Wait until you try this incredible gluten free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! If you love carrot cake, this delicious gluten free carrot cake recipe is for you. It truly is the best moist carrot cake recipe!
I am excited to share this recipe with you. This is the birthday cake I make for Mr. Fearless Dining every year for his birthday.
He is my cake tester, and if he says this is the perfect carrot cake, I believe him! Carrot cake is his thing and I love the family tradition this cake has become. If you are looking for a new favorite recipe to make for celebrations, give this easy recipe a try.
If you prefer a white cake for a birthday party, try this classic gluten free vanilla cake. If you prefer chocolate cake, this delicious gluten free chocolate raspberry layer cake is pretty incredible! made!
Try it for any special occasion like a birthday, a wedding, or any time you need a tried and true dessert recipe! If you love cake as much as we do, you will want to see all of the yummy gluten free cakes on my blog :-).
Why This Carrot Cake Is Great:
- You can make this delicious gluten free carrot cake without pineapple recipe as is, or include the healthy swaps I list below to make it healthier.
- The cake batter is so versatile! Not only does this make a tasty layer cake, but you can also use the gluten free carrot cake batter to make cupcakes, a log roll cake, or a sheet cake.
- This cake freezes beautifully if you need to make it ahead for your convenience. It will still get those rave reviews when it is thawed and topped with cream cheese frosting!
- One thing that is a little misleading is the size of the cake pictured. Believe it or not, this gluten free layer cake is small. I used these tiny layer cake pans to make this cake. This cake can feed 6-8 people, depending on how much they love the cake.
You might also enjoy making this tasty Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake!
- Gluten free flour blend - I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Authentic Foods Multi Blend. That doesn't mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
- If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, you will need one of these.
- Almond flour - you could use almond meal, but the texture of your cake will be a little gritty.
- Coconut oil - I used this to keep the cake base dairy-free. You can substitute butter or another vegetable oil if you prefer.
- Non-dairy milk - you can use any but I do not recommend canned coconut milk.
- Eggs - Use size large room-temperature eggs.
One reason this cake stayed moist is that it has almond flour in the recipe. Almond flour holds in moisture in gluten free baking. If you are allergic to nuts, you can skip adding almond flour and just substitute ⅓ cup more gluten free flour blend.
If you are new to cake baking, here is a good write-up of my favorite Kitchen Tools For Baking Cakes. I also have lots of Gluten Free Baking Tips to take your cake to the next level.
You can control how healthy this cake is by the ingredients you choose to use. Here are some suggestions:
- Use coconut sugar instead of the brown sugar.
- Instead of a full layer cake, you can reduce the sugar greatly by making this a sheet cake and then just dusting a light sprinkle of powdered sugar on top.
- Swap half of the oil for applesauce.
- Add ¼ cup of flaxseed meal.
- Try some fun mix-ins like caramel chips, white chocolate chips, or pistachios.
You might also enjoy making this tasty Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake!
Recipe step by step instructions:
Step 1: In a large
Step 2: In a separate medium bowl, add the grated carrots and the rest of your wet ingredients. Whisk to mix them together.
Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and add raisins and nuts. You can use different kinds of nuts including walnuts, pecans, or almonds in this gluten free carrot cake.
HINT: Don't overmix the cake batter. If you want your carrot cake to be fluffy, you need to mix the ingredients until they are just barely mixed. Overmixing destroys the air bubbles you get when you mix the ingredients together. This is why I do NOT recommend using a standing mixer to make the cake batter.
How to shred carrots for cake:
There are two easy ways that you can shred carrots. One is to use a grater. (Just be careful of your fingers!) I like to use a food processor because it is a lot faster and easier to shred the carrots.
Step 4: Pour your batter into greased round cake pans. I use spray coconut oil to grease my pans, but you can prepare the cake pans how you like. Bake at 350º F for 30-40 minutes. The baking time will depend on what type of cake pan you use.
To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the donut. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the donuts need to bake longer.
Step 5: When the cakes are finished baking, gently tip the baked cake layers onto a wire cooling rack so the cakes can cool off.
Step 6: While the cake is cooling, let's make the frosting. You can use the cream cheese frosting recipe that I provide, or try this gluten free frosting recipe for vanilla buttercream.
Add the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and milk if needed for thinning to the bowl of a standing mixer. You can also use an electric hand mixer. If you have one, use the whisk attachment. If not the paddle attachment is okay to use as well.
Start the mixer on low speed and slowly increase the speed. If you start with too high of a speed, powdered sugar will fly everywhere! Whip the frosting ingredients until they are creamy.
TIP: Make sure the baked layers are completely cooled before you add frosting and assemble the gluten free carrot cake. If the cake is at all warm, it will melt the cream cheese frosting, making your layers slide around and possibly tip over!
Step 7: To frost the cake, add a small dollop of frosting to the cake stand and put down the first layer of cake. Frost the top of the cake and add the second layer.
You can frost the sides the traditional way, or leave them as a naked cake as I did. I topped my cake with shredded coconut, but you can also fill a frosting bag with the frosting and pipe some flowers or rosettes on top of the cake.
Expert tips and recipe FAQ:
You can easily make this gluten free carrot cake dairy-free too. Just use a dairy-free butter substitute and dairy-free cream cheese, like Kite Hill or Daiya brands, for the frosting. The carrot cake itself is dairy-free since I use coconut oil instead of butter.
If your carrot cake has fallen in the middle, this is usually because you over-mixed the batter. Always mix the batter until it is "just mixed".
I get asked this question a lot. The truth is it depends. Is this cake healthier than most? Maybe. I add almond flour for a bit of protein to balance out the sugars. I also use coconut oil instead of butter.
This cake will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
To freeze the cake, it is best to freeze it without the frosting. Wrap a cooled cake layer in plastic wrap, then slide it into a large zipper bag.
This post was updated from an older Sept 2019 post with better directions and tips.
More Cake Recipes:
- Gluten Free Lemon Layer Cake
- Gluten Free Devil's Food Cake
- Creamy Gluten Free Apple Cake
- Gluten Free Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
Gluten Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend * see note
- 1 ½ cups shredded carrot
- 1 teaspoon baking powder aluminum free
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup almond flour * see note
- 3 eggs large
- 6 ounces coconut oil melted or another light oil
- 6 ounces almond milk * see note
- ⅓ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup walnuts chopped
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut optional
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Spray the cake pans with coconut oil to prevent sticking.
- Washed and peel the carrots. Use a grater to grate the carrots into fine shreds.
- Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to blend.
- Add wet ingredients and shredded carrots to a medium bowl and mix well. Add raisins and nuts, mix.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. Don't overmix the batter.
- Important: Don't overmix the cake batter. If you want your carrot cake to be fluffy, you need to mix the ingredients until they are just barely mixed. Overmixing destroys the air bubbles you get when you mix the ingredients together. This is why I do NOT recommend using a standing mixer to make the cake batter.
- Bake at 350º F for 30-40 minutes. The baking time will depend on what type of cake pan you use.
- When the cake layers are finished. Let them cool on a cooling rack. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the donut. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the donuts need to bake longer.
- Add the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and milk if needed for thinning to the bowl of a standing mixer. You can also use an electric hand mixer. If you have one, use the whisk attachment. If not the paddle attachment is okay to use as well. Start the mixer on low speed and slowly increase the speed. If you start with too high of a speed, powdered sugar will fly everywhere! Whip the frosting ingredients until they are creamy.
- When the cake is cooled. Add a layer to a plate and add a little frosting on top of that layer. Top with the next layer and repeat until you get to the last layer. Add frosting to the top and then sprinkle with unsweetened coconut. (Feel free to frost the sides if you would like!)
- I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Authentic Foods Multi Blend. That doesn't mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
- If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
- To make this recipe dairy-free, you only have to make substitutions for the frosting since the cake itself is already dairy-free. For the butter, use vegan butter and use dairy-free cream cheese for the frosting, or make a vegan buttercream.
- I highly suggest using almond flour and not almond meal. Almond meal is more coarse and will make your cake grainy.
- I used almond milk, but other milk types should be okay.
- To make this recipe nut-free, omit the almond flour and substitute an additional ⅓ cup gluten free flour blend.
- To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the donut. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the donuts need to bake longer.
- This cake will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn't test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.
Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.
If you love the recipes you find on my blog, I would love for you to sign up for my newsletter (and get my free gluten free lemon dessert e-cookbook!)
(*Note, this post was updated with new photos and added recipe tips from an older post I wrote in 8/2017.)
I wanted to make this cake for my sister’s birthday, so I cut the recipe in half just to try it. It’s the best carrot cake ever! I omitted the raisins because I don’t love them in my cakes, but added walnuts to the cake and the frosting!
I am so glad you loved the cake for your sister's birthday. I make this cake for my husband every year for his birthday, it really doesn't taste gluten free.
I can never get enough of carrot cake, especially when paired with cream cheese frosting!
Carrot cake is one of our favorites too!
Finally found a gluten free carrot cake that everyone enjoyed!! Delicious, thank you!
Thank you Noelle 🙂 I hope you all love it too!
Say no more, I am convinced. I love the idea of the almond flour. I will give it a try
I hope you like it as much as our family did :-).
Calleigh - TheForkBite
Oh, my husband's favorite carrot cake. I bookmarked this for reference, gonna try this recipe for him this weekend.
Awesome. I hope you all love it as much as we did 🙂
Mary // Chattavore
That carrot cake looks absolutely wonderful!
Thank you so much Mary 🙂
What a pretty cake! You are such a good gluten free baker.
That is so sweet Ginny. Thank you :-).