Home > Desserts > Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Gluten-Free Carrot Cake April 11, 2022 | 6 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. This Gluten-Free Carrot Cake is ridiculously tasty, perfectly spiced, ultra moist, and tastes completely indulgent. It can be our secret this cake has no refined sugars, is dairy-free, gluten-free, and needs no flour. Try some of our other favorite gluten-free treats like these Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffins, Gluten-Free Apple Muffins, or Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake. A Healthy Carrot Cake Don’t get me wrong–a sugar-filled and butter-laden Carrot Cake has every part of my heart. But with the amount of carrot cake consumed in my house (have I told you it’s my oldest’s all-time favorite dessert?!), I thought it was time to create a more nutritious alternative. Of course, with the parameters that all the flavor and texture elements were still intact. And wow, does this cake deliver! It took countless batches to perfect, but I am elated with the result and can’t wait to hear what you all think of this recipe! So while this recipe is naturally gluten-free*, it’s also filled with nutritious ingredients. Let’s break it down: No flour. We use old-fashioned oats instead. No refined sugar. Really, there is none in there! We’re sweetening this cake with carrots and pure maple syrup — a natural sweetener from the sap of trees. One full cup of carrots. They’re a very nutritious vegetable–just ask Buggs Bunny! Cashews. We thicken the cake with cashews, the “secret” ingredient in this cake! Cashews are loaded with good-for-you fats and nutrients among other benefits. Protein. This recipe is packed with protein, thanks to the nuts and eggs. Dairy-Free. We use plant-based milk (almond milk). Anti-inflammatory spices. This recipe uses cinnamon and ginger, which are surprisingly full of health benefits! *While the ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten-free, make sure to check all your ingredient labels to be sure they weren’t processed in a facility with gluten. QUICK TIP Looking for Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes? Try these Healthy Carrot Muffins and top them with this Cream Cheese Frosting! How To Make A Gluten-Free Carrot Cake While I don’t know of any gluten-free carrot cake mixes, you’ll never want to use one when you see how quick and easy this recipe is to make. No fancy mixers or even bowls are needed for that matter. All we use is a blender! We make the entire batter in the blender in different stages. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides frequently (or as needed) to ensure all the ingredients are blending and incorporating well. Once the batter is fully blended and smooth, transfer it to a baking pan and bake. While it’s baking, you can whip together the optional frosting and then frost the completely cooled cake. QUICK TIP This recipe is quick and easy to make, but you do need a good, powerful blender (think Blendtec® or Vitamix®) to break down the cashews and oats. Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Recipe Ingredients Below are a few ingredient-specific notes: Pure maple syrup is a natural sweetener (unlike corn syrup or pancake syrup) made from the sap of a maple tree, which is boiled down to a thicker consistency. Maple syrup has no added ingredients and is all natural — the best way to sweeten this cake and add the perfect amount of moisture. Cashews. We love dry-roasted and lightly salted cashews best — more flavor without any extra effort on your part. (Here’s what we use in this cake). Old-fashioned oats. Although it would make sense that any oats would work since they’re getting blended anyways, it’s important to use old-fashioned to ensure you get the right measurement. Both quick and steel-cut oats are smaller, denser, and more compact so measurements would be off and the cake would end up too dry. Almond milk. Any milk will work in these bars; we tested them with cow’s milk and plant-based milk. The recipe is written with plant-based milk to keep these bars as nutritious as possible, but use whichever you prefer. Corn starch. This is an important ingredient since we aren’t using flour and need some additional support and thickness. How To Make A Moist Gluten-Free Carrot Cake The moisture secret in this recipe is the carrots. Avoid packaged pre-shredded carrots; they are hard, dry, and far less flavorful. When you grate your own carrots you’ll notice how much more moisture the carrots have–and that’s a must for the recipe to properly work (we’re relying on that moisture!). Grab large carrots, peel ’em, and grate them on the small holes of the grater. Optional Cream Cheese Frosting The cream cheese frosting, while somewhat healthier than most cream cheese frostings, does have dairy and quite a bit of refined sugar. If you’re looking to avoid both/either or simply want the most nutritionally-sound cake, leave off the frosting. Or try this Healthy Cream Cheese Frosting instead. If you plan to make the frosting, here are a few tips: Set cream cheese out at room temperature: We want the cream cheese to have plenty of time to soften, so start the process of making this cake by pulling it out of the fridge early. Don’t forget the flavor enhancers. Salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract add nuance and flavor to the frosting — even though these are small amounts, they make a big difference! Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add more or less powdered sugar, according to personal taste preferences. More sugar will make the frosting sweeter and firmer, and less sugar will leave the frosting tangier and softer. Only frost the cake once it has completely cooled. Otherwise, the frosting with change textures from the heat of the cake. Recipe Tips Use a light-colored 8×8-inch pan and line it with parchment paper for easy cake removal. It may sound silly but the light-colored pan reflects heat differently than a dark one. Line the pan. Be sure to line the pan with parchment paper for easy removal of the cake. Leave an overhang of parchment paper so you can pull up on the overhang to remove all the cake — it’s so much easier to cut cake squares out of the pan rather than in the pan. Use fresh ingredients. For the softest and most tender cake possible, use fresh baking agents and don’t reduce the amount of maple syrup. We tried less and the cake was not as moist! Doneness cues. You’ll know this cake is done baking when it’s no longer glossy looking on top, the edges are firm and lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. More Nutritious Baked Goods: Flourless Banana Muffins with miniature chocolate chips Healthy Brownies made with Greek yogurt Healthy Chocolate-Covered “Caramels” using dates Pistachio Cake with a light cream cheese frosting Healthy Zucchini Bread made with Greek yogurt FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Gluten-Free Carrot Cake 5 from 3 votes - Review this recipe This Gluten-Free Carrot Cake is ridiculously tasty, perfectly spiced, ultra moist, and tastes completely indulgent. It can be our secret this cake is actually free of refined sugars, dairy-free, gluten-free, and there's no flour needed. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Gluten-Free Carrot Cake 5 from 3 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe This Gluten-Free Carrot Cake is ridiculously tasty, perfectly spiced, ultra moist, and tastes completely indulgent. It can be our secret this cake is actually free of refined sugars, dairy-free, gluten-free, and there's no flour needed. Course Brunch, Dessert Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegetarian Keyword Gluten Free Carrot Cake, healthy carrot cake muffins Prep Time 25 minutes Cook Time 32 minutes Total Time 57 minutes Servings 16 Bars Calories 183kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $6.43 Equipment8x8-inch baking pan, parchment paper, nonstick sprayPowerful blender (think Vitamix or Blend-tec) (Note 1) IngredientsCarrot Cake▢ 1 cup cashews (Note 2)▢ 1 cup old-fashioned oats (Note 3)▢ 3/4 cup pure maple syrup (Note 4)▢ 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (measure when melted)▢ 2 large eggs▢ 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)▢ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract▢ 1 teaspoon baking soda▢ 1/2 teaspoon salt▢ 1/4 teaspoon each baking powder, ground nutmeg▢ 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon▢ 1/8 teaspoon each ground ginger, ground cloves▢ 1-1/2 tablespoons corn starch (Note 5)▢ 1 cup finely grated carrotsOptional Cream Cheese Frosting▢ 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature▢ 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract▢ 1/8 teaspoon each: fine sea salt, ground cinnamon▢ 1-3/4 cups powdered sugar▢ 1 tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk or milk of choice▢ Optional: toasted and coarsely chopped pecansUS - Metric USMetric InstructionsPREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside for now.CAKE: Add the cashews, oats, maple syrup, and coconut oil (measured when melted) to a large powerful blender (Blend-tec/Vitamix) and blend until fairly smooth, 60 seconds. Add in the rest of the cake ingredients EXCEPT the carrots. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 6-90 seconds. Stop and scrape down edges as needed. Meanwhile, grate carrots on the small side of the grater and measure to get 1 full cup. Gently stir the carrots into the batter in the blender and then pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to scrape out every bit. BAKE: Smooth the top with the spatula and bake for 28-34 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned at the edges and set in the middle (toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean). (32 mins is perfect in my oven!) OPTIONAL FROSTING: Meanwhile, place softened cream cheese in a large bowl. (Give it ample time to warm to room temperature so your frosting isn't chunky.) Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese with the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar (beating in between additions) until smooth and creamy and to your desired consistency. Add milk and beat until smooth. DECORATE: Frost the completely cooled cake evenly with the frosting. If desired, top the frosting with chopped pecans. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Blender: You'll need a good, powerful blender (think Blendtec® or Vitamix®) to break down the cashews without over-heating the machine. Note 2: Cashews: We love dry-roasted and lightly salted cashews best — more flavor without any extra effort on your part. (Here's what we use in this cake.) Note 3: Oats: Although it would make sense that any oats would work since they’re getting blended anyways, it’s important to use old-fashioned to ensure you get the right measurement. Both quick and steel-cut oats are smaller, denser, and more compact so measurements would be off and the cake would end up too dry. Note 4: Pure maple syrup is a natural sweetener (unlike corn syrup or pancake syrup) made from the sap of a maple tree, which is boiled down to a thicker consistency. I don't recommend any substitutes. Note 5: Corn starch: This is an important ingredient since we aren't using flour and need some additional support and thickness. Nutrition information does not include the optional cream cheese frosting. With the frosting, one serving of this cake is 241 calories. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 17.6g | Protein: 3.1g | Fat: 11.3g | Cholesterol: 23.3mg | Sodium: 171.7mg | Fiber: 1.2g | Sugar: 9.9g We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.