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This Gluten Free Carrot Cake is nutty, moist, sweet, and topped with a thick layer of sweet-and-tangy cream cheese frosting. Whether or not you eat gluten, you’ll adore this carrot cake recipe!

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

Why You’ll Love This Simple Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Recipe

  • Everything Carrot Cake Should Be. It’s 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.
  • Also Gluten-Free. 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!
  • Even Better Than the Original. Instead of all-purpose flour, I made this an almond flour gluten free carrot cake. 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.
A beautifully decorated almond flour gluten free carrot cake topped with nuts

5 Star Review

“A-mazing. This was the best carrot cake I have ever had, hands down better than any gluten version. This recipe is a keeper, and will make it often!”

— Tcab —

How to Make Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Ingredients in bowls being used to make a dessert recipe

The Ingredients

  • Almond Flour. 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.
  • Carrots. The other star ingredient in our carrot cake! Carrots are how you keep a gluten-free carrot cake moist. They also make the cake naturally sweet. Their flavor is further enhanced by the warm spices and maple syrup.
  • 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

Preparing pan for gluten-free carrot cake recipe
  1. Prepare. Line your cake pans with parchment paper, coat with nonstick spray, and lightly dust them with almond flour.
Chopping pecans for gluten-free carrot cake
  1. Get Started. Toast the nuts at 350 degrees F. Once cooled, chop them into pieces. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Beating eggs and sugar for gluten-free carrot cake recipe
  1. Beat the Wet Ingredients. 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.
Ingredients for gluten-free carrot cake in mixing bowl
  1. Mix the Oil and Add-Ins. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the carrots, oil, coconut, raisins, and nuts.
Beating batter for gluten-free carrot cake
  1. Finish the Batter. Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the egg mixture. This also will help keep your cake fluffy.
Two pans of gluten-free carrot cake batter
  1. Bake. 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.
Frosting gluten-free carrot cake
  1. Frost. Prepare the cream cheese frosting, then pop it into the refrigerator until your cakes are cool. Frost and assemble your gluten-free carrot cake. I like to keep the sides “naked” for a fun, whimsical look. ENJOY!
An almond flour gluten free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and chopped nuts

Storage Tips

  • 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 gluten-free carrot 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.

Meal Prep Tip

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.

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

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t Skimp on Beating the Eggs. 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.
  • A Note on Adding Pineapple. I haven’t tried making this a gluten-free carrot cake with pineapple myself, so it would be a total experiment. The extra moisture from the pineapple may cause the cake to be a little more crumbly, but the flavor should be delicious.
  • Make It Into Muffins. I think this recipe would make scrumptious muffins. Start checking the muffins around the 15-minute mark, tenting the muffin pan with aluminum foil to keep them from browning too much. They will likely need 25 to 30 minutes to bake.
A frosted cake with chopped nuts on a cake stand

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

4.87 from 121 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 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 2 hours

Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients
  

For the Gluten Free Cake:

  • 3 cups almond flour plus additional for dusting pans
  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts or pecans plus additional for decorating the cake
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup 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
  • 1/2 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
  • 1/4 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 the 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 on 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.

Video

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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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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422 Comments

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  1. Just made this for my bday cake and it’s superb in taste and texture!! It was incredibly moist and light and mine had Xmas cake vibes due to the spices and I added orange zest to the batter and lemon zest to the icing and pomegranate jewels, finely sliced ginger and raspberries on top. It made a very interesting cake that my bday gathering loved and had never had a cake like it before!5 stars

  2. Wonderful! I made this for a Thanksgiving birthday cake for my daughter who has celiac. I received so many compliments from guests who couldn’t believe it was gluten free and so delicious and moist! I modified slightly and didn’t add nuts, raisins or coconut. I doubled the cream cheese frosting recipe (I had some extra left). Highly recommended!!!5 stars

  3. Hi Erin! Thanks for posting such a yummy looking recipe! I’d like to make it for a birthday party for 50 people (gulp) next week and am thinking the sheet cake approach might be best to feed a big crowd. Does your recipe approximate to one 9″ x 13″ baking pan and would it cook up OK?….Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jenny! I’ve only tested the recipe as is but other readers have used a 9×13 pan with great success. Their tip was to increase the cooking time some. Hope this helps!

  4. What a recipie! You know it’s amazing when guests call the following day reminding you to send them the link to the recipie. I make half the icing mixture and substitute the middle layer for freshly whipped cream. As for the oil, I use MCT instead, and the carrot I use the pulp from my carrot juicing. I’ve now made this 4 times and every time it’s a winner.5 stars

  5. I’ve just made a variation on this recipe that I’ll never be able to replicate! But it is the tastiest, yummiest, scrummiest ever carrot cake. Your ‘secret’ of whipping the eggs and brown sugar for at least 5 minutes is the key. I did this in my big food processor with the non-cutting blade. But before I did that step I used the cutting blade to combine 1 cup of a toasted Dukkah mix I’d made as Christmas gifts for friends. It had mixed nuts, Sesame seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, ground black pepper and salt. This had been processed until still a little chunky and then spread on baking tray and toasted at 150°C for 15 minutes. Cooled completely then put into sterilised jars.
    For your recipe I added 2 cups of almond meal, the baking powder and more cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and grated lemon rind. Then blitzed for a few minutes until really fine.
    I then grated 3 large unpeeled carrots using the grater blade in the processor.
    With the beating blade I did the 5 eggs and 3/4 cup of brown sugar for 5 minutes, added the baking soda, Maple syrup, vanilla paste and oil and beat for another 2 minutes. Then combined the carrot, beat, nutty/spicy mix, beat until well combined. I have a very big processor bowl and it was almost full. Poured this into a prepared springform pan. Baked at 180°C/350°F for 50 minutes. Let cool. Frosting was whipped cream, 250g cream cheese, lemon rind, 2 tabs castor sugar and juice of 1/2 lemon. Unfortunately when I took the cake out of the pan, some stuck to the side. I scraped this into a small bowl and added some frosting……so yummy and not too sweet! Thank you for the inspiration! 💗😋5 stars

  6. Hi Erin, these look so good! I’m just wondering if you think the recipe will work fine if made into cupcakes instead? I’m hoping to make these for an anniversary party. Thanks :)

    1. Hi Jennelda! I’ve never tried the recipe this way, but you can certainly experiment with it, others have with success. To be safe, I’d suggest monitoring the cupcakes’ baking progress carefully and start checking them at about the 15 minute mark. You can then extend the time from there if needed. And, baking them at 350 degrees F should be fine. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  7. This cake is awesome! Whipping the eggs and sugar as you suggested, is the key. I had to cook them about 10 minutes longer – but they worked out so moist and delicious. I also used some parsnip with the carrot. I will definitely make this again. Thank you5 stars

    1. Hi Jessi, I’ve never tried the recipe this way, but you can certainly experiment with it, others have with success. To be safe, I’d suggest monitoring the cupcakes’ baking progress carefully and start checking them at about the 15 minute mark. You can then extend the time from there if needed. And, baking them at 350 degrees F should be fine. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  8. Gluten free baking has been the biggest challenge for me since being diagnosed with Celiac seven years ago … until Erin came to the rescue. This AMAZING carrot cake is the latest example! Perfection! I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten carrot cake but I surely remembered the taste and Erin’s recipe recreated that at first bite. Moist, dense, flavorful, plenty of textures and beautiful besides. Followed the directions faithfully though I needed to add about 6 minutes to the baking time. This is easy enough and good enough to make regularly. Why wait for a special occasion?5 stars

    1. Hi Peg, I’ve never tried the recipe this way, but you can certainly experiment with it, others have with success. To be safe, I’d suggest monitoring the cupcakes’ baking progress carefully and start checking them at about the 15 minute mark. You can then extend the time from there if needed. And, baking them at 350 degrees F should be fine. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

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