These raw carrot cake bites taste just like a carrot cake – slightly sweet, cinnamon-y, moist, and tender. Compared to a layered carrot cake, carrot cake bites are much faster to prepare though. The recipe is vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, and refined sugar-free.
You’ve probably heard of energy balls, protein balls, bliss balls, power bites, etc. They’re all pretty much the same thing – bite-size treats made from energy-boosting ingredients. They are typically raw, almost always no-bake, and come in endless combinations. You will most often find them shaped into balls, but energy bars and energy squares are vey popular as well.
A slightly newer, but no less popular, are cake bites.
As the title suggests, cake bites are essentially a spin off of raw cakes. Any raw cake can be turned into cake bites. I have done it with these raw carrot cake bites, but brownie bites, banana bread bites, pumpkin pie bites, lemon poppy seed bites, or even triple chocolate bites are all a thing.
Tips for Making Carrot Cake Bites
These carrot cake bites are essentially a raw carrot cake in a bite-size form. The ingredients are nearly identical:
- Carrots: since this recipe is raw, the flavor of carrots is quite prominent and their natural sweetness really shines through. So, my most important tip is to freshly grate whole carrots at home. Do not use packaged pre-shredded carrots because they are hard and dry.
- Dates: to naturally sweeten the carrot cake bites and bind all the ingredients together, I used dates. Medjool dates work the best here because they are soft and juicy. They have also caramel undertones, which pair so well with the carrots. Yes, carrot caramel is actually a thing.
- Pecans: I go back and forth between pecans and walnuts. Both pecans and walnuts have a wonderful rich, nutty flavor, but pecans are sweet while walnuts have a bitterness to them. What makes these nuts perfect for this recipe is also their soft, almost buttery texture. If you’re looking for a nut-free substitute, sunflower seeds would work the best.
- Coconut: desiccated coconut adds a slightly sweet flavor and a chewy texture .If coconut isn’t for you, leave it out or replace it with chopped nuts or raisins.
- Spices: in my opinion, carrot cake bites are only good if they’re spiced. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger are all warming and aromatic spices that are frequently used in carrot cakes, pumpkin pies, fall (Starbucks) lattes, etc. Make sure the spices are fresh because spices are what you’ll taste the most in these cake bites. For the most flavor, you can grind the spics yourself.
How to Make Carrot Cake Bites
Even though this recipe requires a few steps, it is quick and easy nonetheless.
- Grate the carrots. You can either use a food processor or a grater. I prefer the grater (using the finest holes) because it makes the carrot pieces finer. The finer the carrots, the more evenly distributed they will be. Squeeze out any excess juice from the carrots. If the carrots are wet, they will make the carrot cake bites too dense.
- Process the pecans. Add the pecans into a food processor and pulse them a few times until coarsely ground. Out of all the ingredients, walnuts take the longest to break down, so they need to go into the food processor first.
- Process the rest of the ingredients. Add the dates, coconut, and spices into the food processor with the walnuts and pulse until the ingredients begin to stick together. The mixture should be tender and slightly crumbly at first, but it should be sticky enough to hold together when you press it between your fingers. Be careful not to over-process the mixture. Both walnuts and coconut turn into nut-/coconut-butter if processed for too long.
- Roll the mixture into balls. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop out about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a 1-inch/2.5-cm ball. Place on a serving platter. Repeat until all the mixture is used up. Roll the balls in extra coconut, if desired.
- Chill. Transfer the carrot cake bites into the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to firm up . I highly recommend waiting for at least 20 minutes to give the flavors a chance to meld and develop and the texture to become firmer and chewier.
Carrot Cake Bites Variations
Raw cake bites are one of those recipes that are very customizable. To introduce some variety into the carrot cake bites, you can fold in some raisins, swap some of the walnuts for rolled oats, or drizzle the balls with coconut butter (instead of rolling them in shredded coconut). Just make sure that you maintain the ratios in the original recipe and chop any mix-ins to a small size so that the balls still hold together.
You can also turn the bites into carrot cake bars by pressing the mixture into 8 × 8-inch/20 x 20-cm baking pan and then cutting it into bars.
How to Store Carrot Cake Bites
- Refrigerate: transfer the carrot cake bites into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
- Freeze: transfer the carrot cake bites into an airtight container, separating each layer with parchment paper, so the balls don’t stick together, and freeze for up to 1 month.
More Raw Energy Balls Recipes
If you like bite-size snacks, you might enjoy other energy balls recipes.
- Almond butter energy bites: sweet, nutty, and chocolaty – these energy bites are a classic.
If you try any of these recipes, please, leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.
Carrot Cake Bites
- Process the pecans. Add the pecans into a food processor fitted with an S blade and pulse until the pecans are coarsely ground. Be careful not to over-process the pecans.
- Process the rest of the ingredients. Add the dates, coconut, coconut flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and spices into the food processor with the pecans and pulse until the ingredients begin to stick together. The mixture should be tender and slightly crumbly at first, but it should be sticky enough to hold together when you press it between your fingers.
- Fold in the carrots. Finally, add the carrots and pulse a few more times until the carrots are just incorporated. Be careful not over-process the mixture. It should be tender and slightly crumbly.
- Roll the mixture into balls. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and roll it into a ball (~ 1½-inch/3.8-cm in diameter). Repeat until all the mixture is used up. Roll the balls in extra desiccated coconut, if desired.
- Chill. Transfer the carrot cake bites into the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to firm up.
- Store. Leftover carrot cake bites keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.