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Easy Gluten-free Carrot Cake

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I always thought carrot cake was only enjoyed in the spring, but I’ve found that people like making this gluten-free carrot cake year-round! This easy gluten-free carrot sheet cake is one you’ve got to try!

Gluten-free Carrot Cake Recipe. Easy recipe for classic gluten-free carrot cake. No layers to arrange - just a simple sheet cake!

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 classic carrot cake. It got thumbs up all around from a dozen gluten-eaters this weekend!

 The best part is that it couldn’t be easier to make or serve, as it’s made as a sheet cake. 

No fussing to line up multiple layers of cake and icing and hoping it doesn’t all slide off! Sheet cakes are so much easier!

Gluten-free Carrot Cake Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I surveyed many friends before making my gluten-free carrot cake to see what people’s preferences were on extra ingredients.

There were only a few people that wanted nuts; most were adamant to not include nuts.

Some liked raisins inside, some didn’t.

A few liked coconut.

Almost everyone said to definitely NOT include pineapple. Strong feelings on that one!!

Ultimately, I decided to go for making a simple, classic,  moist gluten-free carrot cake, full of spice flavor and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting.

Gluten-free Carrot Cake Slice

This gluten-free carrot cake has become a go-to gluten-free Easter dessert for so many families!

Let’s talk about the ingredients for this yummy carrot sheet cake.

Ingredients for gluten-free carrot cake

Notes on ingredients and substitutions for this gluten-free carrot cake:

  • Gluten-free Flour Blend: I have tested this with, and recommend, gfJules gluten-free flour (buy on Amazon here) or King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour Blend. My friend Megan tested this cake with Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour and said it worked great. Other high quality gluten-free flour blends should work well in this too! Try your favorite!
  • Xanthan gum: Omit this if your flour blend contains guar gum or xanthan gum already. 
  • Applesauce: applesauce is used here to cut the amount of oil needed, increase the flavor, and keep the cake moist. If you only have sweetened applesauce, you can use that and cut the sugar in the recipe a bit. Or you can replace the applesauce with additional oil.
  • Unsalted butter: You can use salted butter, and then just adjust the salt in the recipe to only 1/4 tsp instead of 1/2. To make this cake dairy-free, then use oil instead of butter. I prefer using an oil with no taste, like a corn or canola oil.

If you like coconut, nuts, raisins, or pineapple, feel free to stir in any of those into the cake batter!

Slice of Gluten-free Carrot Cake

Why did I call this gluten-free carrot cake easy? The hardest part is getting the carrots washed, peeled, and shredded. The rest is simple mixing together!

Wash and peel your carrots before finely shredding them. A food processor or food chopper is best for finely shredding them.

Shredded carrots ready to stir in for carrot cake

 You can save time by buying baby carrots too! Then you can just drop them right into the food chopper.

The food chopper I use is this one that does about a cup of them at a time. I prefer it over my huge food processor as this one is so easy to clean – just plop the three parts right in the dishwasher!

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting:

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting

This cream cheese frosting has the perfect mix of sweet and tangy. It’s made with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, and pure vanilla extract. Only the best ingredients and it makes a frosting so good, you’ll be licking your  spatula!

You can also stir chopped nuts into the cream cheese frosting if you want. Chopped pecans would be yummy!

I’m not going to lie – I enjoy frosting as equally as I enjoy cake. You can’t have one without the other, in my opinion!

Cream Cheese Frosting on Gluten-free Carrot Cake

Can this gluten-free carrot cake be made dairy-free?

Yes! The carrot cake itself is already almost completely free of dairy – the melted butter already includes a substitution to just add additional oil.

The frosting recipe can be made dairy-free too. Use dairy-free cream cheese (I recommend Kite Hill), a butter alternative like Earth Balance or Melt Buttery Sticks, and your favorite dairy-free milk alternative for the cream. Or if you have it on hand, use a dairy-free creamer.

Gluten-free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Looking for more gluten-free recipes with carrots?

Love soup? I added chopped carrots to my gluten-free cheeseburger soup. My friend Erin adds big carrot chunks to her Italian minestrone soup. And I add them to my hearty gluten-free ham cheddar chowder recipe too! So many options for carrots – just thought I’d share a few!

How about these paleo carrot cake muffins from my friend Chrystal? Of course I use shredded carrots in this simple coleslaw recipe. These carrot fritters caught my eye, as they’re unlike anything I’ve had before!

These roasted rainbow carrots from my friend Megan will brighten up any dinner! I think serving them alongside any hearty meat dish would be a hit.

Now go make this cake and serve up a big slice for yourself!!

Serving gluten-free carrot cake

Another favorite Easter or spring dessert is this gluten-free cheesecake! Or if you want something chocolate, go for my gluten-free chocolate cream pie!

Recipe adapted from my fellow food bloggers Mel and Sally: unbelievable carrot cake (cake) and super moist carrot cake (icing).

Pan with sliced Gluten-free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

One final note, you can cut this cake into the number of slices you really need. Here I cut into 15 larger slices, but you could easily do 18 slices or 24 instead.

If you try this, would you please come back and give it a 5 star rating and comment with any successful substitutions you tried (if any)? Those help others so much!

Easy Gluten-free Carrot Cake Recipe:

Yield: 15 slices

Easy Gluten-free Carrot Cake

Gluten-free Carrot Cake Slice

Follow this recipe to make a flavorful, classic, moist gluten-free carrot cake topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. Perfect gluten-free Easter dessert! Feel free to add your favorite mix-ins like raisins, coconut or nuts, to this classic moist gluten-free carrot cake.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour*
  • 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum (*see note)
  • 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)

Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream or half and half
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  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. Mix 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, and pure vanilla extract. 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. Slice into 15 large slices, or you can cut smaller slices if you prefer.

Notes

Pin this to your gluten-free desserts board on Pinterest:

Easy Gluten-free Carrot Cake Recipe

Post updated with new text and photos April 2019. Originally published April 2014.

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

I hope you and your family enjoy this gf carrot cake as much as my family does!

Click to share this with your friends or family!

Belinda

Tuesday 21st of June 2022

Hi, I just wanted to check, is the oven temperature in the recipe for a standard oven or for fan-forced. I converted to Celsius and reduced 20 degrees because I have a fan forced oven but it took about an hour to cook through and ended up rising in the middle a lot more than the edges. I followed the recipe to a T except I used homemade apple sauce that turned out to be apple purée consistency after sitting in the fridge overnight and substituted all the oil for extra apple sauce/purée. My dish was exactly as you described, glass Pyrex and exactly the right size. I’m just wondering whether it’s the oven temperature causing it to cook longer & rise in the middle, or whether it might’ve been the apple sauce/purée.

Thanks for sharing your amazing recipe!

Belinda

Carol Niemann

Tuesday 31st of May 2022

I made this as a sheet cake for Easter as my son is gluten free and it came out amazing. His girl friend is asking if I can make this recipe as cupcakes for her birthday. Is there anything different I should do and what is your recommendation on baking time?

Anne

Monday 30th of May 2022

this is a really good recipe. It is a little heavy but that is normal for gluten free recipies. 10 stars from me.

32+ Best Gluten Free Desserts - Top Recipes

Friday 22nd of April 2022

[…] 26. Easy Gluten-free Carrot Cake […]

Natasha

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

This came out absolutely wonderful and I was very pleased! The whole family loved it. Thanks for sharing such a fantastic gluten free recipe!

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