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. 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 :-).
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. Carrot cake is his thing and I love the family tradition this cake has become.
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!
Why this carrot cake is great:
Besides all of the wonderful family traditions around this cake, I love the healthy simplicity. Check out the recipe swaps below because you can adjust how healthy this cake recipe can be!
Not only does this make a tasty cake, but you can also use the gluten free carrot cake batter to make gluten free carrot muffins, carrot cake cupcakes, or a sheet cake. You can even get creative with your mix-ins :-).
- Gluten free flour blend - I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF, Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend, 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 if you are not dairy-free.
- Non-dairy milk - you can use any but I do not recommend canned coconut milk.
*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.
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.
Recipe step by step instructions:
Step 1: In a large bowl, add your dry ingredients. Whisk to blend.
Step 2: Add your wet ingredients and carrots in a bowl and whisk to blend.
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.
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: Mix all of the ingredients together until they are just barely mixed. If you over mix your cake batter your cake will be dense. For this reason I do not recommend using a standing mixer.
Step 5: Pour your batter into greased cake pans. I use spray coconut oil to grease my pans. 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 6: When the cakes are finished baking, gently tip the baked cake layers onto a cooling rack so the cakes can cool off.
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 cake.
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!
Whip up your cream cheese frosting. I topped this gluten free birthday cake with coconut too, but feel free to skip the coconut if you don't want it.
Expert tips and recipe FAQ:
Don't overmix the cake batter. The cake will be lighter if you just mix it enough to blend the ingredients!
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.
These cake will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
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
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup almond flour * see note
- 3 eggs
- 6 ounces coconut oil melted
- 6 ounces almond milk
- ⅓ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup walnuts
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the frosting ingredients to a mixer (except the coconut) and mix until thick and 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, Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend, 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.
- 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.
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(*Note, this post was updated with new photos and added recipe tips from an older post I wrote in 8/2017.)