These Carrot Cake Bars are easier to make than a cake, and just as tasty! You’ll love the cake texture and carrot cake flavor, topped with the most delicious dairy-free cashew “cream cheese” frosting. Paleo, Grain-Free, refined sugar free, and dairy-free but with the taste you love.
Moist, flavorful, and perfectly spiced– These Carrot Cake Bars have it all!! But here is the thing…. These Carrot Cake Bars are so dang good, that no one will even notice they are Paleo, Grain-free, Dairy-free, and healthy.
As a nutritionist, I love taking a classic flavorful treat and making it healthier! These Carrot Cake Bars are no exception. They are filled with healthy fats and fiber. Both of these elements work so well in baked treats, giving us the moist and dense flavor we love!
Why These Carrot Cake Bars are so perfect
Spring time means that I will sometimes pass on chocolate in favor of carrot cake. GASP. I know….. me the chocoholic. There is just something about carrot cake and cream cheese frosting though, IT’S SOOOOO DANG GOOD!!!!
I do have an amazing recipe for a healthy Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, but the thought of bars was so appealing. For a few reasons:
- These Carrot Cake Bars are much easier than making and assembling a cake! With all the goodness and taste of a carrot cake to include that amazing layer of “cream cheese” frosting.
- They are portable! Cut into squares and pack in your lunchbox, take on a picnic, or whatever makes you happy.
- Carrot Cake Bars are easier to freeze and store!
How to make Paleo Carrot Cake Bars:
I love the way these turned out. The texture was perfectly cakey and moist, but also had the fun texture of carrots, nuts, and raisins.
Here is how we make these simple bars!
- Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Soak raw cashews in a hot water for at least 15 minutes before making the frosting.
- Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. No mixer required! Then fold in the raisins and nuts, and spread the batter into the pan.
- They only bake for 22 – 24 minutes. While baking whip up your cashew cream cheese frosting!
- In a food processor, you’ll whip up soaked cashews, coconut cream (from a can), lemon, lemon zest, vanilla, and maple syrup. The frosting becomes light and fluffy, but does require a few iterations of pausing and scraping the sides with a spatula.
- Once cake is removed from oven, let cool completely before spreading the frosting. Then refrigerate to let the frosting set. Cut into squares and enjoy!
Tips and Adaptations:
- Using a blender: you can use a blender for the frosting, but this makes things a bit more difficult because it doesn’t have enough ingredients to properly blend. A food processor is much easier!
- Nuts: feel free to swap out walnuts for pecans.
- Using the freezer: these will set even faster if you are impatient and want them to be done. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes then slice into equal bars!
- Cashews: there really is no replacement for cashews in a dairy-free frosting. Other nuts don’t give that creamy texture. You can do a regular creamy cheese frosting with 8 oz of cream cheese, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and 1 – 1.5 cups of powdered sugar.
You can store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for three months. I prefer to freeze immediately after baking so they remain fresh for a long time!
Other Paleo treats you’ll love:
Carrot Cake Bars (Paleo)
Carrot Cake Bars are moist, flavorful, and perfectly spiced with a dairy-free cream cheese! No one will know these are Paleo, grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar free.
For the Carrot Cake Bars:
- 1 cup blanched almond flour
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup dairy-free milk
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup grated carrots
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1/4 cup raisins
Cashew “Cream Cheese” Frosting
- 1 cup raw cashews*
- 1/3 cup coconut cream**
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 tbsp maple syrup***
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8×8 square pan with non-stick spray, then create a sling with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the sides and allows for the bars to be easily removed once baked. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flours, coconut sugar, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and baking soda.
In another bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: coconut oil, eggs, milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Fold wet ingredients into dry, mixing with a spoon until no dry pockets remain.
Now fold in carrots, raisins, and nuts. Continue to stir until well incorporated. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Transfer to the oven and bake for 22-24 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. Combine soaked and drained cashews in a food processor with coconut cream, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt. Pulse until smooth and creamy. This may take several minutes, and pausing to scrape the sides of the food processor.
Once cake is cooled (about 30 minutes), spread frosting evenly over the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until frosting is firm. Then cut into 12-16 squares.
*prior to making the cashew frosting, soak raw cashews in hot water for at least 15 minutes. Drain the water, then proceed with the frosting.
**Coconut cream is the stiff and firm portion of canned coconut milk. You can buy coconut cream in the can, or use the top of a canned coconut milk.
***You can also use honey in place of maple syrup