Soft and fluffy, perfectly spiced carrot cake topped with a tart and creamy cheesecake swirl. This wonderfully spring treat is so easy to make and absolutely delicious! Made with simple, real ingredients these bars are great as a dessert, afternoon snack, or even as a sweet breakfast on-the-go. This healthier Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bar recipe is paleo-friendly (gluten/grain/dairy free) and refined sugar free.
What Do These Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars Taste Like?
The carrot cake is light and airy, just perfectly sweet, and spiced with warming spices like cinnamon and ginger that go so well with carrot. Speaking of carrot, this cake is PACKED with it, one and half cups of finely shredded carrot give this cake the perfect amount of carrot flavor. There’s nothing more disappointing than an [INSERT FRUIT/VEGGIE HERE] Cake/Bar/Loaf recipe that only uses a dismal 2 tablespoons or scant 1/4 cup of the headlining ingredient. I want that ingredient in big bold letters, highlighted, and double underlined in flavor! And this cake definitely screams carrot!
The dairy free cheesecake top is actually made from soaked cashews! I prefer using a real, whole ingredient instead of calling for a store bought vegan cream cheese concoction. The resulting cheesecake layer is wonderfully creamy and sweetened with maple syrup, which perfectly complements the carrot cake base. The two layers are incredible together and these Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to usher in the springtime!
Here’s why you’ll love these Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars:
- Quick and easy to make!
- Carrot cake that’s actually packed with carrot.
- Light and airy cake that’s perfect spiced.
- Healthier & whole ingredients.
- Carrot cake and cheesecake is a seasonal springtime match made in heaven!
What Ingredients Are In These Healthier Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars?
These Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars are better-for-you as they contain no refined sugars, flours, or oils. They are paleo-friendly which means they are gluten free, grain free, and dairy free. The dairy free cheesecake layer uses soaked cashews rather than a store bought vegan cream cheese which often has gums or preservatives.
Here’s a look at the ingredients you’ll need and some possible variations:
- Coconut Sugar – My favorite sweetener for making refined sugar free treats. I love the natural caramel flavor the coconut sugar adds to the carrot cake. I use and love Nutiva’s Coconut Sugar.
- Avocado Oil – Adds the perfect amount of moisture to the carrot cake. Sub with melted and cooled coconut oil if you prefer!
- Eggs – To make the carrot cake fluffy!
- Cassava Flour – An unprocessed flour that is gluten, grain, and nut free. I use and love Otto’s.
- Tapioca Flour – Helps thicken the carrot cake batter and the cheesecake layer.
- Baking Powder – Helps the carrot cake rise.
- Spices – A mix of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg add to the carrot flavor.
- Salt – To enhance all the flavors in the cake.
- Nut/Seed Milk – To add moisture to the cake and the cheesecake layer.
- Shredded Carrot – A lots of it! I recommend hand grating the carrots on the fine or medium side of your grater. I have this box grater, it’s a little on the pricey side but easy to use and well worth it. I tried shredding the carrots in my food processor but found the shreds to be too big and did not cook through with the cake, which is why I recommend using a manual grater.
- Cashews – Raw, soaked cashews create the dairy free cheesecake layer.
- Maple Syrup – Sweetens the cheesecake layer.
- Coconut Oil – Helps create a creamy cheesecake layer.
- Vanilla – Adds flavor to the cheesecake.
- Lemon Juice – For that classic cheesecake flavor, lemon juice adds a hint of tartness.
How Do You Make Healthier Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars?
This recipe is so easy to make! For cheesecake layer, just blend the ingredients together. And the carrot cake batter comes together in just one bowl. The one mildy time consuming thing is hand grating the carrots, but it’s really only 2-3 carrots and shouldn’t take too long at all!
Here’s a brief overview of the steps:
- Make the cheesecake mixture. By just blending the ingredients in a food processor, small blender, or with an immersion blender.
- Make the carrot cake batter. It comes together in just one bowl!
- Spread carrot cake batter into a baking dish. This one’s my favorite.
- Dollop the cheesecake layer over the carrot cake.
- Create the swirl using a knife or toothpick.
- Bake! Let cool, slice, and enjoy!
These Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 2-3 days. Or keep in the freezer for longer storage. Let frozen bars temper at room temperature for a few minutes before enjoying.
These Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars are light, sweet and tart, and just the right amount of richness – so perfect for springtime! Lots of sweet carrot, delicious warming spices, a luscious cheesecake swirl on top, and oh so delicious. Plus, with healthier ingredients these are great anytime you’re looking for a sweet pick me up!
paleo friendly (gluten/grain/dairy free), refined sugar free
More Spring Recipes!
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Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars
Soft and fluffy, perfectly spiced carrot cake topped with a luscious cheesecake layer. This wonderfully spring treat is so easy to make and absolutely delicious! Made with simple, real ingredients these bars would be great as a dessert, afternoon snack, or even as a sweet breakfast on-the-go.
paleo (gluten free/grain free/dairy free), refined sugar free
- 1 cup (130 grams) cashews soaked in hot water 20 minutes or 2 hours in cool water
- 5 tbsp (55 grams) maple syrup
- 2 tbsp (25 grams) coconut oil melted
- 1 tbsp nut/seed milk
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
Carrot Cake Ingredients
- 3/4 cup (114 grams) coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup (61 grams) avocado oil or melted and cooled coconut oil
- 2 eggs ideally room temp
- 1 cup (144 grams) cassava flour
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) tapioca flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp nut/seed milk
- 1 1/2 cups (165 gram) carrots, finely grated about 2 large carrots
Heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare square (8 or 9 inch) baking dish by lining with parchment paper and leaving a short overhang over the edges.
Soak cashews for 2 hours in cold water or 20 minutes in hot water if short on time.
Make the cheesecake mixture. Drain and rinse the cashews. In a food processor (ideal), small blender, or with an immersion blender, blend the cashews, maple syrup, coconut oil, nut/seed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla together until creamy and smooth. Add the 2 tbsp of tapioca flour and blend again until well combined. Set aside.
Make the carrot cake batter. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if mixing by hand), beat the coconut sugar, avocado oil, and eggs until light and frothy
Add the cassava, tapioca, baking powder, spices, and sea salt and stir until just fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl add the nut/seed milk and stir again until milk is just fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl once more if needed to ensure ingredients are evenly distributed without overmixing.
Gently fold in the shredded carrots using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and, using a rubber spatula, gently spread into an even layer in the pan.
Create the swirl. Dollop the cheesecake mixture over the carrot cake and use a sharp knife or toothpick and make a swirling motion in the batter.
Bake for 25-27 minutes or until top is firm and golden brown, checking for doneness with a toothpick. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Use the parchment paper overhang to remove from the pan and cool for at least another 10 minutes before slicing.
Slice and enjoy!
Storage: These Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars will keep in the fridge in an airtight container, for 2-3 days. Or keep in the freezer for longer storage. Let frozen bars temper at room temperature for a few minutes before enjoying.
Shredded Carrots: I find the grating from a food processor to be too big. Use either the fine or medium side on your hand grater.
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