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Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Posted by on April 11, 2017 / 20 Comments

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

Hi friends! Easter is right around the corner and I feel like I’m highly unprepared this year. I’ve had so much travel and excitement this past month, much due in large part to KitchenAid. First, there was the Housewares show in Chicago. An event fab enough on it’s own, but remember that little video we created? Yeah. It’s now been viewed more than 2.7 million times. Crazy!

Then, KitchenAid flew me out to New York for a blogger retreat just last week. We literally ate our way around the city on a foodie walking tour of the lower east side and spent a whole day at Food52 (I seriously wanted to move in). Food52 is like a candy store for food and interior design obsessed adults. Oh, and we got to meet Chef Marcus Samuelson. Yep, two unbelievably dreamy days.

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

So continuing my month of KitchenAid love, I bring you this triple layer gluten-free carrot cake, made super easy with KitchenAid’s new Fresh Prep Slicer Shredder. If you leave your stand mixer on your countertop (as I do), then it’s super easy to add this attachment and quickly grate 3 cups of carrots.

The carrot cake itself is gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo-friendly, but the icing does contain dairy. You guys know I’m dairy-light, but I do love cream cheese frosting, so this is my splurge for Easter. If you don’t do dairy, I promise you this gluten-free carrot cake is abundantly delicious all on it’s own. Or, you could make a dairy-free buttercream, similar to the one I used on my Coconut Amaretto Crepe Cake (minus the amaretto and shredded coconut).

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

I decided to make this gluten-free carrot cake a naked cake, meaning the sides are scraped clean of icing (otherwise known as a crumb coat). This gives it a bit of a rustic look, which I think is fitting for a carrot cake. It also keeps it a smidge (a very slight smidge) healthier.

When it comes to carrot cake recipes I know some folks like to add lots of mix-ins – things like raisins, coconut…even pineapple. Call me boring, but I like a simple, pure carrot cake. The only mix-in I added was chopped pecans. But feel free to modify this gluten-free carrot cake recipe as you wish.

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

One quick note about the three pans. It will seem like the pans barely have any batter and that’s okay. Once you divide the carrot cake batter between three pans they’ll only be about 1/4 full, but your cake will rise. It will also cook faster and bonus, my layers cooked and stayed 100% flat, so there was no need to trim a dome. You could also do this recipe in three 6-inch pans or two 9-inch pans. Just adjust the cook time accordingly.

Enjoy!

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

This post was created in partnership with KitchenAid. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help keep Downshiftology going! As always, all opinions are my own. 

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This gluten-free carrot cake (which is also paleo) is a rustic naked cake, topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting and pecans. 

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Ingredients

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Cream Cheese Frosting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit.

  2. Grease three 8-inch pans and line the bottom of each with a circle of parchment paper. 

  3. Add all of the dry ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk together. 

  4. In a separate large bowl, add the eggs, palm shortening or butter, applesauce and vanilla extract. With a hand mixer on medium speed, blend together for 30 seconds. 

  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend for another minute, or until well combined. Fold in the shredded carrots and chopped pecans. 

  6. Evenly divide the cake batter between the three 8-inch pans. They'll only be about 1/4 full, and that's okay. Use a spatula to flatten them on top. 

  7. Cook the cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the cakes halfway through. 

  8. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Then remove them from the pan and continue cooling on a cooling rack. 

  9. While the cakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. Combine all frosting ingredients together and blend in a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed. 

  10. Divide the frosting between the layers and add a thin layer of frosting, which is then scraped off, from the outside edge. Top with chopped pecans. 

Other recipes you might like:

Chocolate Mug Cake (gluten-free, paleo)

Clementine Upside Down Cake (gluten-free, paleo)

Molten Chocolate Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream (gluten-free, paleo)

  • Liz Stark

    Yay, you’re back with another post and recipe! You’ve definitely been busy, but wow, such wonderful experiences! And thank you for sharing a lot of the trip via your Instagram stories – I had fun watching those (is that weird? Haha). Love all the chef/kitchen footage. And I love this upgraded carrot cake recipe – perfect for Easter (how is it almost Easter already?!). Hope you’re able to get some much-deserved rest/downtime soon!

    • Not weird at all! I watch so many other people’s stories every day. ;) Yeah, Food52 was pretty awesome, for sure. And I think Easter really did sneak up on us this year. Doh! Hope you enjoy yours! xo

  • Love the rustic look of a naked cake! This gluten free carrot cake is the perfect ending to any Easter dinner! I like that you only chose to use pecans in this. The wonderful carrots get to shine through!

    • Thanks Lindsay! Yeah, I prefer for the carrots to shine. Otherwise I think it turns into a bit of a fruit cake. Lol!

  • Kim

    This looks so delicious! I love the way you frosted it, too, and always love those attachments!

  • Raksha

    Lovely images. It made feel like eating the cake. Looks delicious.

  • Love love love almond flour! Can I use coconut oil?

  • I really do like the look of naked cakes, too, and it might be heresy to say this, but I don’t always want all the frosting on the cake, so the naked cake serves just the right amount. LOVE this cake!

  • HuldaBianca

    It really looks just delicious! My biggest problem right now is that I’m out of tapioca and can’t get my hands on it until wednesday after easter… It’s a disaster! But after that I’ll definitely try the recipe :)

    • Oh, bummer! But on the bright side, you have something delicious to look forward to next week. ;) Happy Easter!

      • HuldaBianca

        You’ve got a point there!!! Happy Easter to you too! <3

  • HuldaBianca

    Now I’ve tried it! Just a small version and only two layers, as a rehersal bake for an upcoming birthday in the family… It was amazing!!! And a good thing with a smaller version is that I could eat the whole cake hahaha. Pic on my instagram <3 :)

    • Both your rehearsal bake and final bake look amazing! And love how you topped it with the raspberries and coconut cream. Well done! :) x

      • HuldaBianca

        Oh thank you so much! I’m so happy you like it! <3 :)

  • Deb M

    I made the cake today and it is excellent – moist, just the right amount of sweetness, etc. My family did not realize it didn’t have wheat flour in it which made me happy because I like to eat gluten free and they all liked it. I’m really impressed with the recipe so plan to try others! Thanks

    • Oh, that’s so wonderful to hear Deb! Yay! This cake sure has been a hit and I hope you like my other recipes just as much. :) x

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