Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


I saw a lot of carrot cake recipes last week leading up to Easter while I was planning to make one for yesterday, too. I’d forgotten it’s sort of an Eastery dessert. Easter is also the time I celebrate my birthday with my extended family and carrot cake has always been one of my favorite cakes. It’s kind of an odd choice(or so I’m told), but I love it. I even asked to have it as my graduation cake after 6th grade when everyone else was choosing chocolate and chocolate fudge; it’s their loss.

I haven’t had carrot cake since eating gluten-free a few years ago and have been meaning to make this for months. Of course, when I did decide to make it things started going wrong. I realized Friday night I only had one cake pan, so a layer cake was out. I also didn’t have a grater so I had to peel and chop the carrots. I completely forgot to add the pineapple I bought just for this, and as I went to add in the walnuts I remembered my aunt’s allergic to walnuts, so I swapped in some pecans at the last minute. Still, this was one of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever had.  


This recipe makes one cake layer. You can double it to make more for a layered cake. To make the cake dairy-free, use a vegan cream cheese substitute. I’d recommend something organic since vegan cream cheeses tend to have odd ingredients.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes


  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts(or any other nut)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk or cream



  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix together the carrots, raisins, walnuts, coconut, almond flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Mix in the maple syrup, eggs, and coconut oil until the batter is even.
  4. Pour the batter into a 12-inch cake pan and spread out evenly.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes until the cake rises and the center has cooked through.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl with the cream cheese.
  8. Add in the extract and milk and beat until completely mixed.
  9. Spread on top and around the sides of the cake.
  10. Garnish with extra nuts if desired.


I’ll always have a soft spot(and empty stomach) for carrot cake. Since there are vegetables and fruit in this I’m going to go ahead and say it’s fine to eat the leftovers for breakfast, too.

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25 Responses to Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Amber K
    April 9, 2012 | 12:53 pm

    I have never been a fan of carrot cake, but I don’t like chocolate cake either. I wonder where vanilla cake falls on the spectrum of popularity!

  2. Katie
    April 9, 2012 | 11:42 pm

    Ooooh heck YES, I want (carrot) cake. This looks perfect.

  3. Jessy (squeezetheday)
    April 10, 2012 | 2:23 pm

    What a gorgeous cake! I’ve never had carrot cake, but it looks delicious.

  4. Julia
    April 10, 2012 | 2:52 pm

    I have like 28 thousand favorite desserts, but carrot cake is in the top 5. I love that it’s gluten free without a bunch of crazy crap ingredients too!

  5. emily (a nutritionist eats)
    April 10, 2012 | 7:19 pm

    LOVE carrot cake – not sure when the last time I had some was but this version sounds great – I can’t believe it is made will all almond flour!

  6. Sarah @ The Healthy Diva
    April 12, 2012 | 6:46 pm

    This looks super yummy!!! Carrot cake has to be one of my favourite desserts. Actually it’s a pretty close toss up between carrot cake and apple pie…and you bet I’ll eat leftover apple pie for breakfast…it’s got fruit in it so I deem it a healthy start to the day 🙂

  7. Melissa @TryingtoHeal
    April 12, 2012 | 9:50 pm

    Oh man…I want carrot cake now. And actually been wanting it for some time! I need to get on this!

  8. Anna @ The Guiltless Life
    April 23, 2012 | 2:26 pm

    Oh this looks wayyyy too good. Love that it’s gluten-free! The photos are amazing too – love the staging!

  9. monica
    April 24, 2012 | 7:35 pm

    Great recipe! I’ve tried it out, highly recommended 🙂

  10. Karen
    July 23, 2012 | 2:38 pm

    This cake was awesome. Moist!

  11. […] Adapted from from The Wannabe Chef […]

  12. Vibeke
    September 18, 2012 | 3:26 pm

    Baking it now for my son’s birthday. 😀

  13. Mandy
    September 26, 2012 | 7:00 pm

    Hi! This recipe turned out great- the rest of my family doesn’t eat gluten-free, and as this cake was just for me, we halved the recipe and poured it into a mini loaf pan, and a mini bundt pan. It tasted great in both- It didn’t taste gluten-free and the texture was good-however, in the bundt pan, the top crumbled a bit. **Note** This recipe also turns out great if you eat sugar-free- just replace the cane sugar with coconut sugar, and use a sugar free frosting recipe- I used: 1 8 oz brick cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups honey (or agave or maple syrup), 1/4 cup butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 1/2 cups tapioca flour/starch. Prepare as usual.

  14. Marlene Meyer
    November 24, 2012 | 5:24 pm

    I was very excited about this recipe as the ingredients were just was I was looking for. I followed the recipe exactly. I just took it out of the oven (baked for 42 minutes), smells good, but it did not rise. As there were no 12″ round pans available I settled for a 9×13. It only covered the bottom about an inch. It seems like IT DID NOT RISE! Right now it’s cooling and I will serve it anyway as it’s my husband’s birthday!
    Any ideas why it did not rise? Is the cake rise at the end of the bake cycle and perhaps I should have left it in longer?

    • Wannabe Chef
      November 24, 2012 | 5:31 pm

      Almond flour typically doesn’t rise as much as a glutinous flour. Most of the rising comes from the baking soda. If your baking soda has been opened for a while it might be less active and that would definitely hinder the cake from rising.

  15. Overdue Christmas Post | bugontherun
    January 8, 2013 | 11:43 pm

    […] For dessert, I made this Carrot Cake  […]

  16. David MacDevitt
    February 4, 2013 | 5:41 am

    I love carrot cake but I don’t like it when it has a cheese frosting though. I think my mother will be interested in making this recipe.

  17. lauren
    March 15, 2013 | 10:25 am

    This looks so good. I’m 5.5 months pregnant and just got the craziest carrot cake craving…at 10am! I love your almond flour cookies, as do my non gf family members! I use TJs almond flour and it’s a little grainy, so I’m wondering how’s the texture of a cake made with almond flour? Is it similar to a non gf cake?
    I’ll make these regardless, but if it’s much denser, I might go for cupcakes instead.

    • Wannabe Chef
      March 15, 2013 | 12:40 pm

      It’s a little more grainy than a typical cake made with cake flour but if you can find fine, blanched almond flour it will be soft and light.

  18. […] original recipe from The Wannabe Chef was gluten-free but not vegan, so I adapted it slightly. The recipe said to use a 12″ round […]

  19. Sophia
    March 30, 2013 | 2:56 pm

    So I made this carrot cake; very easy! Tastes really good too. I probably will use less sugar or maple syrup next time but the texture is great! Only instructions in this recipe that is not accurate is the baking pan. I used a 12 inch baking pan as said in the recipe and the cake came out very thin and did not rise much. Next time I am definitely using an 8 inch pan. Made this for Easter this weekend and unfortunately it does not “look” pretty lol.

  20. […] sans gluten et sans lactose que j’ai le plus aimé. J’ai pris la recette sur un autre blog et je me suis bien régalée. Pour une question de goût personnel, je n’ajoute pas de […]

  21. […] Source: […]

  22. […] You can see the recipe and more information at: […]