Gluten Free Carrot Cake Or Cupcakes
Although its often assumed that a recipe for a cake can be used to make cupcakes, and vice versa, it isnt always the case. Since each cupcake is its own portion, theres a much larger surface area that is exposed to the heat of the oven.
When I baked the original cupcake recipe as a cake, it was just too fragile. It tasted great, but the cake cracked when I frosted and layered it. Adding 1/4 cup more flour to the recipe before baking it as a layer cake was the perfect fix.
Given the choice, I generally prefer to make cupcakes rather than a full cake. Cupcakes are easier to store, easier to force just a few on friends and neighbors , and easier to have on hand at a moments notice . By the way, my gluten free carrot cake whoopie pies would fill that need, too.
I had always assumed that my kids would also prefer cupcakes, but I finally asked all 3 of them, and it turns out that I was dead wrong! They said that they prefer cake for a very unoriginal, uninspiring reason
When you are served a piece of cake, its almost always more generous than when youre served a cupcake. Thats their whole reason. I thought about poking some holes in that logic but decided to just nod and smile. 🙂
If you love carrot cake and were hoping for a copycat of the famous Entenmanns iced carrot cake, youre in luck! I have a recipe for that secret-ingredient gluten free iced carrot cakethats as moist and tender as can be. Be sure to check that one out, too.
How To Make Gluten
This carrot cake is surprisingly easy to make-its made with simple ingredients, and its no different than making a regular carrot sheet cake! The ingredients are basically the same except you use gluten-free 1:1 baking flour. This is also sometimes called measure-for-measure flour.
Just be sure to pick a flour that contains xanthan gum that acts as a binder. I like using King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Measure-For-Measure Flour and a little bit of almond flour for the dry ingredients in this recipe.
There are a few tricks for making gluten-free cake in general. For this reason I highly recommend using recipes that are designed specifically to be gluten-free rather than swapping in gluten-free flour for regular flour in a standard recipe.
STEP 1: You start by beating together the eggs, white sugar and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. You can use the bowl of a stand mixer or a hand mixer for this either will work!
STEP 2: Slowly add the oil in a steady stream while beating until fully incorporated. Then whip the whole mixer until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
STEP 3: Add the dry ingredients, grated carrots, and pecans into the large bowl. I shred my carrots in the food processor to speed up the process. You can omit the pecans if you like but I love the little bit of texture! However if you ask me, golden raisins and pineapple have no place in a carrot cake! I like the nice light texture of a cake without the other mix-ins.
Tips For Making Gluten
This recipe is perfectly designed to work as written with gluten-free flour. I highly recommend seeking out recipes that are specifically designed to be gluten-free. However, here are few tips for making cake gluten-free if youre adapting a regular flour recipe.
Use a high-quality gluten-free 1:1 flour: I like King Arthur Flour. I also usually reduce the amount of flour slightly as gluten-free flour tends to be denser than regular flour.
Reduce the amount of oil slightly: Gluten-free flours arent as absorptive as regular flour so sometimes you need to cut back on the vegetable or canola oil slightly.
Add an extra egg: Eggs can give gluten-free baked goods an extra lift and needed structure.
Bake the cake longer: Gluten-free cakes often need longer in the oven than regular cakes. Be sure to test the center with a toothpick to ensure its cooked through.
Use parchment paper: If you want to be able to easily remove the whole cake from the prepared pan, line it with parchment paper and let some hang off the sides.
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Gluten Free Dairy Free Frosting
Ive successfully made cream cheese-style frosting dairy free by using 4 ounces Daiya nondairy cream cheese, 8 tablespoons nonhydrogenated shortening, and 6 tablespoons Earth Balance nondairy butter in place of the butter and cream cheese.
I find that nondairy cream cheese has a strong taste that can become unpleasant if used in large amounts, so I dont use a whole 8 ounces of it in place of 8 ounces of conventional cream cheese.
An easy gluten free dairy free alternative to making your own frosting is to buy a can of Pillsbury brand cream cheese frosting. Its gluten free, and contains no dairy ingredients .
Gluten Free Carrot Cake
The most delicious, moist, tender, carrot cake you will ever have. This was a top seller in all of my bakeries for years.
- 255g Gluten Free 1:1 Flour
- 2tspbaking Soda
- 226g brown sugar, packed
- 226g sugar
- 283g canola oil
- 224g eggs
- 226g carrots, peeled
- 180g walnutsfinely chopped
- 452g cream cheese room temp.
- 283g unsalted butter2 1/2 sticks, room temp.
- 325g confectioners sugar
- 1 1/2 tsppure vanilla extract or paste
- 1/2tspkosher salt
For the cake
Preheat oven to 350
Spray and lightly flour two 9 inch cake pans and place a parchment or wax paper cake circle in the bottom of each pan
Mix all of the dry ingredients in large bowl until incorporated and set aside
Grind peeled and cleaned carrots in a food processor until they are finely found and uniform. If there are a few large stray pieces just remove them. No one wants a hunk of carrot in their cake
Mix eggs, ground carrots and oil until just combined
Add the wet ingredients and the walnuts to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes.
Divide into prepared pans and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove cakes from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes in the pans.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake and invert onto parchment or wax paper to cool
For the frosting
Read Also: How To Make A Pie From Scratch
Expert Tips And Recipe Faq:
Can you make this cake dairy-free?
You can easily make this gluten free carrot cake dairy-free too. Just use a dairy-free butter substitute and dairy-free cream cheese, like Kite Hill or Daiya brands, for the frosting. The carrot cake itself is dairy-free since I use coconut oil instead of butter.
Why do carrot cakes fall?
If your carrot cake has fallen in the middle, this is usually because you over-mixed the batter. Always mix the batter until it is “just mixed”.
Is carrot cake healthier than regular cake?
I get asked this question a lot. The truth is it depends. Is this cake healthier than most? Maybe. I add almond flour for a bit of protein to balance out the sugars. I also use coconut oil instead of butter.
How long will this cake keep fresh?
This cake will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
How do you freeze this cake?
To freeze the cake, it is best to freeze it without the frosting. Wrap a cooled cake layer in plastic wrap, then slide it into a large zipper bag.
This post was updated from an older Sept 2019 post with better directions and tips.
My Favorite Pans For Gluten Free Carrot Cake And Cupcakes
This recipe is designed to be made either in 2 8-inch round cake pans, or the standard wells of a 12-cup muffin tin. I always recommend baking in cast aluminum, which conducts heat well but not too well, and is light in color so it doesnt burn the outside by attracting too much heat in the oven.
Since the recipe calls for 4 eggs, you can easily cut the ingredients in half, right down the middle, and make either 1 cake or just 12 cupcakes. The cupcakes do freeze really well, though, if you make the whole recipe but dont have a need for all 24.
If your pan is 9-inches in diameter, rather than 8-inches, it will make shorter cakes that bake faster. Begin checking at 25 minutes.
Keep in mind that theres no truly standard size well in a standard 12-cup muffin tin. So you may get more or fewer cupcakes than the recipe states.
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How To Make Moist And Fluffy Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch round baking pans and set them aside. If making cupcakes, grease or line two standard 12-cup muffin tins, and set them aside.
- In a large bowl add the flour, xanthan gum , baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and granulated sugar. Whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar, and whisk again to combine, working to break up any lumps in the brown sugar.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the oil, eggs, vinegar, vanilla and milk, and mix to combine. Add the pecans and mix until well combined. We do not like nuts so I leave them out.
- Add the freshly grated carrots to the mixture, and stir until evenly distributed throughout the batter. The batter will be thick, but relatively soft.
- If baking a cake place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cake is uniformly light brown on top, and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan rotating the pans once during baking .
- If baking cupcakes, fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way full and bake about 20 minutes.
- Cool completely before frosting cakes or cupcakes.
- I like my carrot best served cold. Once the cakes or cupcakes are completely cooled I cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours, up to overnight before I frost the cake.
Moist & Fluffy Gluten
This moist and fluffy gluten free carrot cake recipe makes the perfect cake or cupcakes. It’s loaded with fresh carrots, spices and topped with traditional or dairy-free cream cheese frosting. Perfect for Easter, or any time!
- 2 1/4CupGluten-Free 1:1 All Purpose Flour Blend
- 1tspbaking soda
- 1 1/2tspbaking powder
- 1/2cuppacked light brown sugar
- 1/2cup oil
- 4eggsroom temperature, beaten
- 1tspapple cider vinegar
- 1tsppure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cupwhole milk or milk substitute
- 2cupsgrated carrots
- 1/2cupchopped pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8ouncesCream Cheese
- 1stickUnsalted Butter
- 1lbPowdered Sugar
- 1tbspWhole milk or half & half
Read Also: 6 Inch Aluminum Pie Plates
How To Store And Freeze
- Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- According to the FDA, cream cheese frosting must be refrigerated within 2 hours. Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving to take the chill off.
- To freeze the cake, do not frost. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator until ready to frost.
- Cakes can be made one day in advance and, once cooled, kept covered at room temperature. Alternatively, once the cakes are cool, wrap and refrigerate for up to three days before frosting.
- If you have leftover frosting, transfer it to a small freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, label the bag with the name and date and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Defrost frosting in the refrigeratoruse it on cupcakes or thin it with some milk or water and drizzle it over a Bundt cake or quick bread.
Have Fun With Gluten Free Carrot Cake Mix
There are so many options for mix-ins in your carrot cake. In this recipe, theres a total of about 5 or 6 ounces of mix-ins.
You can use any combination of dry mix-ins that hold their shape in your cake. Here are some suggestions:
- Soft nuts, like pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
- White, dark, or milk chocolate chips
If youd like to mix pineapple into your carrot cake, youll get nothing but encouragement from mebut youll need our Entenmanns style gluten free carrot pineapple cake recipe. Dont try adding pineapple to this recipe, as it adds a ton of moisture and needs its own recipe.
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Why This Carrot Cake Is Great:
- You can make this delicious gluten free carrot cake without pineapple recipe as is, or include the healthy swaps I list below to make it healthier.
- The cake batter is so versatile! Not only does this make a tasty layer cake, but you can also use the gluten free carrot cake batter to make cupcakes, a log roll cake, or a sheet cake.
- This cake freezes beautifully if you need to make it ahead for your convenience. It will still get those rave reviews when it is thawed and topped with cream cheese frosting!
- One thing that is a little misleading is the size of the cake pictured. Believe it or not, this gluten free layer cake is small. I used these tiny layer cake pans to make this cake. This cake can feed 6-8 people, depending on how much they love the cake.
Why This Is The Best Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe
This batter makes cake or cupcakes that are light and fluffy, moist and tender, and never ever oily. Cakes made with oil instead of butter can be very moist but can also become oily if the ingredients are in just the proper balance, as they are here.
Carrots are perfect for cake because, when shredded and folded into a cinnamon-sugar cake batter, they bake up sweet and tender. They give off just enough moisture to help tenderize the cake, but they dont make the cake soggy.
This recipe uses a ton of shredded carrots , unlike some recipes that are carrot cake in name only. They soften during baking, but mostly hold their color and dont bleed into the rest of the cake.
Recommended Reading: Panbury’s Double Crust Pies
Gluten Free Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
Wait until you try this incredible gluten free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! If you love carrot cake, this delicious gluten free carrot cake recipe is for you. It truly is the best moist carrot cake recipe!
I am excited to share this recipe with you. This is the birthday cake I make for Mr. Fearless Dining every year for his birthday.
He is my cake tester, and if he says this is the perfect carrot cake, I believe him! Carrot cake is his thing and I love the family tradition this cake has become. If you are looking for a new favorite recipe to make for celebrations, give this easy recipe a try.
If you prefer a white cake for a birthday party, try this classic gluten free vanilla cake. If you prefer chocolate cake, this delicious gluten free chocolate raspberry layer cake is pretty incredible! made!
Try it for any special occasion like a birthday, a wedding, or any time you need a tried and true dessert recipe! If you love cake as much as we do, you will want to see all of the yummy gluten free cakes on my blog :-).
For More Gluten Free Baking Recipes Check Out These Amazing Recipes:
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice**
- generous dash of salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
- ¼ C Greek Yogurt, 2% or Full fat
- ½ C Maple Syrup***
* If you do not have oat flour, simply grind oats in blender/food processor for a few seconds until it resembles a flour. Measure AFTER blending.**Can sub with nutmeg, cloves, or more cinnamon.***You can cut this down to ¼ C if you want even lower sugar, but may need to add a splash more Almond milk, to keep everything moist.
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Dont Forget The Frosting
The frosting for this cake is reminiscent of cheesecake, slightly sweet and made with more cream cheese than butter. It is important to use a high quality vanilla extract, I prefer one that contains the seeds as well such as Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla bean paste. This cake was always the most popular item sold by the slice in my bakery cases and sold out every weekend no matter how much we made. I think the flavor and texture of this cake is even better after it is refrigerated over night.
This recipe also makes great cupcakes but in my bakery the cake slices were always more popular because of the cake to frosting ratio.