Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Recipe

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake and slices on plates

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Chill: 30 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 (2-layer) cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
843 Calories
51g Fat
92g Carbs
7g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 843
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 51g 66%
Saturated Fat 20g 99%
Cholesterol 141mg 47%
Sodium 439mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 92g 33%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 66g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 125mg 10%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 292mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Of all a carrot cake's shining elements, like grated carrots with their sweet bite, flour is one of the least important ingredients. So it stands to reason that making a gluten-free carrot cake that's as moist, creamy, and delectable as the original would be a breeze—and luckily, it is!

This gluten-free carrot cake is easy to make in just one bowl and is topped with a classic cream cheese frosting. The trick is to use a cup-for-cup gluten-free baking flour and to pile on other tastes and textures that make carrot cake such an awesome dessert.

One-to-one gluten-free flours bake up just as moist and fluffy as wheat flour. The taste should be similar to the wheat version with the help of plenty of spices, decadent brown sugar, and a hint of tangy buttermilk. Anyone you feed this cake will love it just as much as the wheat flour version.

Serve gluten-free carrot cake for Easter, birthdays, or any gathering where you want to delight a gluten-free eater. This recipe is made in two 9-inch cake pans so it has the standard double layer look, but this recipe works beautifully as casual cupcakes or a sheet cake, too.

"The carrot cake was perfect and had just the right amount of warm spice flavor. I am a fan of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, and this gluten-free one is every bit as moist and delicious as one using all-purpose flour. 3 grated carrots made 3 cups. I added walnuts and no raisins." — Diana Rattray

gluten free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • Cooking spray

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or avocado

  • 1/3 cup buttermilk

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided

  • 2 1/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 cups grated carrots, from about three medium carrots, patted dry

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped raisins, optional

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

  • 1 cup (8-ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, more as needed

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Gluten-Free Carrot Cake ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Position a rack in the lower portion of the oven and heat to 350 F. Generously spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper.

    Cake pans greased and lined with parchment paper

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Combine the eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Alternatively, whisk by hand or use and electric hand mixer.

    Eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a bowl with a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Add the oil, buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix on low until well combined, scraping down the bowl occasionally.

    Oil, buttermilk, and vanilla added to the egg mixture in the bowl with a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and salt. Beat on low until ingredients are just combined, about 20 seconds.

    Cake batter in a bowl with a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Fold in the carrots with a rubber spatula until well combined. Fold in the walnuts and/or raisins, if using, until well combined.

    Cake batter with carrots, walnuts and raisins in a bowl with a spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared pans.

    Cake batter in cake pans

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a crumb or two attached. The tops will be golden brown, the edges will pull away from the sides of the pan, and the cakes will spring back when you touch them, about 30 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

    Baked cakes in cake pans

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. To make the cream cheese frosting, whip the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until creamy and light, about 2 minutes.

    Cream cheese and butter mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  10. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat to incorporate. Add the confectioners' sugar one cup at a time, beating after each addition.

    Cream cheese frosting in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  11. If the frosting feels thin, add more confectioners' sugar one tablespoon at a time until reaching desired consistency.

    Cream cheese frosting in a bowl, next to a spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  12. Chill the cakes in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before frosting and serving.

    Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack


  • If your cake isn't as moist as you'd like, next time you bake add 1/4 cup applesauce to the batter or decrease the flour by two tablespoons.

Recipe Variations

  • Swap pecans for walnuts, and craisins for raisins.
  • Make this cake dairy-free by substituting vegan plain yogurt for the buttermilk, and use a vegan cream cheese frosting.
  • For a sheet cake, bake in greased 9x13 pan for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.
  • For cupcakes, grease cupcake tins then fill each about 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • The frosting recipe makes approximately 5 cups, enough for a 3-layer cake. Make a 3 layer cake in 3 prepared 8-inch or 9-inch pans. The layers will be thinner, so begin checking for doneness after 22 to 24 minutes.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • According to the FDA, cream cheese frosting must be refrigerated within 2 hours. Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving to take the chill off.
  • To freeze the cake, do not frost. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator until ready to frost.
  • Cakes can be made one day in advance and, once cooled, kept covered at room temperature. Alternatively, once the cakes are cool, wrap and refrigerate for up to three days before frosting.
  • If you have leftover frosting, transfer it to a small freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, label the bag with the name and date and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Defrost frosting in the refrigerator—use it on cupcakes or thin it with some milk or water and drizzle it over a Bundt cake or quick bread.

Why Is My Gluten-Free Cake Rubbery?

If your cake is rubbery, it may be the brand of all-purpose gluten-free flour you used. Gluten-free cakes need xanthan gum to mimic the texture of wheat-based cakes, so look for a blend that contains xanthan gum. Bob's 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour is a reliable brand.

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