until well blended. Whisk in the eggs , applesauce, vanilla and ginger, if using, until smooth.
Fold in the carrots, walnuts, raisins, and chocolate chips, if using.
Pour the batter into the baking dish, smooth out the top, and bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
While the cake is baking, make the frosting and set aside.
When the cake is done, let it cool completely in the pan before frosting or cutting.
Spread the frosting evenly across the top of the cake and garnish with extra chopped walnuts, if desired. Cut into 9 to 12 bars to serve.
Store the bars in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you’re still doing some last minute holiday shopping I highly recommend Lexi’s Clean Kitchen cookbook. It’s on sale for less than $15 on Amazon right now and if you have prime or do next-day shipping you can totally have it before the weekend.