Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Recipe

Vegan Carrot Cake

The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Chill: 30 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 (2-layer) cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
843 Calories
49g Fat
97g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 843
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 49g 63%
Saturated Fat 20g 99%
Cholesterol 141mg 47%
Sodium 562mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 97g 35%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 70g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 127mg 10%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 296mg 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.

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons neutral oil like grapeseed or avocado

  • 1/3 cup buttermilk

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla, divided

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

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 cups carrots, shredded and patted dry (about three medium)

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

  • 1/2 cup raisins, optional

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans or line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper.

  2. Combine the eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add the oil, buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix on low until fully combined.

  4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Beat on low until ingredients are just combined, about 10 seconds.

  5. Fold in the carrots with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. If using walnuts and/or raisins, fold them in once carrots are mostly integrated.

  6. Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake on the bottom rack until just done, about 30 minutes.

  7. Let the cakes cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack and chilling in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

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

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

  10. If the frosting feels thin, add powdered sugar one additional tablespoon at a time, up to a half-cup (4 cups total).

  11. Once the cakes are completely cool, use the frosting the decorate and serve.

How to Store and Freeze

  • This cake needs to be stored in the fridge because cream cheese frosting will soften too much at room temperature. Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for several days.
  • To freeze the cake unfrosted, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator until ready to frost.
  • Cakes can be made and kept one day ahead at room temperature before frosting, or for several days in the fridge before frosting.

Tips

  • Be sure to use a one-to-one gluten-free all-purpose flour mix that includes xanthan gum. We recommend Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour.
  • To bake this cake as a sheet cake, bake in a 9x13 pan for 35 to 40 minutes.
  • To make these into cupcakes, bake in cupcake molds for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • If your cake isn't as moist as you'd like, add 1/4 cup applesauce to the batter or decrease the flour by two tablespoons.


Recipe Variations

  • If you want a different nut than walnuts, try an equal amount of chopped pecans.
  • Make this cake dairy free by substituting the buttermilk for a vegan plain yogurt and using a vegan cream cheese frosting.



Why Is My Gluten-Free Cake Rubbery?

If your cake is rubbery, that's probably because of the 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 has xanthan gum already mixed in. We have found that Bob's 1:1 Baking Flour bakes up less rubbery than other brands.

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