Gluten-Free Carrot Cake: A spin on our favorite cake recipe

When I was growing up, carrot cake was always my birthday cake. Not by choice, mind you; it was just what my parents made. And I wasn’t usually happy about it.

You see, being from a family that focuses on eating organic food, lots of fruits and veggies, whole grain breads, etc., I always thought that carrot cake was my parents’ way of sneaking more veggies into my diet. I would have much preferred if they’d just baked a vanilla cake from a box, but… such is life when you can’t bake for yourself.

Now, as an adult, I have a newfound love and appreciation for carrot cake. I’ve realized that it’s really like any other cake – with sugar, fat and flour – just with the bonus of a few extra ingredients. Plus, I think the veggies inside make eating a slice for breakfast so much more acceptable. Cake for breakfast? Always a good idea.

Today’s recipe is a gluten-free version of our popular carrot cake recipe. I’ve made just a few simple tweaks, using our gluten-free flour as my base and baking the cake in a Bundt pan instead of round cake pans. I didn’t change the icing, drizzling it with our tasty cream cheese frosting; because really, what would a carrot cake be without cream cheese frosting?

And I have to say, this is the best gluten-free carrot cake recipe I’ve ever tasted. Not only does it make the most amazing breakfast cake, but it’s also just sweet enough to make it a perfect dessert option, too. Hope you enjoy it!

Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a classic Bundt pan, and set it aside.

How to make perfect gluten-free carrot cake via @kingarthurflourIn a large mixing bowl, beat together the following ingredients until smooth:

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
5 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt

How to make perfect gluten-free carrot cake via @kingarthurflourPlace the following in a mixing bowl:

2 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Whisk to combine.

How to make perfect gluten-free carrot cake via @kingarthurflourAdd the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and mix together until smooth. Fold in:

3 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

If you’re allergic to nuts or nuts simply aren’t your thing, you can leave them out and just use carrots.

How to make perfect gluten-free carrot cake via @kingarthurflourOnce combined, pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then loosen the edges with a knife and carefully turn it out onto a rack. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, beat together the following, until completely smooth:

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat in 1 1/2 cups glazing sugar or confectioners’ sugar, and 4 to 6 tablespoons milk or cream, adding enough of the milk/cream until the frosting is thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle the frosting over the cooled cake, and serve.

Perfect Gluten-Free Carrot Cake via @kingarthurflour

Now I’m sure you might also be wondering if you have to bake this cake in a bundt pan. The answer, is absolutely not! You can make this into a large sheet cake using a 9″ x 13″ cake pan, or you could make it into a layered cake by using 8″ x 2″ rounds or 9″ rounds. You’ll want to adjust the baking time for both – 35 to 40 minutes should be fine.

As for the frosting, I recommend not adding as much cream, so that it’s spreadable rather than thin enough to drizzle. You can reference our Carrot Cake recipe for these tips.

And now we’d love for you to bake, taste, and enjoy our Gluten-Free Carrot Cake.

Print just the recipe.

Alyssa Rimmer
About

Alyssa grew up in Vermont, attended the University of Vermont and now lives in New York City, where she bakes and writes recipes for her blog Simply Quinoa. She's been living gluten-free for over four years. Alyssa also authors her own food blog and enjoys ...

comments

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While we haven’t tested this recipe using sugar substitutes, Gayle, experimentation can be one of the most fun parts of baking. If you’re down for a little adventure and are open to the unexpected, give it a try! We recommend starting with substitution instructions from the substitute’s package or the manufacturer’s website since a swap won’t always be 1-for-1. If you’re curious, we have a couple blog articles that we think you’ll find interesting. The first was one of our earliest articles and in it we tested some of our favorite recipes using Splenda in place of sugar. The second shares sugar alternatives that we’d had a spread about in Sift Magazine. Happy experimenting! Annabelle@KAF

  1. Jaena

    This looks delicious! My cousin and I are trying to find a way to make a gluten-free version of our grandma’s infamous carrot cake recipe. She used King Arthur measure for measure gluten-free flour and said it tasted great, but it was very crumbly. Is there something that could help the cake’s texture? Is that what the xanthan gum does in the recipe? Could we add it (or something else) to ours?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Jaena! To help with the crumblies, one thing that can help is adding an extra egg, but you’re also welcome to add a little more xanthan gum since this is such a heavy cake — 1 teaspoon should do it. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      An 8×8 square pan is only 64 square inches, while a 9×13 is 117, so one 8×8 pan will only hold about half the batter. You could choose to make this in two 8×8 pans, however, and bake as suggested for the rounds/sheet cake. Happy baking! Mollie@KAF

  2. Denise Spooner

    Alyssa,

    I was reading Sunday’s recipe round-up from KAF, this one focused on using the sourdough one discards when feeding their starter. Could that be used in your recipe too? My wheat-allergic husband loves carrot cake and I am looking for things to bake, other than the KAF gluten-free sourdough english muffins recipe you added to the site. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can use discard sourdough starter in a recipe, bearing in mind that 1 Cup discard starter = 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water. You’ll find more tips about using discard starter in this blog. Happy baking! Irene@KAF

  3. Judith Suarez

    Already expecting a bumper crop of zucchini, I’m wondering if this basic recipe could be adapted for zucchini. I am drooling over the recipe for Zucchini + Lemon Glaze Cake from Modest Marce that you all just had on your facebook page and hoping I can figure out a gluten free version.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While it sounds easy to sub one veggie for the other, we fear the drier carrots work best in this recipe rather than the moisture zucchini might add. If you wring out or dry the zucchini it would be an interesting experiment. Gluten free recipes from a wheat version will need GF flour and 1/4 teaspoon xanthan per cup of GF flour. Happy baking! Irene@KAF

  4. lhk6770

    My daughter-in-law loves carrot cake, but she is not only gluten intolerant, but lactose intolerant. Any substitutes for the cream cheese frosting?

    Reply
  5. Doreen

    can you just use unsalted butter instead of vegetable oil? I know it may not be as healthy, but we don’t eat sweets too often and I generally substitute butter for oil as it really enhances the flavor

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The vegetable oil helps make this cake moist and tender. If you use butter, the cake may be slightly more dry but you are more than welcome to give it a try if you would like. If you are going to go ahead with this, try melted the butter before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. Happy gluten-free baking! Kye@KAF

  6. bbiswas

    I just made this again – a second time in a week. This time I substituted 8 oz apple sauce for the oil (added 3/4 oz oil to make up for the difference) just to make it a tad healthier. Used KAF gluten free multipurpose flour because that’s what I had at home. Used magic strips around 9″ cake pans. The cakes came out beautifully – moist and tender, and very flavorful. Super happy with the recipe. Waiting for the cakes to cool before slathering the cream cheese frosting. I will be using orange zest to flavor the icing, and reduce the amount of powdered sugar to suit our taste. Thank you for a very forgiving recipe!

    Reply

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