This Gluten Free Carrot Cake is the same classic cake you remember, just without gluten and dairy. It’s loaded with carrots, coconut, walnuts, and pineapple and it’s packed with flavor.
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Carrot Cake has always been one of my favorite cakes and this gluten free carrot cake is no exception. This recipe is one that my family has been making for years, i.e. my whole life.
The original recipe was from The Silver Palate Cookbook and it’s one of those loaded carrot cakes – you know the ones with puréed carrots, pineapple, nuts, AND coconut.
It’s out of this world amazing. All that sweetness, texture, and yum all in one little cake. And when I say little, I don’t really mean it because it’s NOT a little cake like I usually make.
This is a gorgeous 3 layer cake that can easily feed a large Easter crowd and nobody will miss the gluten.
Carrot Cake Ingredients
- Gluten Free Baking Flour that contains xanthan gum – I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour for this recipe.
- Granulated Sugar
- Fine Sea Salt
- Baking Soda
- Ground Cinnamon
- Chopped Walnuts (omit for nut free)
- Oil – Canola Oil or avocado oil
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- Puréed Carrots
- Shredded Coconut
- Crushed Pineapple
- Cream Cheese Frosting – I make 1 1/2 batches of this Cream Cheese Frosting recipe
Equipment Needed to Make Homemade Carrot Cake
- 9-Inch Cake Pans – this recipe calls for 3
- Basic Baking Tools – mixing bowls, measuring cups, measuring spoons, mixing spoons, whisk, spatula, etc.
- Blender or Immersion Blender to purée the carrots
- Wire Cooling Rack
Dairy Free Carrot Cake
The carrot cake recipe, as written, is already dairy free.
To make a vegan and dairy free cream cheese frosting, follow my cream cheese frosting recipe but use dairy free cream cheese in place of regular cream cheese. Use 1/4 cup Nutiva Shortening + 1/4 cup vegan butter in place of the regular butter.
I prefer Nutiva shortening over Crisco in terms of taste and texture, especially in recipes like frostings. The combination of shortening and vegan butter also works better than vegan butter alone.
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes
This gluten free carrot cake can be made into Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes. The full cake recipe makes a lot of cupcakes so I halved the recipe, which makes 20 cupcakes.
How to Make Carrot Cake
Step 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 9-inch cake pans with non-stick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Step 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix in the walnuts to coat them with the flour and set the bowl aside.
Step 3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the oil, vanilla, and pureed carrots and mix until well combined.
Step 4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix until there isn’t any dry flour. Fold in the coconut and crushed pineapple. Pour the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans.
Step 5. Bake on the center rack for 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes in the pans before inverting onto wire racks to cool. Cool completely before frosting.
Step 6. Frost the cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Keep leftovers wrapped tightly in the refrigerator.
Tips for Making Gluten Free Carrot Cake
- Measure the flour correctly. Too much flour will make your cake heavy and dense. Get my free guide to measuring flour here.
- If you use a flour blend that doesn’t contain xanthan gum, add 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour. So 1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon.
- Xanthan gum can react negatively with pineapple. Using too much xanthan gum with pineapple can result in a rubbery texture.
- I haven’t tested this recipe without the pineapple or coconut and I haven’t tested it with grated carrots vs. shredded carrots. This recipe turns out best as written. Making changes to the mix-ins will throw off the ratio of wet to dry ingredients and the results won’t be as intended.
Other Gluten Free Easter Dessert Recipes to Try
Grain Free Hummingbird Cake from Gluten Free Palate
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For the Cake
- 3 cups Gluten Free Flour with xanthan gum (420g)
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon baking soda (yes, 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups canola oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups pureed cooked carrots
- 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
- 1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
For the Frosting:
To Make the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 3 9-inch cake pans with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix in the walnuts to coat them with the flour and set the bowl aside.
- In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the oil, vanilla, and pureed carrots and mix until well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix until there isn't any dry flour. Fold in the coconut and crushed pineapple. Pour the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans.
- Bake on the center rack [see Note 3] for 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes in the pans before inverting onto wire racks to cool. Cool completely before frosting.
- Make the cream cheese frosting as directed (see notes).
- To frost the cakes, place one cake layer on a cake stand or flat plate. Add a layer of frosting and spread it evenly over the cake. Add a second layer of cake and repeat the frosting step. Add the third layer and evenly spread the frosting over the top and around the sides of the cake.
- Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.
1. Dairy Free option for the cream cheese frosting can be found here.
2. If you can only fit two cake pans on your center rack, bake the 3rd pan on the bottom rack. If it needs to bake a few minutes longer than the other two cakes, move it to the center rack to finish baking when the other two cakes are removed.
3. This frosting recipe makes enough frosting to have a very thin layer of frosting between each layer of cake and on the top and sides. If you want a thick layer of frosting and enough to decorate, make 1 1/2 batches or double the frosting recipe.
4. Leftovers should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also freeze individually wrapped slices for up to 3 months.
Recipe adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook
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