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A slice of carrot cake being removed from a full cake with a green plate behind it.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

This gluten-free carrot cake is baked from scratch and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting, chopped walnuts and adorable carrot decorations for the ultimate gluten-free dessert recipe. This cake is perfectly spiced and SO moist. Everyone will love it!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 37 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 37 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 728kcal
Author: Megan

Ingredients

For the carrot cake:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour (288g))
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (if your flour blend does not already contain it)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (6g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (7g)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (6g)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger (3g)
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150g)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (210g)
  • 3 eggs (192g)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or other neutral tasting oil like avocado oil (125mL))
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (188g)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups finely shredded carrots (from about 2-3 large carrots (236g))

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 16 oz cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (650g)

For decorations (optional):

  • Orange food coloring (or combination of red and yellow food coloring)
  • Green food coloring
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

For the carrot cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line two 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • In a large bowl, add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs. Beat together for 2 minutes, until thoroughly combined and light in color.
  • Add in the oil, applesauce, vanilla and apple cider vinegar. Mix until combined.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring in between, until no streaks of white remain.
  • Stir in the shredded carrots.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, filling each equally.
  • Bake at 350F for 33-37 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • Add the butter and cream cheese to a large bowl. Cream together with an electric mixer until completely smooth.
  • Mix in the vanilla extract and salt.
  • Gradually add in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add 4 to 5 cups in total, until your desired consistency is reached and the cream cheese frosting is thick and smooth.
  • Set aside 1 cup of cream cheese frosting. Use remaining frosting to frost the cake. Place one layer of carrot cake on a plate or platter. Frost the top with cream cheese frosting and smooth with a spatula.
  • Place the other carrot cake layer on top of the frosting.
  • Then, do a thin layer of frosting on the cake to trap in all of the crumbs. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to make it easier to frost. Then, go back and frost the cake with a thicker layer of frosting. Pipe any decorations on top with a 1M star frosting tip, if desired.

For the decorations (optional):

  • Sprinkle walnuts on the top and sides of the cake, if desired.
  • To make the carrot decorations, divide the reserved 1 cup of frosting into two small bowls.
  • Add the orange food coloring to one bowl, and the green to the other. Mix until your desired colors are reached. Place the colored frosting into piping bags either fitted with a small round tip or snip off the end of the piping bag without a tip. The hole should be the size of a marker.
  • With the orange, pipe long triangles all over the cake for the carrots. Use the green to make the carrot tops. Pipe any cream cheese frosting decorations along the edge with a 1M star frosting tip, if desired.

Notes

  • This recipe was tested with both Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour and King Arthur Baking Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour. Both of these flours already contain xanthan gum, so additional xanthan gum is not needed. If your blend does not contain xanthan gum, you will want to use the amount specified in the recipe. 
  • For the most accurate results, I recommend using the metric measurements provided in the recipe. 
  • If you measure the gluten-free flour in cups, be sure to not use the measuring cup to scoop the floor. This will result in too much flour and a dense cake. Instead, spoon flour into your measuring cup and then level it off with a straight object. 
  • To store leftovers in the refrigerator, place the cake in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
  • You can freeze the cake for up to 3 months. First, slice the cake into individual portions. Freeze them on a lined baking sheet for one hour until solid. Then, tightly wrap individual slices and place in a freezer safe container or bag. 

Nutrition

Calories: 728kcal | Carbohydrates: 102g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 370mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 84g | Vitamin A: 4371IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 2mg
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