The Best Recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake

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The Best Recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake

I love carrot cake. In fact, I think it ranks in my top five cake flavors ever! I love the delicate, moist crumb, and the rich spicy flavor. And I’m obsessed with cream cheese frosting, which is pretty much required. With Easter and Mother’s Day just around the corner, I am excited to finally be sharing my time-tested recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake with you!

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This delicious gluten free carrot cake is perfect for spring holidays, but equally appropriate for Christmas or Thanksgiving. And don’t forget birthdays! I’ve requested carrot cake as my birthday cake more than any other cake (and I’ve had a lot of birthdays – ahem!).

I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to add-ins so this recipe has only shredded carrots. But if you’re feeling wild (and on occasion I am), you can always stir in chopped (toasted) nuts, raisins, and/or shredded coconut.

A Slice of Gluten Free Carrot Cake

A Secret Ingredient Adds Extra Moisture and Flavor to This Recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Spoiler alert – t’s prune puree. Now before you think I’ve gone completely off my rocker, I’ve been working with prunes and prune puree for quite some time now. When you add prune puree to baked goods, you can reduce the amount of necessary refined sugar, fats or eggs. I actually wrote an article about how to use it in your baked goods called Your Guide to Healthier Baking. Read it – and learn!

You might be wondering if it makes your baked goods taste like prunes? NO! Look, I actually love prunes, but I want my gluten free cake recipes to taste like they should. But, by adding prune puree, they taste richer, have more moisture, and have less refined sugar. To me that’s a win-win-win!

I almost always have a jar of prune puree in my fridge – it lasts for a few weeks and can be used all sorts of ways.

Here’s how to make prune puree:

Combine 16 ounces of prunes with 1/2 cup of very hot water in a blender. Let sit for about 10 minutes to soften, then blend until totally smooth. The mixture should be thick like caramel, but still slightly pourable. If it’s too thick, add an additional 1/4 cup of water and blend again.

Recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Why This is the Only Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe You Need

You’ll love this recipe because it’s gorgeous (yet easy), can be made in one bowl, and has tons of amazing flavor. I add a lot of spices to my carrot cakes, and it makes your kitchen smell AMAZING when it’s baking in the oven. Another great thing about this gluten free cake recipe is that it can be made a day ahead. In fact, I think it tastes even better that way! Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend (I like Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1, but Cup4Cup or my own flour blend recipe works well too).
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend already contains it)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup prune puree
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil (or sunflower seed oil, olive oil, or any other light oil of your choice)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 carrots, grated on the smallest side of a box grater
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Buttercream:

  • 1 8oz. block of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of salted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (or heavy cream)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 3, 6-inch cake pans (or 2, 8-inch cake pans) and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, xanthan (if using), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Add the prune puree, buttermilk, oil, and eggs and whisk well until the batter is smooth. Stir in the grated carrots and vanilla extract.

Evenly distribute the batter between the pans and tap them on the counter a few times to settle the batter. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until they spring back in the middle when lightly pressed, or a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for a few minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cakes and carefully invert them onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.

Make the buttercream. Beat the cream cheese with the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add half of the sugar and mix lightly to combine. Pour in the milk and beat until the buttercream is smooth. Add the remaining sugar, vanilla, and sea salt. Beat until the frosting is smooth and spreadable. If it seems too stiff, add another tablespoon or 2 of milk.

Once the cake has cooled, decorate as desired. Store in the refrigerator.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake
Recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake

How to Make Carrot Roses for Decorating the Cake

It’s easier than it looks to decorate this cake! To make the carrot roses or rosettes, I like to use rainbow carrots for added color, but regular bright orange carrots look great too.

  1. Simply peel the carrots all the way around, discarding the outer peel. Then using your peeler, cut long strips from the carrots and place on a damp paper towel on a large plate.
  2. When you have as many as you would like, cover with another damp paper towel and microwave for 20 seconds, or until the strips are soft and pliable.
  3. Then roll up the carrot peel strips and arrange on top of the cake.
  4. Pinch off leaves from the carrot tops and arrange around your carrot roses. That’s it!
Carrot Roses for Cake Topper

Once you have a slice, I know you’ll be as convinced as I am that this is truly the best recipe for gluten free carrot cake ever! I’m definitely planning on serving it as an Easter dessert.

Here Are a Few More Desserts Perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day!

Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and star rating below (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) and post a picture and tag us on Instagram using the hashtags #agirldefloured #deflouredrecipes! Thank you!

Recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake

The Best Recipe For Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Alison Needham
You’ll love this recipe because it’s gorgeous (yet easy), can be made in one bowl, and has tons of amazing flavor. I add a lot of spices to my carrot cakes, and it makes your kitchen smell AMAZING when it’s baking in the oven. Another great thing about this gluten free cake recipe is that it can be made a day ahead. In fact, I think it tastes even better that way!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Decorating Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 974 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Cream Cheese Buttercream:

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 3, 6-inch cake pans (or 2, 8-inch cake pans) and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Whisk the flour, xanthan (if using), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Add the prune puree, buttermilk, oil, and eggs and whisk well until the batter is smooth. Stir in the grated carrots and vanilla extract.
  • Evenly distribute the batter between the pans and tap them on the counter a few times to settle the batter. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until they spring back in the middle when lightly pressed, or a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for a few minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cakes and carefully invert them onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
  • Make the buttercream. Beat the cream cheese with the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add half of the sugar and mix lightly to combine. Pour in the milk and beat until the buttercream is smooth. Add the remaining sugar, vanilla, and sea salt. Beat until the frosting is smooth and spreadable. If it seems too stiff, add another tablespoon or 2 of milk.
  • Once cakes are cool, frost as desired. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

Here’s how to make prune puree:
Combine 16 ounces of prunes with 1/2 cup of very hot water in a blender. Let sit for about 10 minutes to soften, then blend until totally smooth. The mixture should be thick like caramel, but still slightly pourable. If it’s too thick, add an additional 1/4 cup of water and blend again. Any leftover puree should be stored in the refrigerator. 
If you aren’t convinced that prune puree is for you, swap the puree for additional brown sugar.
How to make carrot rosettes:
It’s easier than it looks to decorate this cake! To make the carrot roses or rosettes, I like to use rainbow carrots for added color, but regular bright orange carrots look great too.
  1. Simply peel the carrots all the way around, discarding the outer peel. Then using your peeler, cut long strips from the carrots and place on a damp paper towel on a large plate.
  2. When you have as many as you would like, cover with another damp paper towel and microwave for 20 seconds, or until the strips are soft and pliable.
  3. Then roll up the carrot peel strips and arrange on top of the cake.
  4. Pinch off leaves from the carrot tops and arrange around your carrot roses. That’s it!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 974kcalCarbohydrates: 152gProtein: 9gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 679mgPotassium: 309mgFiber: 5gSugar: 123gVitamin A: 4847IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 194mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake
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2 Comments

  1. I am on a fodmap diet and cannot have dried fruit at all for awhile. I can’t have applesauce either, but I can eat pineapple puree or crushed pineapple. Do you think that would work in this? I adore carrot cakes and haven’t had a good one in a long time. Thank you.

    1. Hi Alene – in this recipe the prune puree is replacing part of the sugar. My usual recipe calls for 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of white sugar. You could try pineapple puree, but the water content is greater so there is a chance it could be a little too moist.

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