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Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Indulge in this gorgeous one-layer gluten free carrot cake that’s packed with juicy shredded carrots and crunchy walnuts and topped with a thick swath of tangy cream cheese frosting. Perfectly moist and tender, it’s not overly sweet, making it a wonderful dessert for any occasion!

Cream cheese frosting is swirled over a gluten free carrot cake.

Perfect Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe

This beautifully textured and moist gluten free carrot cake is perfect for spring celebrations! Carrot cake is my husband’s favorite cake and while I’ve made several other iterations in the past, I was due for an update. This homey carrot cake consists of just one layer that’s topped with a creamy and rich cream cheese buttercream. I love layer cakes but sometimes simplicity calls to me. This carrot cake comes together quickly without any fuss. It’s infused with warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, plus a little ginger for extra spice. And, it’s not as sweet as some carrot cakes, which I also love. It’s got all the classic carrot cake vibe wrapped up in a gluten free package.

Why You’ll Love Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Lightly sweet, stuffed with shredded carrots and crunchy walnut pieces, plus a little Greek yogurt for extra moisture, you are going to love this gluten free carrot cake! Plus, did I mention the cream cheese frosting? It’s heavenly – just butter, cream cheese, and a little powdered sugar whipped together until fluffy and smooth. Get to it!

  • Easily gluten free – You need just one gluten free flour to make this cake, and the rest of the ingredients are, happily, naturally gluten free.
  • Flavorful – There’s just something about carrot cake, right? From the sweetness of the carrots to the cozy spices, tangy cream cheese in the frosting, and brown sugar in the batter, this beauty is packed with flavor.
  • Keeps well – This cake is lovely and moist and lasts for days in the fridge without drying out, making it stand out from other gluten free cakes!
Ingredients for gluten free carrot cake are shown portioned out and labelled.

What You Need

Check out all of the ingredients in this gluten free carrot cake below. The full amounts are in the recipe card at the end of this post!

  • Brown sugar – Either light or dark brown sugar works fine.
  • Vegetable oil – Or substitute olive oil.
  • Greek yogurt – Non-fat, low-fat, or full-fat Greek yogurt is great, just make sure that it’s a plain variety. Substitute a non-dairy yogurt if needed.
  • Eggs – Always use large eggs in baking as most recipes are written using large eggs.
  • Vanilla extract – Pure vanilla extract gives the best hint of subtle flavor. I’m lucky enough to use my friend’s homemade vanilla!
  • Oat flour – Naturally gluten free oat flour is a great choice for this cake as it lends a slight buttery sweetness. Pick up a bag at the store or make your own.
  • Baking soda – You’ll need just a little bit of baking soda to help the cake to rise.
  • Ground spices – Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger infuse the cake with cozy flavor.
  • Salt – I always use fine sea salt in my recipes!
  • Grated carrots – From about 2-3 large carrots.
  • Walnuts – I love walnuts in carrot cake; traditional recipes often include pecans. Your choice!
  • Cream cheese – Use a brick of full-fat cream cheese rather than whipped cream cheese.
  • Butter – Unsalted butter works best in the frosting.
  • Powdered sugar – You can add more or less for taste and texture.
Slices of gluten free carrot cake and cups of tea.

How to Make Gluten Free Carrot Cake

I love a cake that can be whisked together, and this one doesn’t disappoint! (You will need a mixer to make the frosting, though, just to note!) I’ve put photos of the steps you will go through to make it below. The detailed instructions are in the recipe card lower down.

  • Prep: Grease a 9-inch baking round and line it with parchment paper.
  • Make dry mix: Whisk together the oat flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
  • Whisk brown sugar and oil: Thoroughly combine the brown sugar and oil.
  • Add yogurt: Now whisk in the Greek yogurt until the mixture is thick and slightly lighter in color.
  • Add eggs: Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the vanilla.
  • Combine: Stir the dry mix into the wet mix,
  • Add carrots and walnuts: Now fold in the carrots and walnuts.
  • Add to pan: Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake: Preheat the oven and let the batter rest while the oven heats. Bake the cake until a tester comes out clean.
  • Cool: Let the cake cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then turn out to cool completely.
  • Make the frosting: Cream the softened cream cheese and butter until creamy and combined.
  • Add sugar: Sift in the powdered sugar, then beat well to combine.
  • Frost: Frost the top of the cake with frosting.
A fork cuts into a piece of gluten free carrot cake.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

This lovely, simple gluten free carrot cake benefits from a few best practices to make it the best it can be:

  • Use room temperature ingredients: This step applies more to the frosting, where it’s IMPERATIVE to use room temperature cream cheese and butter so that the frosting comes together without any lumps. You can let the cream cheese and butter sit on the counter while you prepare and bake the cake.
  • Fresh baking soda: This is always a good reminder – check the date on your carton of baking soda. If it’s expired or near the expiration date, toss it and pick up a fresh package. Old leavening agents can really affect the rise of your baked goods.
  • Sift the powdered sugar: Another step to take to create a super smooth frosting is to sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the cream cheese and butter. This tiny extra step will result in the creamy frosting of your dreams!
  • Rest the batter: Let batter rest for a bit before baking. Oat flour, like all gluten free flours, benefits from a rest to let it absorb liquids. I find that resting the batter in the pan while the oven preheats is just enough time for the oat flour to hydrate. I’ve included this step in the recipe directions.
  • Make it dairy-free: In the cake, substitute dairy-free yogurt for the Greek yogurt. In the frosting, sub dairy-free butter and cream cheese.
  • Oat flour subsitute: Teff flour or sorghum flour would work well as a replacement for oat flour. Or try 2 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour for the oat flour.

What’s the Best Way to Shred Carrots?

I am a bit old-fashioned and I always use a box grater when I grate carrots. This method works well! First, scrub the carrots, peel off their skins with a vegetable peeler, then place a box grater on a cutting board. Hold the carrot firmly and, with a downward motion, scrape the pointed end of the carrot along the large holes of the grater.

You can also grate carrots in a food processor. To use this method, wash and peel your carrots like above, then cut off the ends and chop the carrots into rough chunks. Take out your food processor and fit it with the grater disk. Add the carrots and pulse until they are grated.

A fork slices into a piece of carrot cake with a cup of tea next to it.

Storage Options

Carrot cake keeps well in the fridge, which is great because this recipe makes a lot of servings. I like to eat the cake cold and straight from the fridge, or bring it to room temperature for a bit first. This is one of those cakes that tastes delicious either way. Here’s how to store it:

  • Fridge – Cover the cake plate tightly with foil, or place the cake in an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer – Wrap the whole cake or portion of leftover cake in foil and store it in the fridge for up to 3 months. You can also freeze individual slices by wrapping them in foil, placing them in a freezer-safe bag, and storing them in the fridge for up to 3 months. Make sure to thoroughly thaw the cake in the fridge before serving it.

More Easy Carrot-Inspired Recipes

A side view of a piece of gluten free carrot cake.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Nicole Spiridakis
Indulge in this gorgeous one-layer gluten free carrot cake that's packed with juicy shredded carrots and crunchy walnuts and topped with a thick swath of tangy cream cheese frosting.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 683 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil, or olive oil
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups oat flour 250 grams
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots, about 2-3 large carrots
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts

Frosting

  • 8 ounces brick cream cheese
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • Grease a 9-inch baking round and line it with a circle of parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and oil. Whisk in the yogurt for about 1 minute until the mixture is thick and slightly lighter in color. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the vanilla.
  • Stir the dry mix into the wet mix, then fold in the carrots and walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 350℉ and let the batter rest while the oven heats. Then bake the cake for 40-45 minutes until a tester comes out clean, the top is set, and the sides are slightly coming away from the edges of the pan. Remove the cake from the oven and cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then turn out to cool completely.
  • When the cake is cool, make the frosting: In a large bowl, cream the softened cream cheese and butter together on medium speed using an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes until creamy and combined. Beat in the powdered sugar until thick and combined.
  • Frost the top of the cake with frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 683kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 8gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 15gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 332mgPotassium: 300mgFiber: 3gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 4946IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know in the comments how it went!

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