Hands down the best gluten-free carrot cake around! Easy to make with everyday ingredients and topped with a blanket of fluffy cream cheese frosting. Nobody will guess this is gluten-free!
Easter dinner isn’t complete without a delicious carrot cake for dessert! I’ve been making this homemade gluten-free carrot cake recipe for a few years now and it’s always an unbelievable hit. It is light and moist with the perfect tender crumb and hint of spice.
The traditional cream cheese frosting is just the right amount of sweet. It’s whipped until it’s fluffy so it makes a blanket of frosting over the cake. Nobody will guess this great recipe is gluten-free!
I love how easy it is to make sheet cakes! (Like this easy gluten-free chocolate cake.) No stacking layers precariously with frosting. No worrying it will tip over on the car ride over to a friends house.
Just easy-peasy cake made in a 9×13 pan that is no-fuss, portable and always a crowd-pleaser. (However, you could make this a layer cake, if you really wanted to!) For another easy sheet cake try this gluten-free banana cake.
For more gluten-free cake recipes, try this gluten-free lemon cake, gluten-free birthday cake, gluten-free pineapple upside down cake or gluten-free red velvet cake. You also might like these gluten-free pumpkin bars for the fall.
Why You’ll Love this Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
- Great for special occasions (like Easter)
- Easy to make, no-fuss recipe
- Topped with cream cream cheese frosting (that isn’t too sweet)
- Always light, fluffy, and moist
Check out this collection of gluten-free Easter desserts for more recipes!
How to Make Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
This carrot cake is surprisingly easy to make-it’s made with simple ingredients, and it’s no different than making a regular carrot sheet cake! The ingredients are basically the same (eggs, sugar, oil, carrots, spices, etc.) except you use gluten-free 1:1 baking flour. This is also sometimes called measure-for-measure flour.
Just be sure to pick a flour that contains xanthan gum that acts as a binder. I like using King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Measure-For-Measure Flour and a little bit of almond flour for the dry ingredients in this recipe.
There are a few tricks for making gluten-free cake in general. For this reason I highly recommend using recipes that are designed specifically to be gluten-free rather than swapping in gluten-free flour for regular flour in a standard recipe.
STEP 1: You start by beating together the eggs, white sugar and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. You can use the bowl of a stand mixer or a hand mixer for this – either will work!
STEP 2: Slowly add the oil in a steady stream while beating until fully incorporated. Then whip the whole mixer until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
STEP 3: Add the dry ingredients, grated carrots, and pecans into the large bowl. I shred my carrots in the food processor to speed up the process. You can omit the pecans if you like but I love the little bit of texture! However if you ask me, golden raisins and pineapple have no place in a carrot cake! I like the nice light texture of a cake without the other mix-ins.
STEP 4: Mix the dry and wet ingredients until incorporated, then pour the cake batter into a 9×13 pan.
TIP: Shred carrots in the food processor to save time.
STEP 5: Make the luscious cream cheese frosting! This is my very favorite recipe for gluten free cream cheese frosting. It really makes a difference to whip the powdered sugar and other ingredients together for a few minutes for a nice fluffy texture. I also like this cream cheese frosting because it uses a little less sugar than other recipes and isn’t overwhelmingly sweet.
STEP 6: Spread the frosting over the cooled gluten-free carrot cake. Refrigerate until serving if needed. Let the cake come to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving, then enjoy the perfect gluten-free treat!
Store your cake by covering the pan in plastic wrap, or by placing leftovers in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to two days.
Gluten-Free Carrot Cake FAQs
Use high quality gluten-free flour and add an extra egg to make your gluten-free cakes rise better.
Gluten-free carrot cake may become dry if you over-mix the batter, or if you over-bake. Be sure to remove the cake from the oven as soon as a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Many carrot cake recipes call for mix-ins like pecans, pineapple, and raisins. I prefer to omit the pineapple and raisins—but I do like adding pecans for a little bit of texture.
Tips for Making Gluten-Free Cake
This recipe is perfectly designed to work as written with gluten-free flour. (Like this gluten-free angel food cake!) I highly recommend seeking out recipes that are specifically designed to be gluten-free. However, here are few tips for making cake gluten-free if you’re adapting a regular flour recipe.
Use a high-quality gluten-free 1:1 flour: I like King Arthur Flour. I also usually reduce the amount of flour slightly as gluten-free flour tends to be denser than regular flour.
Reduce the amount of oil slightly: Gluten-free flours aren’t as absorptive as regular flour so sometimes you need to cut back on the vegetable or canola oil slightly.
Add an extra egg: Eggs can give gluten-free baked goods an extra lift and needed structure.
Bake the cake longer: Gluten-free cakes often need longer in the oven than regular cakes. Be sure to test the center with a toothpick to ensure it’s cooked through.
Use parchment paper: If you want to be able to easily remove the whole cake from the prepared pan, line it with parchment paper and let some hang off the sides.
More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes
I hope you love this gluten-free carrot cake recipe as much as we do! Leave a comment/rating below if you try this recipe. I’d love to hear from you!
Easy Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
For the Cake:
- 2 cups gluten-free measure-for-measure flour 310 grams
- 1/2 cup almond flour 55 grams, or substitute with 1/4 cup more measure-for-measure flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound carrots 450 grams, peeled and grated
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
- 1 cup brown sugar 200 grams
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup pecans toasted and chopped (optional – plus more for topping finished cake if desired)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 16 ounces brick-style cream cheese 224 grams, softened to room temperature
- 10 tablespoons butter 140 grams, softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar 340 grams
- For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Grate the carrots in a food processor (this way is the easiest!) or by hand. In a medium bowl, add the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat until frothy and combined. Slowly pour in the oil while mixing and whip until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the flour mixture, carrots and nuts and mix everything together with a spatula until well-combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread out evenly.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until set and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
- For the Frosting: Mix the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium-high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl with rubber spatula as needed.
- Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat on low speed for 10-15 seconds, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 1-2 minutes until very fluffy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and top with more pecans if desired.
- Refrigerate until serving if needed. Let the cake come to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Hi there I’m excited to try this recipe. Can this recipe be made into cupcakes?
I have made this cake so many times and just have to say it is absolutely the best carrot cake I have ever tasted. (Family and friends agress) I have been celiac for 25 years and believe me when I say it is simply the best. Today I followed the recipe, except I added an additional egg which made it rise a bit more than previous cakes. Anyway, if you are reading this review…..I hope you will try this great recipe for yourself. I plan to attempt a few other recipes from Meaningful Eats soon.
I’m so glad you love the cake! So honored your friends and family think it’s delicious as well! Thanks for the comment.
Can you make this into a quick bread??
I’m not sure because I haven’t tried this myself!
This cake is absolutely delicious. Everyone love it!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Hands down delicious and very easy to put together. Perfect hint of cinnamon and yes, will cut back a bit on the oil in the second one!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
So delicious! I am not GF but was making this for a friend. I used compliments gluten free flour and coconut flour. It turned out so yummy!
I used 1/2 cup coconut flour and 2 T psyllium husk powder as well and reduced the all purpose GF baking blend.
Can this recipe be used for 2 8”?
Yes it will work great for 2 8″ cakes! Just decrease the baking time by about 5 minutes. I hope you enjoy it!
Hi, this cake sounds delicious. Can I use coconut sugar instead?
I don’t recommend using coconut sugar as the texture/flavor won’t be the same. But it could still work! Let me know how it goes it you try it.