The Best Carrot Cake

Combined two family recipes to create the yummiest Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting ever! In fact, this was the hands down winner after many, many taste tests! Plus, NEW option to halve the recipe and make 12 cupcakes if you want the taste of carrot cake but don't need an entire cake!

The best carrot cake gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com
The Best Carrot Cake

Moist, Flavorful and a total crowd pleaser!

New!  I just added a cooking video here on this page, so you can see how easy it is to make this Carrot Cake or Carrot Cake Cupcakes!

If you’re new to this website, at the bottom of every recipe page is a printable recipe with exact measurements and directions.

Hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

Best Carrot Cake gluten free www.healthygffamily.com

Update April 2020: We won’t be celebrating Easter with our usual big family get together this year, but we will still be enjoying some of our favorite Spring dishes and desserts.  And this Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is both a classic and a family favorite among many at our usual Easter table!

Since many of you, like us, won’t be celebrating with a large family gathering, I added an option to cut this recipe in half and make Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes!

With cupcakes, you can still enjoy the great taste of carrot cake (and cream cheese frosting!) without have to make or eat an entire cake!

The cupcakes should freeze well too if you have extra. I would just freeze without the icing and add icing when you eat them.

So whether you enjoy  this recipe as cake or cupcakes, enjoy!The best carrot cake gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

Original post…

Is there any more iconic Spring dessert than carrot cake?

With one week till Easter, we are finally sharing my family’s recipe for the BEST Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting!

Several in my extended family (including me) love carrot cake and we have a taste tested countless recipes over the years and most recently in the last few weeks…  This one developed by my mom is the hands-down winner.

It is a combination of my Grandmother’s and my husband’s Aunt Anne’s recipes and it is ?.

The best texture –soft and moist, and the best flavor– just the right amount of sweetness.

And the cream cheese frosting is so yummy!

It is one of the easiest cakes to make!

Plus it can be made in as a double layer cake, in a tube pan or even a 9×13 in pan, whatever works for you!

And it’s made with real, whole food ingredients.

For the cake you’ll need:

grated carrots

eggs

sugar

oil

baking powder

baking soda

vanilla extract

cinnamon

gluten-free flour (we used GF Jules, affiliate link)

pineapple chunks (only  1/4 cup!)

and chopped walnuts (omit if nut free). 

The best carrot cake gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

As an aside, you may have noticed that we are affiliate for GFJules.  To learn more about why we love GFJules flour and why we have used it for 10 years, click here.

Bonus: at the bottom of that post is a one-time use affiliate Discount Code.

And importantly, purchasing through an affiliate link does not change your cost at all. It generates a small percentage of the sale for me, and purchasing through an affiliate link helps me fund this website and all the recipes I share, so thank you!

Back to the Best Carrot Cake….

Whether you’re making the cake in tube pan or 2 round pans ( I actually used 2 9″ spring form pans because I find it easier), I find it helpful to cut out a piece of parchment paper in the shape of the bottom of the pan.

Then grease the parchment paper along with the rest of the pan.

This will allow the cake to come out of the pan cleanly.  You just peel back the parchment paper after baking.

See how clean they come out of the cake pans?

The best carrot cake gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

OPTION: with Easter being a much smaller affair this year, I added an option to cut the recipe in 1/2 and make 12 cupcakes.

Cupcakes are such a great option when we really want carrot cake but not an entire cake!

You use all the same ingredients (just 1/2 the quantity!) and follow all the same instructions, up until pouring the batter into the pan. Instead pour of spoon the batter evenly into 12 muffin tins.

And Bake!

Next up… my favorite part… cream cheese frosting!

The frosting is a classic…

For the frosting you’ll need:

confectioner’s sugar

cream cheese

butter or dairy free butter

vanilla extract.

The best carrot cake gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

It is creamy, smooth and delish!

Best Carrot Cake gluten free www.healthygffamily.com

If frosting a double layer cake, I like to start by frosting the top of one cake, then placing the second cake on top, frosting the top and then the sides.

You can feel free to decorate is any way you like… sprinkle with walnuts, top with some carrot sticks or jelly beans or just eat as is!

The best carrot cake gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

Hope you love it as much as we do!

Looking for more Easter recipes and idea, click here to see our picks.

Scroll down for recipe and leave a comment if you try.

Recipe

4.9 from 11 reviews
The Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This recipe is a combination of two family recipes and is the best gluten-free carrot cake hands down! Super easy recipe can be made in a tube pan, 9 x13 pan, or a double layer cake using 2 9 inch round or springform pans. Option: Recipe can be cut in half and make 12 cupcakes.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, Easter, Spring
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free optional, Nut-Free optional
Serves: 1 cake
Ingredients
Cake (Option: to make 12 cupcakes, use ½ of all the ingredients)
  • 1 ½ cups Canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups gluten free flour with xanthan gum (we used GF Jules, affiliate link)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups grated carrots ( cut carrots into medium size pieces and pulsed them in a food processor until what grated would look like)
  • ¼ cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts (omit if nut -free)
  • ¾ cup raisins, optional. (we didn't use)
Frosting
  • 1 8oz cream cheese room temperature (or dairy free alternative)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or dairy free butter, room temperature
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and Grease pans. If using tube pan or round cake pans, cut our parchment paper to fit the bottom in the shape of the circle. Grease the parchment paper well too. This will make it easy to removed cake from pans. If making cupcakes, line 12 full size muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Mix oil and sugar thoroughly in mixer.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beat thoroughly after each addition.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl with a pastry cutter or fork.
  5. Add dry ingredients alternately with the grated carrots to the wet ingredients.
  6. Add vanilla and drained pineapple. Mix thoroughly.
  7. Add walnuts and raisins if using. Again, beat thoroughly.
  8. *Pour into pan.
  9. *Bake at 350 for 30-40 mins if baking the 2 9 inch cakes. Bake at 50 - 60 min if baking the tube or 9x13 inch cake, or until a cake tester comes out clean. As with all Gluten-free baking, if you feel the top is browning but the center isn't fully cooked, cover loosely with foil and continue to bake.
  10. *If making cupcakes, pour or spoon batter evenly into 12 prepared muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 mins, then loosely cover and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes or until toothpick comes out of center cleanly.
  11. Let cool completely before removing from pan(s) and peel back parchment paper off the base of the cake.
Frosting
  1. Cream all ingredients together and frosting on cake once cake is baked and cooled.
  2. If frosting a double layer cake, frost the top of the bottom cake, then place the second cake on top, frost the top and then the sides.

 

The best carrot cake gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

43 thoughts on “The Best Carrot Cake

  1. One of the best carrots cakes I’ve ever had! Made this for my boyfriends birthday (he’s not gluten free) and he absolutely LOVED it! Already asking me too make another one. Will definitely be making it for easter! Thank you for this awesome recipe. 10/10!

  2. Hello! Is there a substitute you might recommend for canola oil? I don’t have it in my pantry and am trying to limit trips to the grocery store! Perhaps bananas or apple sauce?

    1. I completely understand! Unfortunately I don’t think this recipe would work without an oil of some kind… Do you have any neutral oil– grapeseed? maybe even coconut oil? I know it’s not the same but if you cut the recipe in half and just make 12 cupcakes, you only need 3/4 cup…. sorry!

  3. I made these cupcakes yesterday, and my husband and I LOVE them! So moist and delicious with or without the frosting. The walnuts added a really nice crunch.

  4. Hi! I’m allergic to pineapple. Would it be a big deal if I left it out? Should I add something else for moisture?

  5. This was the best cake recipe I have ever tried!! This cake was very moist, flavorful and delicious! I went ahead and did add in walnuts and the texture was great. I have tried so many other recrecipiespes, but this one was a huge success!

  6. This cake is seriously delicious! Even my husband loves it and he’s not a big fan of carrot cake. I’ll definitely be making this one again and again! Thanks for the great recipes. Cant wait to try more of them!

  7. This cake was amazing ! My daughter has celiac disease and she helped make this cake. The family enjoyed this cake so much-they would have never known it was gluten- free. We used bobs mill 1 for 1 four and baked 45 min in 2 9inch dark cake pans. ☺️

  8. The best carrot cake i have ever had!!! My family is a huge fan of carrot cake so i wanted to make this recipe for dessert on Easter. I am the only one who is gluten free and usually the gluten free dessert options are sub par and obvious by taste. well…..everybody went back for seconds and we will probably make it again next week just because. We added a handful of raisins and walnuts inside and the texture was great. It was so delicious and moist but also light and very flavorful. Thank you so so much for this recipe!!

  9. This carrot cake is delicious and I can eat gluten!! I made it for my Celiac son but my whole family gobbled it up . I would never have guessed it was gf— so moist and no gf aftertaste which sometimes comes with gf recipes .
    Going to try Lemon cheesecake squares next
    Thanks for sharing such terrific recipes !
    It deserves 5 stars but it won’t let me pick 5 stars below so I went with 4

  10. Hello!
    Can I make this with coconut oil or even vegetable oil or avacado oil. I don’t have canola. Which one would be best? Also instead of sugar can we use monk fruit sweetener?

    Thanks

    1. Great question! I have never made it with another oil but I think vegetable or coconut oil would work fine! Vegetable would probably be the closest. But I have never used monk fruit sweetener so I really can’t speak to that, sorry!

  11. Wow! Karen you’ve done it again!! This carrot cake is outstanding! And so easy!!! I did have to sub in apple sauce for the pineapple as I had already done my weekly grocery store trip but it’s perfect! And the frosting is yum! I’ve managed to eat half of it out of the bowl…I’m never really sure how long to cream it for so i may have overdone it a little…Thank you for sharing this!!

  12. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this recipe is! This was one of the best carrot cakes I have ever had…better than any bakery! Everyone loved it and we will be making this again for sure! If I could give it more stars, I would! Absolutely delicious!!!!

  13. This is by far the best carrot cake I have had. So easy and delicious and moist. I made it into two 9” rounds and it was perfect!

  14. Hi! I wanted to get your thoughts on making this cake ahead of time and then freezing it (just the cake part). Then defrosting and making the cream cheese frosting fresh and serving? My son has asked for carrot cake for his birthday but we’re renting a house and skiing over his birthday weekend. I really don’t want to pack and lug all the baking items I’ll need…including my Kitchen Aid mixer. I was recently watching a Barefoot Contessa and she said one could do just that with her chocolate mocha cake. Thank you!

    1. I completely understand! I haven’t done it with this cake but the it should work fine! One tip: when you de-thaw the cake, the top may be moister than if you had just baked it and served it, so when you make your frosting, you might have to make it a little thinner (wetter, loose) so that it spreads without “picking up the cake”… I would make sure the butter and cream cheese are very room temperature before making the frosting… hope that helps!

    1. Hi! I’ve never made this cake without eggs… you might be able to make the cupcakes, which is half the recipe and use your favorite egg substitute, but with 4 eggs for the full recipe, it might not work as well

  15. I just tried it without pineapple and it was awesome!! I added a little bit of pumpkin spice to the cinnamon and substituted coconut oil. I also use 1 cup or maple syrup to cut back on the sugar. 😊I didn’t bake it the additional 10 minutes. 20 minutes was perfect. They are very moist and you definitely can’t tell they are gluten free!!thanks for the recipe!

  16. Hi There!
    I would like to add some shredded coconut, do you have any idea of how much should I add?
    Thank you!!

  17. Hi! Looking forward to giving this recipe a try. Question…trying to cut out sugar. Would coconut sugar be an appropriate substitute or what would you suggest to make the cupcakes? Thank you.

    1. I’ve never made them with coconut sugar but it should work. It’s not a sweet cake/ cupcake but you could probably even cut sugar to 3/4 cup (v 1 cup in cupcakes) but I would not do less than that because sugar impacts texture, not just flavor. Let me know if you make them.

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