Recipes | Cakes & Cupcakes

Low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake

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If you love carrot cake, we hope you have found our classic rendition, but this one is a bit different! A tropical carrot cake with pineapple, macadamia nuts, coconut, crystallized ginger, and a coconut cream cheese frosting – and no raisins in sight! This cake is based upon a version from my book, The Birthday Cake Book, and it does make a great birthday cake, as well as bake sale, or office party cake.

main image of Low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting, on pan, on plate, with gold spatula.

Layer Cake, Snack Cake, or Cupcakes!

This Low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake is quite versatile. We love it as an oblong snack cake, baked in a 13-inch by 9-inch pan (33 cm by 23 cm), but it can also be made in three, 9-inch (23 cm) round pans, or you can make 24+ cupcakes (sometimes up to 30)! Baking times will vary, of course.

With the oblong snack cake, the low FODMAP serving size is as stated below: 

For the cupcakes, 1 cupcake is a low FODMAP serving. For a tall, three-layer round cake, it is a bit more challenging to cut those narrow wedges. You want to cut the cake into 24 pieces. Even if the slices end up a bit messy looking, no one will complain!

Overhead horizontal image of low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake, in pan and square cut out on small white plate.

Cream Cheese & FODMAPs

We will address some FAQs below, but let’s address a big observation. This recipe calls for conventional cream cheese! Isn’t cream cheese high FODMAP, you might ask? Let’s dive in and take a look.

First, we have to have a discussion about lactose in general. If you take a look at our articles on how Monash University and FODMAP Friendly lab test ingredients, you will see that they have very different thresholds for lactose. Monash University considers 1 g or less of lactose per serving to be low FODMAP, while FODMAP Friendly considers 4 g or less per serving to be low FODMAP. Neither of these thresholds is more correct than the other; they are both evidence-based. Obviously, Monash takes a more cautious approach.

lifting piece of low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake out of pan on spatula.

Even using Monash University’s more conservative approach, you can easily look up in their smart phone app and see that 40 g of conventional cream cheese is considered low FODMAP. Our recipe calls for 455 g total, but the recipe serving size at its minimum is 24, and even then, the recipe would be low FODMAP. That is how we can enjoy conventional cream cheese in a low FODMAP recipe. 

placing piece of low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake on spatula onto plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Carrots Low FODMAP?

Yes, carrots vary in lab tests from showing no FODMAPs whatsoever, to showing very low amounts. So low that Monash doesn’t even tell us what FODMAP(s) appear at very large portions (which is maddening). FODMAP Friendly lab tests show no FODMAPs, and state a serving size in 1000 g. That is a lot of carrot!

Is Coconut Low FODMAP?

Depends on what kind of coconut! We have a whole article for you called Is Coconut Low FODMAP? which takes you through all the coconut products, from water to the various kinds of coconut milk, shredded, oil, coconut cream etc. Many coconut products do have low FODMAP serving sizes, although some are very small. The sweetened coconut in this cake has a low FODMAP serving size in the portions suggested.

If you love coconut, check out this article: 31 Low FODMAP Coconut Recipes That Will Make You Swing From The Trees.

Is Canned Pineapple in Juice Low FODMAP?

Monash has lab tested both syrup packed, and juice packed, canned pineapple and their low FODMAP amounts are nearly identical. Canned pineapple packed in juice, drained, is low FODMAP in 90 g servings. 

Are Macadamia Nuts Low FODMAP?

Macadamia nuts have shown to only contain trace amounts of FODMAPs in lab testing! Hooray! The bad news is that they can be very expensive. But, since this cake is a treat anyway, we say, splurge!

What Is Crystallized Ginger?

Crystallized ginger is actual peeled ginger root that has been cooked in a thick sugar syrup, then dried somewhat, and typically rolled in additional sugar. If you like ginger, you will love crystallize ginger! It adds texture and loads of flavor to this cake.

Can I Reduce The Sugar?

Sugar doesn’t only add sweetness to baked goods. It greatly affects moisture content and the texture of the finished product. We think this recipe is great as is. In general, you can try and reduce sugar in a recipe by 25%, but we cannot guarantee results.

close up of Low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake in Pan on blue background.

How To Make Tropical Carrot Cake

For the Cake: Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Coat the inside of a 13-inch by 9-inch (33 cm by 23 cm) oblong cake pan with nonstick spray; set aside.

Place about half of the flour (you can do this by eye), coconut, macadamias and ginger in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.

tropical carrot cake ingredients in food processor.

Process until the nuts are finely chopped, and look like the texture below.

macadamias properly ground in food processor.

Add the remaining flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and pulse a couple of times to combine.

all dry ingredients together in bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

sugar, eggs and oil combined in boil.

Stir in flour mixture until a few floury streaks remain.

folding dry mixture into wet batter in bowl.

Then fold in carrots and crushed pineapple until batter is well combined.

folding pineapple and carrots into cake batter in bowl.

Scrape batter into prepared pan.

tropical carrot cake batter in baking pan, raw.

Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake just comes out clean. Cool pan on rack until cake is completely cooled.

baked tropical carrot cake in pan.

For the Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer until completely smooth and creamy.

cream cheese and butter beaten together in mixing bowl.

Beat in confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, then beat in cream of coconut and vanilla. It should have a thick but smooth, spreadable consistency.

showing creamy texture of coconut cream cheese frosting in bowl with spatula.

If the frosting is too loose to spread, you could add a bit more confectioners’ sugar.

Spread frosting all over top of cake right in pan; a small offset spatula works wonders.

spreading frosting on cake with small offset spatula.

Spread the frosting edge to edge. have fun making the creamy frosting swirls.

creamy frosting spread on cake in pan.

Optional toasted coconut and macadamias can be sprinkled on top, if you like.

Overhead shot of Low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake in pan on blue background.

Cake is ready to serve. Cut into a 6 x 4 grid to create the 24 serving size squares of cake. Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container, bringing to room temperature before serving. Cake can last up to 3 days but is best fresh.

vertical image of low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake.

The nutritional information in the recipe is based upon the cake and frosting without the optional toasted coconut and macadamias on top.

Overhead horizontal image of low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake, square cut out on small white plate.

FODMAP Information

All recipes are based upon Monash University & FODMAP Friendly science at time of initial publication.

  • Carrots: Carrots have been lab tested and deemed low FODMAP by both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly. According to lab tests by both, carrots have shown no FODMAPs. Carrots were retested by Monash and their app entry is unclear. They state that carrots remain low FODMAP up to 500 g, which is a lot of carrot. But they do not give any information about what FODMAP(s) appear at that point in time. 
  • Dairy: The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet. It is, however, low in lactose. Many dairy ingredients are low in lactose, such as heavy cream and many cheeses.
  • Eggs: Eggs are high in protein and do not contain carbohydrates, according to Monash University.
  • Ginger: Monash University has lab tested fresh ginger root and has determined it to be free of FODMAPs, making it one of our go-to no FODMAP foods.
  • Macadamias: Many nuts can be enjoyed on the low FODMAP diet and macadamias are one of them. A 40 g serving, which is about 20 whole nuts, is low FODMAP. They have only shown trace amounts of FODMAPs in lab tests.
  • Oil: All pure oils are fats and contain no carbohydrates, therefore they contain no FODMAPs.
  • Pineapple: Monash and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested pineapple. Monash lab tests deem 1 cup fresh, chopped pineapple at 140 g to be Green Light low FODMAP. FODMAP Friendly give it a “Pass” at 1 cup (150 g). Monash has lab tested both syrup packed, and juice packed canned pineapple and their low FODMAP amounts are nearly identical. Canned pineapple packed in juice, drained, is low FODMAP in 90 g servings. Canned pineapple packed in syrup, drained, is low FODMAP in 84 g servings. Monash has also tested dried pineapple and they have not determined a low FODMAP amount. It is Moderate at 25 g for fructans.
  • Sugar: Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested white, granulated sugar. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of white sugar is ¼ cup (50 g). FODMAP Friendly simply states that they have tested 1 tablespoon and that it is low FODMAP. Regular granulated white sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Sucrose is broken down and absorbed efficiently in the small intestine. As the fructose is never in excess of the glucose, white sugar will never be high FODMAP, even in large amounts.

Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. Foods will be retested from time to time; in the case of raw ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables, results may vary. All lab tested results are valid and represent a snapshot in time. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.

main image of Low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting, on pan, on plate, with gold spatula.
4.5 from 4 votes

Low FODMAP Tropical Carrot Cake

If you love carrot cake, we hope you have found our classic rendition, but this one is a bit different! A tropical carrot cake with pineapple, macadamia nuts, coconut, crystallized ginger, and a coconut cream cheese frosting – and no raisins in sight! This cake is based upon a version from my book, The Birthday Cake Book, and it does make a great birthday cake, as well as bake sale, or office party cake.

Low FODMAP Serving Size: Makes one, 13-inch by 9-inch (33 cm by 23 cm) oblong cake; 24 pieces; 1 piece per serving.

Makes: 24 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Author: Dédé Wilson

Ingredients:

Tropical carrot Cake

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16- ounces (455 g) full-fat cream cheese, preferably Philadelphia brand, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g; ¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (135 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) canned sweetened cream of coconut, such as Coco Real Cream Of Coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Toasted sweetened flaked coconut, optional
  • Toasted chopped dry-roasted, unsalted macadamia nuts, optional

Preparation:

  1. For the Cake: Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Coat the inside of a 13-inch by 9-inch (33 cm by 23 cm) oblong cake pan with nonstick spray; set aside.

  2. Place about half of the flour (you can do this by eye), coconut, macadamias and ginger in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the remaining flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until a few floury streaks remain, then fold in carrots and crushed pineapple until batter is well combined.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake just comes out clean. Cool pan on rack until cake is completely cooled.
  5. For the Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer until completely smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, then beat in cream of coconut and vanilla. It should have a thick but smooth, spreadable consistency. If the frosting is too loose to spread, you could add a bit more confectioners’ sugar.

  6. Spread frosting all over top of cake right in pan; a small offset spatula works wonders. Optional toasted coconut and macadamias can be sprinkled on top, if you like. Cake is ready to serve. Cut into a 6 x 4 grid to create the 24 serving size squares of cake. Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container, bringing to room temperature before serving. Cake can last up to 3 days but is best fresh.
  7. The nutritional information in the recipe is based upon the cake and frosting without the optional toasted coconut and macadamias on top.

Notes:

FODMAP Information

All recipes are based upon Monash University & FODMAP Friendly science at time of initial publication.

Carrots: Carrots have been lab tested and deemed low FODMAP by both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly. According to lab tests by both, carrots have shown no FODMAPs. Carrots were retested by Monash and their app entry is unclear. They state that carrots remain low FODMAP up to 500 g, which is a lot of carrot. But they do not give any information about what FODMAP(s) appear at that point in time.
Dairy: The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet. It is, however, low in lactose. Many dairy ingredients are low in lactose, such as heavy cream and many cheeses.
Eggs: Eggs are high in protein and do not contain carbohydrates, according to Monash University.
Ginger: Monash University has lab tested fresh ginger root and has determined it to be free of FODMAPs, making it one of our go-to no FODMAP foods.
Macadamias: Many nuts can be enjoyed on the low FODMAP diet and macadamias are one of them. A 40 g serving, which is about 20 whole nuts, is low FODMAP. They have only shown trace amounts of FODMAPs in lab tests.
Oil: All pure oils are fats and contain no carbohydrates, therefore they contain no FODMAPs.
Pineapple: Monash and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested pineapple. Monash lab tests deem 1 cup fresh, chopped pineapple at 140 g to be Green Light low FODMAP. FODMAP Friendly give it a “Pass” at 1 cup (150 g). Monash has lab tested both syrup packed, and juice packed canned pineapple and their low FODMAP amounts are nearly identical. Canned pineapple packed in juice, drained, is low FODMAP in 90 g servings. Canned pineapple packed in syrup, drained, is low FODMAP in 84 g servings. Monash has also tested dried pineapple and they have not determined a low FODMAP amount. It is Moderate at 25 g for fructans.
Sugar: Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested white, granulated sugar. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of white sugar is ¼ cup (50 g). FODMAP Friendly simply states that they have tested 1 tablespoon and that it is low FODMAP. Regular granulated white sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Sucrose is broken down and absorbed efficiently in the small intestine. As the fructose is never in excess of the glucose, white sugar will never be high FODMAP, even in large amounts.

Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. Foods will be retested from time to time; in the case of raw ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables, results may vary. All lab tested results are valid and represent a snapshot in time. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 452kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.2mg

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.