Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting {grain-free, dairy-free}

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There’s something about the cold weather and early evening darkness that has me wanting to bake cakes all the time. So I apologize in advance for having so many cake-related recipes lately, but when you need a chocolate or carrot cake, at least you know I have you covered 🙂

Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting by Our Paleo Life

Back in November, we took a trip to Florida to visit family and take the kids to Universal Studios. Harry Potter World was a massive hit, the kids loved it. But let me just say, I was not expecting it to be nearly 100°F and 95% humidity. I know I spent nearly 29 years in Florida and have only been gone for 6 years, but I am so acclimated to low humidity and that weather was basically torture to me.

Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting by Our Paleo Life

But, we got to see family, which we haven’t seen in about almost 4 years, so it was a really great trip. And I’m not going to say this was the highlight of the trip (although it was close), but my aunt made the most amazing carrot cake we have ever had. It was not even close to paleo, but I don’t care, it was too good to pass up.

Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting by Our Paleo Life

When we came home, everyone had carrot cake on the mind, so naturally, I needed to come up with a suitable replacement. This particular carrot cake is not an exact replica of the one we had in Florida, but it is still really great. The kids love it and I love that it’s not loaded with dairy, grains, and refined sugar. Win win.

Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting by Our Paleo Life

The frosting is not your typical cream cheese frosting, for two reasons: (1) well, cream cheese is dairy and I’m not a fan of the dairy-free replacements; and (2) I wanted a frosting that was not reliant on shortening or butter. I went through too many frosting recipes and variations before I came to this one. I was getting really frustrated and had just about given up, but when I put this light and airy frosting on top of the cake, it was just right.

Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting by Our Paleo Life

I’ve always thought that carrot cake must have cream cheese frosting and that it was blasphemous to do anything otherwise, but I’m a changed woman. The maple meringue frosting used in this recipe is just as good, and not too sweet, which I really love.

Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting by Our Paleo Life

So take a chance on this slightly unconventional frosting on your perfectly spiced grain-free carrot cake. I’m guessing your dinner guests will probably ask for seconds. Mine did (well, my guests are my kids and they always ask for seconds, so maybe don’t use that as an example…).

Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting by Our Paleo Life
Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting

Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting

A twist on the traditional carrot cake, this one is served with a light and airy meringue frosting instead of a heavy cream-cheese based frosting. The result is a perfectly sweetened light cake that is perfect for any occasion.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cooling Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 413kcal
Author Kendra Benson



Maple Meringue Frosting



  • Preheat oven to 350°F Prepare your baking pans or cupcakes tins as follows:
  • For a 9x13 baking pan, lightly oil with mild oil of your choice (I use Chosen Foods avocado oil).
  • For (2) 8" round cake tins, cut a round of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of each pan. Lightly oil with mild oil of your choice (I use Chosen Foods avocado oil).
  • For 24 cupcakes, line the cupcake tin with paper liners.


  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, applesauce, sugars, and vanilla until smooth. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined. Stir in carrots, pineapple, and pecans (if using). Pour into prepared pan(s)/cupcake tin.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for {40-50 minutes for 9x13 pan} {30-40 minutes for 2 8" rounds} {18-22 minutes for cupcakes}, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake/cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely (leave in pan if using 9x13).

Maple Meringue Frosting

  • Heat 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan to boiling, then reduce to simmer.
  • In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites, maple syrup, and vinegar.
  • Place bowl over the simmering water and continue whisking for 3-5 minutes, until fluffy and lightened in color.
  • Remove bowl from heat and continue beating with the whisk attachment of the stand mixer on high for another 3-5 minutes until light, fluffy, and meringue holds stiff peaks.

To Assemble Cake

  • For 9x13, add as much frosting as you want (I prefer a lot). If desired, sprinkle chopped walnuts and toasted coconut flakes all over the top.
  • For 8" rounds, place bottom layer on cake plate or stand and generously frost just the top of the layer. Carefully place the next layer on top, centering it on the bottom layer, and generously frost the top. For a more rustic look, don't frost the sides. If desired, sprinkle chopped walnuts and toasted coconut flakes on the top.
  • For cupcakes, place frosting in a piping bag with an open star tip, and pipe frosting in a swirl on all the cupcakes. If desired, sprinkle chopped walnuts and toasted coconut flakes on the top.
  • This is best eaten within 2 days of making. The frosting does best in cooler temperatures and will melt slightly in high temps and humidity. If in a high temp/humidity area, prepare frosting the day you intend to eat it.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 489mg | Potassium: 340mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 108.7% | Vitamin C: 5.9% | Calcium: 14.1% | Iron: 5.4%
Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting {grain-free; dairy-free}

Last Updated 03/05/2019

4 Responses to “Carrot Cake w/ Maple Meringue Frosting {grain-free, dairy-free}”

  1. OMG! I’ve been looking for a good carrot cake recipe that my poor gut can handle…
    Eureka! I have found it! Much thanx!

  2. Hi Kendra,
    Looks like a great recipe… thank you!
    I would like to substitute out the coconut oil in the cake batter.
    Could I exchange this for butter? If so, do you know how much?
    Or perhaps a butter / ghee combination?

    Thank you!

    • Butter should work out just fine. I haven’t tried that in this specific cake, but I have used butter instead of coconut oil in some of my other cake recipes and the results were just great.

  3. Hey Kendra,
    Made the recipe, with slight modifications. The cake turned out great. I added more pecans, and substituted butter for the coconut oil. Otherwise it’s all your recipe… Great job. Thank you!
    The frosting was another matter. I did that as you described. I hadn’t made meringue frosting before, so that was a new experience. It didn’t ever whip up into meringue peaks, but instead was a brown thin liquid, never to rise.
    So I did this the second try, and it worked perfectly (
    For meringue frosting
    2 large egg whites (I used 3)
    1 cup pure maple syrup
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    Make frosting:
    Let whites stand at room temperature 1 hour. In a 1-quart heavy saucepan bring maple syrup to a boil over moderate heat and simmer until a candy thermometer registers 235° F. (be careful it doesn―t bubble over).
    While maple syrup is simmering, in bowl of a standing electric mixer beat whites with cream of tartar and a pinch salt until they just hold stiff peaks. Add hot maple syrup in a stream, beating until meringue is thickened and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes.


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