It’s a beautiful, hopeful spring day in the kitchen when you bake this Gluten Free Carrot Cake.

A blue plate with a slice of moist gluten free carrot cake with almond flour topped with cream cheese frosting

This recipe is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill.

This is carrot cake at its best!

  • Fully loaded with a kitchen sink of mix-ins.
  • Topped off with a lavish slather of cream cheese frosting.
  • Indisputably moist and tender, yet substantial enough to hold a slice, just as carrot cake should.

My goal with this recipe was twofold. First and foremost, I wanted to bake a killer carrot cake, one that would fill my heart with optimistic feelings of springtime and taste like a happy, celebratory moment.

Second, I wanted my carrot cake to be gluten free, without actually tasting gluten free.

I mean no disrespect to the great GF bakers out there; the problem is that gluten free cakes disappoint more often than they should. This one does not. It tastes like a truly, super-duper, incredibly perfect carrot cake!

This carrot cake recipe is made with almond flour (no all-purpose flour is used), so if you are having trouble getting a hold of all-purpose flour right now, no matter your dietary needs it’s a fantastic option that you’ll be thrilled you tried.

A beautifully decorated almond flour gluten free carrot cake topped with nuts

Not only did this recipe turn out to be a stellar gluten free carrot cake, if you use a non-dairy cream cheese frosting recipe, it is a slam-dunk dairy-free AND gluten free carrot cake. That means more carrot cake for all, regardless of your dietary restrictions (or pantry situation).

Everyone deserves to have a fabulous carrot cake in their lives. At the moment, this is mine. I hope it will be yours too!

A frosted cake with chopped nuts on a cake stand

How to Make Gluten Free Carrot Cake

The first thing you’ll notice about this recipe (and what makes it gluten free) is that instead of all-purpose flour, I made this carrot cake with almond flour. I’ve eaten my share of carrot cakes (Healthy Carrot Cake) and carrot-cake inspired recipes (Carrot Cookies; Carrot Cake Muffins), and I think the almond flour actually makes carrot cake taste even better.

Almond flour’s subtle, nutty flavor was made to be incorporated into carrot cake, which traditionally calls for nuts anyway. It’s as if the two were destined to be together all along.

Almond flour is heavier than all-purpose flour (you can’t substitute almond flour directly in a recipe calling for all-purpose flour), so my biggest obstacle with this recipe was ensuring the carrot cake came out tender and fluffy, not dense. Beating the eggs for several minutes first proved to be the trick, a tip I picked up from Bon Appetit.

Ingredients in bowls being used to make a dessert recipe

The Ingredients

  • Almond Flour. A fantastic ingredient for gluten free and everyday baking. Almond flour is made of ground almonds, so it maintains the same health benefits that almonds do, such as vitamin E, protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Quality here matters—I buy and recommend Bob’s Red Mill. The quality and consistency of almond flour can vary, and Bob’s never lets me down. I also appreciate that Bob’s puts a priority on how it sources and processes its ingredients to ensure they maintain the maximum nutritional value possible.

A bag of Bob's Red Mill almond flour used for gluten free carrot cake

  • Carrots. The other star ingredient in our carrot cake! Carrots make the cake naturally sweet, keep the batter moist, and their flavor is further enhanced by the warm spices and maple syrup. Plus, carrots are packed with Vitamin-A and potassium. Carrot cake for breakfast? It’s looking like a good idea.
  • Coconut. Another naturally sweet element that also adds texture.
  • Nuts. Toasted pecans or walnuts add a nice crunch and savory complement to the sweet flavors in this cake.
  • Maple Syrup. Instead of using only refined sugar, I wanted to naturally sweeten this cake with some maple syrup too. The flavor of maple syrup is incredible paired with the warm spices and nuttiness of the almond flour.
  • Raisins. I love adding raisins to carrot cake for their chewy texture and sweet flavor. If you’re not into them (they’re decisive, I know!) you can try golden raisins (which are sweeter), dried cranberries, or simply omit them.
  • Spices. A spiced carrot cake is a happy carrot cake. I used a classic combination of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for warmth and rich, deep flavors.

The Directions

  1. Prepare your cake pans with parchment paper, nonstick spray, and lightly dust them with almond flour.
  2. Toast the nuts at 350 degrees F. Once cooled, chop them into pieces. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy. This is key to making the carrot cake light, so don’t shortcut this step. Add the maple syrup and vanilla.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the carrots, oil, coconut, raisins, and nuts.
  5. Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the egg mixture. This also will help keep your cake fluffy.
    Two cake pans filled with batter for gluten free carrot cake
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing them to a wire rack.
  7. Prepare the cream cheese frosting, then pop it into the refrigerator until your cakes are cool. Frost and assemble your cake. I like to keep the sides “naked” for a fun, whimsy look. ENJOY!

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

  • To Make Ahead. Cake layers can be baked 1 day in advance. Wrap in plastic and store at room temperature. The frosting can also be made a day in advance; store it in the refrigerator, then frost the cake a few hours before serving.
  • To Store. Cover the cake, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let come to near room temperature prior to serving.
  • To Freeze. Cut your cake into slices, and individually freeze each slice in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 2 months. Remove and thaw slices as desired in the refrigerator. You also can freeze the whole cake or freeze individual layers.

An almond flour gluten free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and chopped nuts

More Favorite Almond Flour Recipes

It’s worth buying a bag of almond flour! You can use it in any of these almond flour recipes. Here are a few delicious recipe picks to get your started:

A slice of fluffy gluten free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on a blue plate

I had originally hoped to bake this gluten free carrot cake recipe for my family at Easter—none of whom have a dietary restriction but all of whom love a good carrot cake—but we’re putting our get-together on hold for the time being. Ben and I will be having a quiet Easter brunch at home to ourselves. While I thought baking an entire carrot cake might be a bit excessive for just two the two of us, I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to resist!

This cake saves well (see tips above to store and/or freeze) and tastes so magnificent, I know we’ll be delighted to enjoy the leftovers in the days and weeks that follow.

I hope this carrot cake brings a sense of peace, comfort, and optimism to your table too.

A blue plate with a slice of moist gluten free carrot cake with almond flour topped with cream cheese frosting

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

4.98 from 34 votes
This moist, fluffy Gluten Free Carrot Cake is made with almond flour, slathered in cream cheese frosting, and has the perfect classic taste and texture!

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs

Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients
  

FOR THE GLUTEN FREE CAKE:

  • 3 cups Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour plus additional for dusting pans
  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts or pecans plus additional for decorating the cake
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded carrots about 4 medium or 10 ounces
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two, 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then coat with nonstick spray. Lightly dust with almond flour, tapping out excess.
  • Spread the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until toasted and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Remove to a cutting board. Let cool slightly. Measure out ¾ cup, then finely chop for the batter. Reserve the rest for decorating the cake.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, and remaining 3 cups almond flour.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar on medium high until pale toasty brown, fluffy, and nearly tripled in volume, about 5 to 7 minutes. (Don’t shortcut this step—it helps make the batter airy). Beat in the maple syrup and vanilla.
  • Pat the carrots dry. Place in a clean medium mixing bowl. Stir in the oil, coconut, raisins, and chopped nuts.
  • With the mixer running on low speed, add one-third of the almond flour mixture to the egg mixture. Once it disappears, add half of the carrot mixture. Add the next one-third of the flour mixture, then remaining carrot mixture, then the last one-third of the flour, fully incorporating after each addition.
  • Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake layers until the cake is lightly browned on top, a toothpick inserted into the center of the layers comes out clean, and the tops spring back lightly when touched about, 20 to 25 minutes. The cakes will be a deep golden brown. Place the pans on a wire rack and let cool in the pans 10 minutes. Carefully run a dull knife around edges to release the cakes, then invert them onto the rack to cool completely.
  • While the cakes bake, prepare the frosting. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smoothly combined, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat until combined. Continue adding the last 1 cup sugar, until the frosting is as stiff and sweet as you'd like (the more powdered sugar you add, the stiffer and sweeter it will be). Add the vanilla, almond, and salt. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until smooth, ultra creamy, and a little lighter and fluffier, scraping down the bowl as needed, about 4 full minutes. Refrigerate to firm up a little while the cake continues baking and cools. If it firms up too much to spread easily depending upon how long you keep it in your fridge, let stand at room temperature prior to frosting, until it is easily spreadable.
  • Assemble the cake: Trim the domed top of one cake layer so that it is flat, then place the layer trimmed-side up a serving plate. Tuck strips of parchment paper around the edges to protect the plate from drips. Spread 1/3 of the frosting on top. Top with remaining cake layer, domed-side up. Spread the top with a thick layer of additional frosting. Keep the sides very lightly frosted (think decorative smear). Decorate with remaining nuts as desired.

Notes

  • TO MAKE DAIRY FREE: Use your favorite dairy-free or vegan cream cheese frosting recipe.
  • TO STORE: Cover the cake, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 
  • TO FREEZE: Cut your cake into slices, and individually freeze each slice in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 2 months. Remove and thaw slices as desired in the refrigerator. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 12)Calories: 588kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 11gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 83mgPotassium: 316mgFiber: 6gSugar: 42gVitamin A: 3659IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 149mgIron: 2mg

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I am sharing this post in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue to create quality content for you! For more healthy recipe inspiration, coupons, or to find a store that carries Bob’s Red Mill products near you, visit bobsredmill.com.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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129 Comments

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  1. Delicious!! I closely followed this recipe and it turned out great. I took this cake to a party and got raves! People were taking slices home for their spouses. I was told that this was the best carrot cake the guests had ever had, including from bakeries and restaurants! This cake was totally gone very quickly. My cake did not rise very well and I did need to bake it for 20 minutes longer than recommended. I will be making this cake again, soon!5 stars

  2. Can I make this in a 9×13 ? Much more portable for me.
    Also, have you had success making your own almond flour from almonds?
    Can’t wait to make thus!

    1. Hi Louise! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so you’d be experimenting with both alterations. I hope you enjoy the cake if you try it!

  3. I love the Gluten-free carrot cake served at Oh So Good and was looking for a good substitute. This recipe was GREAT! I used a glass baking dish and the results were excellent although, as mentioned by a previous reviewer, it did not rise much. The cake was moist and delicious. And it keeps well even when refrigerated. My new favourite!5 stars

  4. I made this using brown sugar Swerve and Confectionery white sugar. I cut back a little on both amounts of recommended sugar I.e.. cup sugar…I used 2/3. I think I’d be safe cutting back even more.

    I made it in a bunt pan…and cooked it 50 minutes.

    No sugar, no flour…and the most rich elegant dessert.5 stars

  5. The uncooked mixture was divine so I thought I’d have a delicious cake when finished but the cake didn’t rise and was still wet. I followed the recipe to a T but didn’t add the nuts – I added more coconut and almond meal. Could this have been the reason? So disappointed as it was a birthday cake that couldn’t be used.

    1. I’m sorry that you had trouble with this cake, Leonie. I haven’t heard of this happening before, and it’s so hard to say what might’ve gone wrong without being in the kitchen with you. Omitting the nuts shouldn’t have caused an issue. I (and many other readers) have really enjoyed this cake, so I truly wish it would’ve been a hit for you too!

  6. Can I substitute the canola oil for vegetable oil? My family doesn’t like canola so we never have it in the house.

    1. Hi Ashley! Other readers have used avocado oil and light-tasting olive oil with success. I hope this helps!

  7. My wife made this for me for my birthday. It was so moist and delicious. Carrot cake is my favorite cake and this recipe is absolutley and incredibly delicious. it is without doubt, the best carrot cake that i have ever had.5 stars

  8. I see that many had problems with the rising… a little afraid of starting with so many ingredients involved..

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Liliana! I recommend making sure all of your baking ingredients are fresh for the best results. I (and many other readers) have had great success with the recipe as written, so I hope you enjoy it too!

  9. Do you have other Gluten free receipts?? My family loved the carrot cake. I have had a hard time finding delicious gluten free recipes ( I have celiac disease). And the struggle has been a real challenge.

    1. Hi Janis! Since almond flour and regular flour react very differently in baking, I would not recommend this swap. However, you could experiment with using gluten free flour in this Healthy Carrot Cake recipe. I hope this helps!

  10. It was very very yummy. Delish! I reduced the sugar to 1/2 and syrup to 1/4 cup and it was still very sweet. I think next time I will reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup. I used dates instead of raisins and cardamon instead of cloves and added a touch of turmeric — mostly for color and a little earthy taste. I think that any combination of these spices would work.5 stars

  11. Can you make this recipe with just one cake pan? Could I just cut everything in the recipe in half? Wasn’t sure what to do!

    1. Hi Jaycee! I haven’t tried halving this recipe myself, but I think you could experiment with it. You could also make the recipe as directed and bake the cakes one at a time in a single pan (let the pan cool in between). I hope this helps!

  12. AMAZING!!! I’ve made this twice and it turned out beautifully. I reduced the powdered sugar in the frosting recipe to 1 cup. It was perfect.5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed the recipe, Jenn! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  13. This cake was amazing! I forgot to add the oil and left out the coconut, raisins and nuts because of different guests preferences and every person loved it! Thank you for such a delicious recipe!5 stars

  14. Took a chance and made this first-time for our family Easter dinner. Score!! Everyone loved it! It’s moist and delicious and easy. My husband already asked me to make it again. Thanks for a new addition to our holiday table
    (I did have to bake it about 40 mins to get it brown and firm so watch it and adjust for your oven)5 stars

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