Paleo Carrot Cake Bars with Robin's Egg Frosting (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
Who loves spring? I used to love summer but I think spring is now my favorite season. It's just the start of the warm weather, so you know you have some fun outdoor months ahead. Spending my winter in New England this year, I can appreciate spring so much more! The flowers, the birds chirping, and all the fresh berries and fruits are in season.
I also love Easter. It's a holiday that doesn't require gifts or greeting cards. It's just a pretty and fun spring holiday to celebrate with friends or family, have an outdoor brunch, go to church, and maybe even an easter egg hunt? I thought it would be fun this year to make a carrot cake, but give it a little twist and make them into bars with some Robin Egg buttercream frosting! The light blue frosting just gives a fun spring feel and also cute for the kiddos. And not only are they cute but DANG are they good.
If you are looking for a delicious and adorable paleo dessert, gluten free dessert or even a paleo, healthy snack with your afternoon tea or coffee, you have to try these carrot cake bars.
These paleo carrot cake bars are paleo, gluten free, dairy free and full of flavor!
Because of the moisture content of carrots, these bars are super moist and full of flavor and with add ins like dates and walnuts to give it a great texture. The base of the bars are almond flour, mixed with either oat flour or coconut flour. There is no dairy or refined sugar in these bars, making them a healthy, clean and lower carb treat! These carrot bars have been approved by normal, picky eaters.
Are these carrot cake bars low fodmap?
Yes these are gut-friendly and low fodmap! They are free of grains, and if oat flour is not tolerated, coconut flour can be used. They do have 1/4 cup of dates in the whole recipe, but it’s a very small serving and safe for a low fodmap diet.
Are these paleo carrot cake bars easy to make?
Yes! Easy level baking. The only baking tool required is a hand or stand mixer to make the frosting.
The robin's egg buttercream frosting!
The blue frosting is what makes these bars so cute and so SPRING. And perfect for Easter! But you can of course omit the blue food coloring and they’ll be a pretty white frosting. I used Color Kitchen Foods blue color powder packets, but you can also naturally color this with blue butterfly pea powder. You can use any powdered sugar for the frosting, just know if you use a brown sugar like coconut sugar, your frosting won’t bright blue! You can use powdered monkfruit as a suggestion or traditional confectionary powdered sugar if you aren’t paleo.
How do I make my own unrefined powdered sugar?
To make your own unrefined powdered sugar, place any granulated sweetener in a high speed blender for 30-60 seconds. I prefer to use coconut sugar because it is my go to low glycemic sweetener but you can use any granulated sugar, even monkfruit. If you use coconut sugar in this recipe, just keep in mind that your blue won’t be vibrant!
How to store the carrot cake bars?
Store the bars unfrosted on the countertop for up to 2 days, slightly vented on a dish or container. They will keep their moisture better at room temperature. Once frosted, store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. These also freeze well. Cut into bars and store in freezer individually for up to 3 months and defrost at room temperature when ready to enjoy.
What is in these paleo carrot cake bars?
Carrots: The star of the show! They must be finely grated, it can be done ahead of time to save some time
Coconut Sugar: My baking sugar of choice. It’s low glycemic and safe on most low carb diets. It doesn’t taste like coconut sugar! But you can replace this with any other granulated sweetener
Maple Syrup: Just a touch of maple syrup compliments these bars perfectly
Almond Flour: My go to paleo flour, it is a neutral flavor and adds moisture. It unfortunately can’t be substituted
Oat Flour or Coconut Flour: Oat flour and coconut flour work similar with almond flour. I prefer oat flour for its texture and flavor. Coconut flour tends to add a slight grit in recipes, but either work here. Coconut flour keeps these paleo!
Eggs: 2 eggs bind together these bars. I haven’t tried a substitute but flax eggs may work here.
Warming Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves are used in this recipe to create that warm iconic carrot cake flavor
Sea Salt: balances out sweetness in all baking recipes
Baking Powder and Soda: Both act together to give this heavier cake a nice fluffy rise
Unrefined or Confectionary Powdered Sugar: I always make my own unrefined powdered sugar by putting any granulated sweetener in a high speed blender for 30 seconds.
Vanilla Extract: Adds a touch of vanilla flavor to the cake and frosting
Coconut Oil: My baking oil of choice but you can substitute for any neutral baking oil like grapeseed oil
Dates and Nuts: These are the add ins to the cake. I like dates and walnuts but you can sub for raisins and any other nut — pistachio or pecans! Dates are used in a small serving size here so they remain low fodmap friendly.
Natural Blue Food Coloring: I use Color Kitchen Foods color powders. But any natural food coloring works!
What do I need for these paleo carrot cake bars?
Hand mixer/beater for the frosting
8x8” square baking pan
Grater to shred carrots
A small clean paintbrush for creating speckles
These carrot cake bars look like a lot of ingredients but it’s mostly spices! Don’t be intimidated, this recipe is really easy.
The carrot cake bars:
2 3/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup oat flour, or coconut flour for paleo
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled, or neutral oil like grapeseed oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbsp maple syrup
2 eggs, room temp
1 cup finely shredded carrot
1/4 chopped dates, or raisins
1/4 chopped walnuts, or other nuts
The robin egg vanilla buttercream:
1 cup powdered confectionary sugar, or unrefined powdered sugar for paleo**
1/4 cup non-dairy butter, I use Miyoko's
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tsp non-dairy milk, as needed
1 packet of blue natural food color powder, or 2-3 drops of natural food coloring
1 tbsp of melted chocolate chips for speckling
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8”x8” square baking pan with parchment and spray edges with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, oat or coconut flour, shredded coconut, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Combine well until no lumps remain.
3. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut sugar, melted and cooled coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, and room temperature eggs (this is important so the coconut oil does not coagulate — place them in a bowl of warm water for 3 minutes if they are not room temperature) until well combined and smooth.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Now add in the shredded carrots, dates and nuts. Mix again with a spatula or spoon until incorporated.
5. Carefully fold the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread until even. Shake and tap the pan to release air bubbles.
6. Bake 22-28 minutes, edges will brown and top will set. Toothpick will come out clean with just a few crumbs when ready. And the cake will bounce back with a light touch.
7. Place on cooling rack to cool before removing from pan.
8. Prepare the buttercream frosting. Mix together all ingredients except for food coloring in a small bowl with a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth. Start with 2 tsp of non-dairy milk and add 1 tsp more at a time if too dry. Or add more powdered sugar to thicken. Once desired consistency, add in blue food color powder or natural blue food coloring. Start with just a few drops so it’s a pastel blue.
9. Once the carrot bars have cooled, remove them in one piece by lifting the parchment sides and place back on cooling rack. Generously frost them with the blue frosting.
10. Melt the 1 tbsp of chocolate chips or bar in a microwave safe bowl or over the stove top. They will melt fast so melt in small increments, 15 seconds at a time. Once melted, dip a clean small paintbrush into the chocolate and flick it back with your fingers to create speckled splashes onto the frosting. Depending on the chocolate chips used, they may be too thick to create a splash. If so, add 1 tsp of coconut oil to the chocolate to thin it out. Keep flicking the paintbrush until you reach the desired amount of speckle.
See my video below!
11. Wait for chocolate to set. Then slice into bars and enjoy!
Here's a quick video on how I made them and speckled the frosting.
I have not tried egg subs here but I do think flax eggs will work (2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp warm water) They just may be a little more dense. Aquafaba eggs may work, too.
To make your own unrefined powdered sugar, place any granulated sweetener in a high speed blender for 30-60 seconds. I prefer to use coconut sugar because it is my go to low glycemic sweetener but you can use any granulated sugar or monkfruit.
You can use any powdered sugar for the frosting, just know if you use a brown sugar like coconut sugar, your frosting won’t bright blue!
If you make these pretty robin egg carrot cake bars, leave me comments and ratings below, I love to hear from you! And tag me @gutsy_baker in your creations on Instagram