Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

This gluten-free carrot cake is a rustic naked cake, made with three layers of perfectly spiced carrot cake, and slathered with a luscious cream cheese frosting!

Gluten-free carrot cake on a cake stand.

Your search for the best gluten-free carrot cake stops here. This triple layer carrot cake is unbelievably moist, and filled with your favorite spiced flavors along with a good portion of healthy carrots. Is the cake itself healthy? Well, that might be a bit of a stretch. But I did go light on the ultra creamy cream cheese frosting.

With how scrumptious this cake is, no one will even notice it’s gluten-free. I love to serve it up for the best Easter dessert (it always gets rave reviews), but don’t be shy enjoying it year round. It’s perfect for parties and get togethers as well!

Carrots on a table for carrot cake.

What’s In This Carrot Cake

While this may look like a long list of ingredients, please don’t be intimidated. It’s super easy to make, and the results are worth it. Here’s what you’ll need: 

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Ingredients

  • Almond Flour: I always use blanched almond flour for the finest texture.
  • Tapioca Flour: A little bit of tapioca flour helps to create that lighter, fluffier texture.
  • Coconut Sugar: The slight caramel undertones of coconut sugar are ah-mazing in this cake. 
  • Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger are the ultimate carrot cake spice mix.
  • Baking Soda: A little bit of baking soda gives lift to the cake.
  • Cream of Tartar: This is the “acid” that activates the baking soda. You could always swap these two items with baking powder if you prefer.
  • Eggs: Grab a few large eggs and you’re good to go.
  • Butter: I’m using butter, but you can use ghee or coconut oil as well, if you’d like to keep it dairy-free.
  • Applesauce: A secret ingredient that helps keep this carrot cake super moist.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds a smidge of sweetness to the overall base. 
  • Shredded Carrots: The star ingredients – loads of carrots! And I’ve got some tips below for how to grate them fast and easy.
  • Pecans: A sprinkle of chopped pecans on top adds a contrasting nutty crunch. 

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • Cream Cheese: It’s thick texture and tangy flavor makes it perfect for a lavish frosting. It’s my fave!
  • Butter: You can also use ghee as well. 
  • Powdered Sugar: I’m using organic powdered sugar to help create that classic sweet, and fluffy cream cheese frosting.
  • Vanilla Extract: For a little touch of sweetness.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

Shredding carrots for carrot cake.

Ways to Shred Carrots

While I’m using my KitchenAid shredding attachment to grate the carrots quickly, there’s two other ways to shred carrots. 

  • Grater: Peel the carrots and use either a box or plane grater to grate the carrots. This method is a little more labor intensive, but it works just fine.
  • Food Processor: Peel and cut the carrots into 3″ long pieces. Attach the shredding blade to your food processor and shred away. This is a super quick and easy method.
The process of making the carrot cake.

Let’s Make the Best Carrot Cake Recipe

To get started, preheat your oven to 325F, grease your pans, and line them with parchment paper. Then follow along below. 

  • Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk them all together. 
  • Mix the wet ingredients. In a separate large bowl, mix everything together with a whisk or hand mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. 
  • Blend it all together. Add the dry mixture into the wet and blend for one more minute until combined. Then fold in the carrots and pecans. 
  • Pour the batter into the pans. Note that the pans will only be ¼ full, and use a spatula to smooth out the top. 
  • Bake and cool. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the cake halfway through. Then pull out the cake, let it cool for 15 minutes, and remove it onto a cooling rack. 
  • Make the frosting and slather it on. Mix the frosting ingredients in a large bowl with a stand mixer or hand mixer on medium speed. Then divide the frosting between the cake layers. 
Triple layer gluten-free carrot cake on a cake stand.

Carrot Cake Tips & Substitutions

  • If you don’t do dairy. Good news, the cake itself can be made dairy-free. And I promise you this gluten-free carrot cake is abundantly delicious all on it’s own. So feel free to skip the frosting. 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).
  • Feel free to modify this cake with classic mix-ins such as raisins, shredded coconut, or even pineapple!
  • If you don’t have three 8-inch pans you can also do this recipe in two 9-inch pans. Just adjust the cook time accordingly.
  • If you want to make this cake in advance wrap the cooled, and unfrosted layers completely in plastic wrap. Then store in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Just add frosting to the thawed layers before serving!
  • If you want to store a frosted cake in advance you can do that too. Just be aware that since the sides have very little frosting, it may dry out more than a fully frosted cake. But you can store the cake completely frosted at room temperature or in the fridge for 2-3 days, and in the freezer for up to a month. Just place the cake in the freezer for an hour to let the frosting harden, then cover completely with plastic wrap.

How to Store Carrot Cake Leftovers

You can use the same methods mentioned above if you’ve got a large portion of leftovers. If you just have a slice or two, simply place them in an airtight container in either the fridge or freezer for up to a week.

A slice of carrot cake on a plate.

More Cake Recipes to Indulge In

Whether it’s for a special occasion or a treat yourself kind of day, these cake recipes are always a hit.

If you make this carrot cake, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Gluten-free carrot cake on a cake stand with frosting.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

5 from 34 votes
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
This gluten-free carrot cake is a rustic naked cake, made with three layers of perfectly spiced carrot cake, and slathered with a luscious cream cheese frosting!

Ingredients

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

  • 2 ½ cups almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup butter, ghee, or coconut oil, melted and room temperature
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, plus extra for garnish

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, or more as needed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 325F. Grease three 8-inch pans and line the bottom of each with a circle of parchment paper. 
  • In a medium bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and whisk together. In a separate large bowl, add the eggs, butter, applesauce and vanilla extract. With a whisk or hand mixer on medium speed, blend together for 30 seconds. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend for another minute, or until well combined. Fold in the shredded carrots and chopped pecans. 
    Carrot cake ingredients being mixed in a bowl.
  • 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. Cook the cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Once done, let the cakes cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Then remove them from the pan and continue cooling on a cooling rack. 
  • 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.
    Adding cream cheese frosting to carrot cake.
  • Divide the frosting between the layers and add a thin layer of frosting to the outside edge. Use a spatula to then scrape that off like a crumb coat. Top with a sprinkle of chopped pecans. 

Lisa’s Tips

  • 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 two 9-inch pans. Just adjust the cook time accordingly.

Nutrition

Calories: 630kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 42g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 119mg, Sodium: 537mg, Potassium: 329mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 43g, Vitamin A: 6070IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 118mg, Iron: 1.7mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Carrot Cake, Easter Dessert, Gluten Free Carrot Cake, Paleo Carrot Cake
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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Recipe originally published April 2017, but updated to include new photos.

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150 comments on “Gluten-Free Carrot Cake”

  1. I tried this recipe for Easter and it was a hit!! Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe and I have to say…adding the pineapple is key! Delicious and a recipe I will make over and over! Yum! Xoxo5 stars

  2. Made for Easter as it’s one of my husband’s favorite deserts. It was devine! This will definitely be on my rotation!5 stars

  3. I made this for Easter and it turned out amazing! It was my 1st time making a carrot cake as well as my 1st attempt at a layer cake. Really helpful directions and notes were a bonus with this recipe. Overall flavor and texture were great. Everyone wants me to make it again!5 stars

  4. Hi
    If I halve the recipe how many eggs should I use? 2 or 3? Thanks!

  5. This cake was SO moist and delicious. I think we even left it in the convection oven for ten minutes longer than planned and it came out great. Thanks for this amazing recipe! 5 stars

  6. I made this cake for easter and my whole family loved it. It was easy to make and quick to put together. The amount of frosting is also perfect because it’s not over powering.5 stars

  7. I made it for Easter and it was a real hit!!!5 stars

  8. Absolutely delicious!! We made this for Easter Sunday and the entire family enjoyed every single bite! No one could tell it was gluten free. Thank you!

    Wish I could share a photo 5 stars

  9. Love the recipe and turned out great even though I didn’t have all the exact ingredients!  I just halved the recipe, substituted baking powder for the baking soda/cream of tartar, and Bob mill’s gluten free flour for the tapioca flour. Also, made it in the bread maker -requires wet ingredients  at the bottom and dry ingredients at the top. 5 stars

  10. Wonderful carrot cake, so moist! I will bring it to my family for our Easter gathering. I live in Stockholm, Sweden where nobody seem to have heard of cream of tartar.. So I googled and substituted 2 tsp of baking soda with 6 tsp of baking powder, is this correct? It tasted delicious however I am still keen to know if I did it correctly, the cakes were perhaps a bit on the thin side and the correct amount of baking powder might be crucial?
    Thank you for all these wonderful recipes and inspiration for a beginner in the kitchen!
    Kind regards
    Ulrika

    • Hi Ulrika – so happy you loved the carrot cake! Yes, you can substitute baking powder for the baking soda and cream of tartar. No prob! This cake doesn’t rise much, they are very thin layers. So sounds like you baked it perfectly!

  11. Thank you so much! This recipe sounds delicious and I will immediately prepare them this evening.5 stars

  12. I’m so excited for this! Carrot cake is my favorite and I came to your website about a week ago hoping you would have a recipe (as your recipes are always winners), and I didn’t find one. I think I was a day too early. Low behold, here it is!!! Question though: Can I substitute crushed pineapple for the applesauce? Can’t wait!

  13. Hi Lisa,

    What would you recommend substituting the eggs with (and what measurement)?

  14. Hi, This looks soooooo good! Can I half the recipe and make cupcakes instead? If so, how would I adjust the baking time? Thanks!5 stars

    • Hi Denise – yes, you can certainly do that! I’m not sure on the time as I haven’t yet tried that myself. But I’d just keep an eye on them after about 25 minutes or so.

  15. My son is allergic to applesauce. Could you tell me what substitution would work in lieu of the 1/2 cup applesauce in the recipe? I would LOVE to make this for Easter! Thanks!

  16. You say using 2 cake pan’s instead of 3 then adjust baking tine accordingly.   What should that be????

    • Hi Peggy – with thicker cakes they’ll take longer to bake. I’d just keep an eye on them after 35 minutes, and test every couple of minutes with a toothpick to see if they’re done.

    • Incredibly delicious!! My family had no clue it was gluten-free and when I told them, they didn’t believe me. An absolute hit!5 stars

  17. Hello, this looks so good I can’t wait to make it. My question is different from the others actually…I’d like to know where you got your white cake stand holding that lovely cake? 😂 

  18. Made this yesterday as I needed to use up some carrots and it is so moist and good! I didn’t have three 8 inch cake pans so used two 9 inch pans and baked about the same time in a convection oven. It still looks pretty! I used about 2 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar for the frosting and it wasn’t too sweet. I love the chocolate cake recipe and now this one is a keeper too!

    Thanks so much!5 stars

  19. If I make cupcakes with this recipe the carrot cake how long do I how Do I keep them in the oven and at what temperature please thank you

  20. Dear Lisa
    Thank you for the wonderful and tastiest recipes you send to my inbox.
    I am always on a lookout to receive them.
    I’ve made some of your recipes and my family love them.
    I really appreciate your generosity in sharing them with us all.
    All the best
    from your Brazilian friend
    Gisa5 stars

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