Carrot Cake {Gluten-free}

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Gluten-free Carrot Cake - This classic dessert goes gluten-free, but still tastes incredible!

Just because you can’t have gluten, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite holiday and seasonal desserts! Has Spring had you craving carrot cake? If so, you’ll love this gluten-free version of classic carrot cake. It got thumbs up all around from a dozen gluten-eaters this weekend!

I surveyed many friends before making carrot cake to see what people’s preferences were on extra ingredients. There were only a few people that wanted nuts; most were adamant that there not be nuts. Some liked raisins inside, some didn’t. A few liked coconut. Almost everyone said to definitely NOT include pineapple. Ultimately, I decided to go for making a simple, moist cake, full of spice flavor and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. If you like coconut, nuts, raisins, or pineapple, feel free to add in any of those!

Gluten-free Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

Recipe adapted from my fellow food bloggers: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (cake) and Sally’s Baking Addiction (icing).

Linking this recipe up at Gluten-free Fridays.

4.8 from 4 reviews
Carrot Cake {Gluten-free}
Feel free to add your favorite mix-ins like raisins, coconut or nuts, to this classic moist carrot cake.
Recipe from:
Recipe type: Cakes & Cupcakes
  • 12.5 ounces all-purpose gluten-free flour* (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum (omit if flour blend has xanthan)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter (or oil)
  • 3 cups finely shredded carrots (from about 1 lb. carrots)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream or half and half
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. I used a glass Pyrex pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your standing mixer, beat sugar, brown sugar and eggs on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds.
  4. Reduce speed to low, and slowly add the applesauce, oil, and melted butter. Mi on high for one minute, or until mixture is well mixed and light in color.
  5. Turn off mixer and stir in by hand the carrots and dry ingredients until no loose flour remains.
  6. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. (Mine took 37 minutes.)
  7. Let cake cool, in pan, on a wire rack.
When cake is cool, mix up cream cheese icing:
  1. In a mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the softened cream cheese and butter for 3 minutes, or until soft, creamy and combined thoroughly.
  2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until well mixed.
  3. Add the heavy cream or half and half, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Add an additional 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar until frosting reaches desired thickness and taste.
  5. Use a spatula or icing knife to spread frosting evenly over cooled cake.
*I recommend gfJules gluten-free flour or Gluten Free Mama's All-purpose Almond or coconut blends.


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  1. says

    Michelle, your cake looks truly wonderful! And the timing is perfect as I’ve been working on a Carrot Cake roundup for All Gluten-Free Desserts and am behind schedule. Now I can add your recipe link as well! Sometimes being behind schedule works out beautifully. 😉 Btw, it’s interesting to read folks’ preferences. I’m one who says no raisins, no pineapple, but absolutely yes on nuts. Hehe.


    • says

      Thanks Shirley! I did find it so interesting to see everyone’s preferences. I surveyed our small home group from church, as well as my Facebook friends, and it was sure all over the place in preferences. What was funny to me was how passionate everyone was about those preferences too!
      I’m so glad I’ll get to be included in your Carrot Cake roundup! Fun! My readers will love that!

    • says

      I haven’t tried any sugar substitutes in this recipe. The one I would feel comfortable recommending the most is coconut sugar. I’ve used it a few times in other recipes with great results. Hope that helps! Feel free to try any sugar substitutions that have worked well for you in other cake recipes.

  2. Tina says

    Made this today for Easter dinner…was yummy. My dad loved it, and he doesn’t normally try gluten free desserts. He didn’t even know the difference. The only change I will try next time is to swap out the oil with more applesauce, and cut back on the sugar, maybe even substitute with honey. I put pineapple in and it was great, next time will add raisins, coconut and walnuts too! Thanks!

  3. Heather says

    Absolutely delish! Made it for Easter dinner and it was a huge hit! So moist and yummy. Honestly better than my old carrot cake recipe that wasn’t GF.

  4. stephanie c says

    I made this for Easter and it was soooo good! The whole family ate it and couldn’t even tell it was GF. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Gail says

    How long should you bake if you use batter for muffins instead of cake? Also how much pineapple and / or apples can you add to this recipe?

    • says

      Gail, If you do these as cupcakes/muffins, I’d start checking them for doneness at 18 minutes and then keep checking every minute or two until toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.
      I haven’t tried those additions but I think they would be great. The pineapple would definitely add some moisture, so I’d be careful not to use too much. Maybe 1 cup to start with?

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