Joyous Blog

My Famous Raw Carrot Cake Balls Recipe

Apr 10, 2014 BY Joy McCarthy

Dear Carrot Cake lovers,

Pretty much everywhere I go these days to teach a workshop or do a book signing I sample my carrot cake balls (a recipe from my book) and always sneak a few for myself of course. In fact, I'm doing a book signing tonight! If you've been the recipient of a ball or two, I hope you loved them. I sample this recipe at talks and book signings because it's the perfect introduction to the delicious, healthy recipes in my book, it's gluten-free, dairy-free, raw and can even be vegan if you swap out the honey for maple syrup.

You can have your cake and eat it too! If it's joyous-approved of course ;) 

I created this recipe at least five or more years ago as I've been a lover of carrot cake for as long as I can remember. Since this is a cherished recipe in my book, I decided to create a video of it to share it with the world. I realize my book is not available on every corner of the earth (it's out in the U.S. market May 6th), so I hope you enjoy this recipe. Many people have been making these balls and sharing the photos via instagram or twitter with hashtag #joyoushealth. So please share your photo with me! I love to see what you've created.

Here's the recipe video and a printable version is below as well.

I've made these balls on the Steven & Chris show too. I tend to modify them to what I have on hand so you'll notice many times I've modified the recipe based on what was in my kitchen. I love to add vegan protein powder to kick up the protein. The key to making this recipe taste like carrot cake are the high quality spices. Be sure to buy certified organic when you can for the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

A little tip for you when rolling the balls. They can be sticky, so either wet your hands a little or rub some coconut oil on them and they will be much easier to roll.

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup any nut you have on hand, my original recipe has walnuts but I often use almonds
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots (only pre-grate if you have to, some food processors will do the work for you!)
  • 1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds (aka hemp hearts) or plant-based protein powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (only required if your protein powder doesn't contain vanilla)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  1. Reserve 1/4 cup (60 mL) shredded coconut in a shallow dish for rolling.
  2. Place remaining ingredients in a high-powered food processor (you won't have to pre-shred the carrots if you have a high power processor) and process until fully combined.
  3. Form mixture into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls and roll in reserved shredded coconut, coating balls completely. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Keep chilled, or freeze in an airtight container for a few months (though I guarantee they won’t last that long).
  5. Enjoy 1 or 2 as a snack or dessert.


Many people have told me they don't have a food processor. Yes, you could do these in a blender just keep in mind like any raw cookie with nuts and dates the ingredients tend to get stuck around the blade which I why I prefer a processor.. makes things a little easier!

Joyous thanks to my publisher Penguin Canada and Genuine Health for making this video possible!

The photo above is me sharing on instagram of course... I love sharing my love of healthy delicious food with everyone. Do be sure to share your photos and hashtag #JoyousHealth when you make these delicious little balls of goodness.

Have a joyous day!


ps. Another little tip... take off any rings when rolling these balls to avoid getting carrot cake in your jewels. :)

Apr 10, 2014 BY Joy McCarthy
Robin   •   April 15, 2014

These make carrots, walnuts and hemp seeds into a treat! They are quite sweet, so the honey could be reduced, omitted or replaced with a little maple syrup.


Lynn McCallum   •   April 27, 2014

LOVE the recipes


Caitlin   •   May 14, 2014

OMG these are AMAZING!! Not that I predict they will last long, but how long are they good to store in the fridge for (if you don't choose to freeze them)?


Linda   •   May 17, 2014

Delicious, very rich. I should have halved the sweetener (used agave), plus added a little cardamom. Accidentally put it a little more coconut than I was supposed to use. The nut was almonds with hemp protein powder. I doubled the recipe and got about 35.


Erin   •   June 10, 2014

Going to try making these tonight! I just bought the ingredients. I was thinking you could probably alter this recipe and make "Pumpkin Pie Balls" by replacing the carrot with pumpkin puree.

Kate McDonald-Walker   •   June 10, 2014

Hi Erin, That sound like it could be delicious! I'll pass that idea along to the rest of the JH team. If you try it, let us know how it turns out! Kate - Joyous Health Team

mitz castino   •   June 14, 2014

what are the health benefits in this recipe?

Kate McDonald-Walker   •   June 14, 2014

Hi Mitz, I think the main reason behind this recipe was to provide a way to satisfy your sweet tooth without having to resort to refined sugar, but other benefits include - dates and coconuts are high in fiber, and great for helping to regulate blood sugar and keeping everything moving along in your digestive tract - hemp and walnuts are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats (the good fats) - carrots have tons of antioxidant carotenoids - honey has natural antibacterial properties Kate - Joyous Health Team

Heather Mulholland   •   July 23, 2014

I'm not a big fan of the carrot flavour, but I've been trying to find ways of sneaking them into my diet. I may just have to try this one out. Thanks!


Irina   •   August 20, 2014

Should I soak the nuts first? Thank you!

Kate McDonald-Walker   •   August 20, 2014

Hi Irina, No need to soak the nuts for this recipe. Kate - Joyous Health Team

Ann   •   September 15, 2014

Joy I tried this recipe and it's amazing! They just melt in my mouth and I definetly couldn't stop at just one!! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!!!


Tina   •   October 17, 2014

Hello, What can I use in place of the dates?

Joy McCarthy   •   October 18, 2014

Figs would be a good binder as well. If you are not a date fan, you actually don't taste the dates much in this recipe because of the carrot cake spices.

Quyen   •   January 25, 2018

For me, raisin is the best replacement. I have replaced raisins in all raw vegan recipes and they turn out really delicious.

Tylar   •   October 23, 2014

These look great! Is there anyway to make them nut-free?

Kate McDonald Walker   •   October 24, 2014

Hi Tylar, You could try using sunflower seeds in place of the nuts, or you could check out this chocolately (and already nut-free) take on Joy's snack balls here: Kate - Joyous Health Team

Ashley M   •   December 18, 2014

Hi, Do you mean you use either 1/4 cup hemp seeds or 1/4 cup plant-based protein powder? Wasn't sure if you meant hemp seed-based protein powder as opposed to the actual seeds. Thanks!

Kate McDonald Walker   •   December 19, 2014

Hi Ashley, Exactly. It's 1/4 of either hemp seeds *or* the plant-based protein powder of your choice. Kate - Joyous Health Team

Steph   •   December 19, 2014

Hi im going to be trying this recipie thus afternoon what is the calorie content of these please? Thanks xxx

Joy McCarthy   •   December 20, 2014

Hi Steph, My philosophy is one of throwing calorie counting and the need to associate a # to food out the window. Focus on eating whole, clean foods and you don't have to worry about calorie counting.

Louise   •   January 1, 2015

I just made them and the they are in the fridge chilling. They were so sticky and gooey that I wondered if I did something wrong. They were very hard to roll and handle. Should that be the case? And does the recipe double or triple well? I don't think they will last long around here.

Joy McCarthy   •   January 1, 2015

They should solidify when you refrigerate them. You can get a different consistency every time you make them because it depends on how juicy/soft your medjol dates are. You can always add some more coconut flakes or even a scoop of plant-based protein powder to make them more dense. Either way, they get more solid when chilled. And yes, you can definitely double or triple the recipe really easily. Enjoy Louise!

Megan   •   January 7, 2015

i would like to make these but can't have cocunut- can you reccomend a substitute ? Thank you.

Joy McCarthy   •   January 8, 2015

Yes you could roll them in hemp seeds and also add vanilla protein powder in place of the coconut flakes in the actual ball to give it more texture. Or some more nuts. I would suggest tweaking the recipe and then before rolling them all give a little taste test. The beauty of this recipe is you can make it exactly how you want it!

Meme   •   January 9, 2015

I can't find hemp seeds. What would work as a substitute? I was thinking possibly chia seeds or flax seeds?

Joy McCarthy   •   January 10, 2015

Flax would work very well. Or simply add more nuts.

Sandy   •   February 16, 2015

Hi, I have added freshly grated coconut and added toasted Flax seeds. Flax seeds distinct flavour - so I avoided adding vanilla essence. With these changes, the outcome was still AMAZING! Thanks a ton for this recipe. We can make so many changes and try different things everytime!


Dawn   •   April 19, 2015

My husband is eating these in lieu of Gu for his training runs!


Grainless Girl   •   May 5, 2015

I can't wait to try these!


kkwls   •   September 22, 2015

I tried these out yesterday and I followed the receipt exactly as posted. The consistency was nowhere near as dense as I was expecting to be. I left them in the freezer from 3pm last night till 7am this morning. I packed two in my lunch for work, and by the time I had come to work at 8:30am, they were no longer balls, they were squished patties! Do you think if I added about 1/2 to 1 cup rolled oats to my next batch it would be better? They taste amazing, although extremely sweet, I will not add honey next time


Kristin   •   December 30, 2015

My first attempt at making these! (they're currently in the fridge). I found that the coconut wasn't adhering that well to the balls. Has anyone else had this problem? Think next time I'll try coconut flakes to roll them in. Otherwise so far it's seemed fairly straightforward - also mine didn't look quite as carroty - but it's a learning process, I'm sure they'll be super tasty.


Nor Cali Girl   •   January 15, 2016

Aloha, I was wondering if you could tweek these to be AIP Paleo (no dairy, grains, soy, nuts, seeds (including chocolate), nightshades, etc.

Kate McDonald Walker   •   January 18, 2016

Hi Nor Cali Girl, That might be a bit tricky for this recipe, but I'll pass your request along to Joy. Kate - Joyous Health Team

Patt   •   June 21, 2016

Just did it! Delicious! I added 1 tsp of ground ginger. Thanks!

Heather Allen   •   June 21, 2016

Yay! So glad you enjoyed, Patt! Heather- Joyous Health Team

Asma   •   August 9, 2016

Will these taste good if I make a batch a freeze some. Later drefreeze and eat?

Heather Allen   •   August 10, 2016

Absolutely, Asma! That's the best way to store them to keep them away from "snack-happy" hands :) Heather- Joyous Health Team

Marion   •   March 3, 2017

Les boulles aux carottes


dawn   •   March 15, 2017

hi joy do you soak nuts, seeds, and grains before using them?

Joy McCarthy   •   March 16, 2017

Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. It really depends on what I'm using it for, how much time I have and what kind of nut or seed it is. 100% of the time I soak beans and legumes before cooking or sprouting, but I don't always do this with nuts and seeds.

Marg   •   January 24, 2018

Delicious!! :)

Rachel Molenda   •   January 25, 2018

Thanks so much Marg! Hope you enjoyed them :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Sue L.   •   May 20, 2018

so wanna try this today ! so instead of hemp seeds I get protein powder? im going to buy the genuine health, fomented vanilla vegan powder. I hope this is the one that has no pea protein. as I can't have peas. tnx


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