Nantes Carrot Cake with Cashew Butter Frosting

Carrot cake is a favorite for the Chester family so it seemed fitting that we should have our very own recipe for it. Since we often find ourselves entertaining people who can’t tolerate gluten and dairy, we wanted a version that could accommodate those sensitivities, while still being reminiscent of the classic version with a cream cheese frosting. We used creamy cashew butter as the base for the frosting and found that by adding a good amount of lemon juice, we could achieve that familiar tang of cream cheese that goes so well with a richly textured cake.


  • 1 cup raw cashew butter
  • ½ cup coconut yogurt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • CAKE
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup cashew butter
  • ⅓ cup unrefined avocado oil
  • ¼ cup coconut yogurt
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded carrots (3 large carrots)
  • ½ cup golden raisins (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts


  1. FROSTING — In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cashew butter, coconut yogurt, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Mix on high speed for 1 minute. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then mix again on high speed until the frosting is creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the frosting to an airtight container and refrigerate.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the middle.
  3. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper: Place the pans on top of sheets of parchment paper, and trace the bottom of the pans to create two circle patterns. Cut out the circles and place them inside the bottom of each pan. Cut out four 8 x 12-inch strips of parchment paper and place them along the inner wall of the pans.
  4. CAKE — In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the almond flour, shredded coconut, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and salt. Mix on low speed until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. In a separate medium bowl, combine the maple syrup, cashew butter, avocado oil, coconut yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the stand mixer and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Gently fold in the shredded carrots, raisins (if using), and walnuts (if using). The batter will be very thick.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and very gently spread it out using a small spoon, being careful not to disturb the parchment linings. Place the pans side by side in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans in the oven to ensure even cooking and bake until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  7. When the cakes are cool enough to handle, invert each one onto a 10- to 12-inch dinner plate and gently peel off the parchment paper. Refrigerate the cakes for at least 1 hour.
  8. Remove the cakes and frosting from the refrigerator. Transfer one cake layer to a serving plate or cake stand. Gently spread a thick layer of cashew frosting on the top of the cake. If the frosting is too stiff to work with, let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to soften. Carefully set the second cake layer on the frosted bottom layer. Gently spread the remaining frosting on the top layer of the cake. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top of the cake and serve. The cake will keep loosely covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.