I had every intention of posting this recipe last week, however the busyness of March Break got the best of me. We took advantage of the days off to spend lots of time playing outside, baking, having mini-adventures, preparing for – and celebrating – my mom’s 60th birthday! It was a full week for which I stepped away from writing, editing, posting, and fell into the chaotic and happy holiday groove.
Now, let’s talk about this cake! I love a good carrot cake that’s moist, flavourful, fragrant with spices, and has a sweep of lightly sweetened cream cheese frosting. This is that cake. For me, it all comes down to proper ratios – you don’t want it to be too carotty, or too spicy, or too sweet for that matter. And you really don’t want it to be oily!
This cake is perfection because it offers a beautiful balance of all the elements we crave in a scrumptious carrot cake. Often times when it comes to gluten-free cakes, they can tend to be on the drier or crumbly side – but not this one. It holds the moisture wonderfully thanks to the juicy carrots and addition of apple sauce.
Moist, flavourful, rich, delectable, slightly sweet, slightly spicy, ever so delicious.
The beauty of this cake is how simple it actually is to make. The most complex part is the use of different gluten-free flours, which isn’t so complex when you can pick them up at your local bulk store, health food store, or order them in advance online. From the flour on, it’s smooth sailing with ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry and fridge. To make things extra easy, I used my food processor to grate the carrots for me. I know, right! Perfectly grated carrots in 30 seconds.
It’s up to you if you add the frosting on this cake. If you don’t, it can honestly be a breakfast cake or a healthy snacking cake. If you do, it certainly ups the level of, “OH. MY. GOODNESS.” It really just depends on what you’re going for! In this case, I definitely wanted to make a fabulously decadent treat, especially with Easter celebrations in mind. Let me tell you friends, this gluten-free carrot cake is gorgeous and scrumptious – an ideal choice to serve for Easter and any spring birthday coming up! The frosting is truly magnificent and the rave reviews it got from my husband and kids was off the charts. So much so, I’m rethinking many of our other staple cakes and wondering, could this crazy good icing make those cakes better? Yep, it’s that good!
As for the crushed pecans, here’s the scoop: my husband loves the taste but has a mild allergy (well, we think its mild – it just makes his mouth a bit fuzzy), my son loves them, and my daughter is on the fence (she goes either way). And what about me? I absolutely love ‘em! But I prefer them sprinkled on top than baked inside. Again, it’s all personal preference. So here’s where I want to say, “Do you, Boo!” – whatever you like. You can add raisins, walnuts, or pecans into the cake or sprinkle them on top, or forgo them altogether. Baker’s choice (kind of). Have fun and enjoy!
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup white rice flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups shredded carrot
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 (8 ounce) block low-fat cream cheese
- 2 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Prepare an 9 x13 inch metal baking pan coated with cooking spray.
- Combine flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium-size mixing bowl. Stir until blended. In a separate large mixing bowl, add sugars, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs. Using a mixer, beat on medium-low speed until blended (do not over beat). Slowly add in the dry mixture, continuing to beat on low until the batter is smooth and blended. Finally add in by gently folding, the carrots and any additions (such as walnuts, pecans, or raisins).
- Pour cake batter into your prepared pan. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely before removing from pan.
- For the frosting, combine butter, vanilla, and cream cheese in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a mixer to beat until smooth. Gradually and cautiously add small amounts of powdered sugar, continuing to beat on low until smooth. When the cake is completely cooled (you can even place in freezer at the end for 10 minutes or so, just to make sure the top won't lift) - spread frosting over the cake. If you'd like, sprinkle with crushed pecans. Serve and enjoy!
In the mood for more gluten-free cake? Take a look at these recipes too!
And don’t forget to pin this delicious carrot cake recipe!