Watch me make this Gluten-Free Carrot Cake From Start To Finish!!
“It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you, without a dope recipe to bake to. Bake to, Bake to!” Ha! Wow has it really been almost a month since my last recipe??? OMG, I’m so sorry guys! Please forgive.
We’ve been moving. Like AGAIN. Like back into the house that we previously moved from!!! Who does that!!?!? I’m all unpacked and settled in for now…. and then we’ll be moving again in about 3- 4 months while this house gets gutted and remodeled.
Whew, talk about anxiety! Jesus fix it!!! lol, I just keep telling myself it will all be worth it in the end. Woosaaaah!
Ok enough about that. I’m back and I’m all yours. So let’s do what we do best, TALK FOOD baby!! I’m just now getting hip to this whole gluten-free thing and how to bake gluten-free cakes. It seems like so many people are going gluten-free by choice or for medical reasons these days. My sister-in-law and my aunt are both gluten-free, which is the reason for this gluten-free carrot cake recipe.
I promised my aunt I would make her dinner and dessert while she recovered from surgery (I haven’t forgotten aunt Lisa!!) so I’ve been playing around with a few gluten-free cake recipes. I tried my hand at baking a gluten-free chocolate cake and gluten-free chocolate cupcakes a few years ago and let’s just say it was wrong on all levels. A true EPIC FAIL!!! Gritty, gummy, super dense, flat, just gross!
I thought this was just how gluten-free cakes tasted. I mean how good could something be without the help of fluffy white wheat flour right? Well, it wasn’t until I was in Asheville, NC and tried a slice of gluten-free carrot cake from a cafe called Green Sage that my mind was totally changed. This carrot cake was light, fluffy, moist and it tasted exactly like a regular cake made with white wheat flour. Shut the front door!!!
I went on a mission to create an amazing gluten-free carrot cake. It needed to have a beautiful, moist crumb, loaded with sweet fresh carrots and also pass the stick to the back of the fork test. BINGO we got action Jackson!! I don’t know about you, but my
greedy-self professional cake eating self can totally just look at a cake and tell if it’s moist and fluffy. Can’t you just see how amazing that first bite is gonna be from looking at this picture? You know exactly how that fork is gonna glide through dontcha? Have mercy! I could weep. Let us pray.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the very first gluten-free cake recipe on Divas Can Cook, homemade gluten-free carrot cake! I wish I could just drop the gluten-free from the title because seriously I couldn’t even tell it was gluten-free! This gluten-free carrot cake bakes up light, fluffy and moist just the way a carrot cake should! It’s lightly spiced with just the right amount of cinnamon & sweetness to pair up with that silky cream cheese frosting.
To replace the white wheat flour I used Pamela’s Artisan Flour. It’s a gluten-free all-purpose rice flour blend that’s great for baking cakes. You can use it cup for cup, as you would with regular flour. You can get it on Amazon or in most whole food type stores. I’ve tried Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour in the past and ick! I didn’t like how gritty it made the cake taste, but some folks swear by it. Hey, whatever floats your boat! My sister-in-law uses Pamela’s a lot in her baking and she makes really great gluten-free cakes so I’m sticking with Miss Pam for now.
Isaac LOVED this carrot cake and my husband did the “pretend to slap an imaginary booty” dance after the first bite. That tells me that this one is a keeper for whenever we have gluten-free guests over : )
I’ve only been playing around with gluten-free cake baking for a short amount of time and I’m def. no expert but here are a few tips I’ve picked up to pass along to ya.
Increase the flavor: I’ve noticed that gluten-free flours tend to dull the flavor of cakes just a tad. I usually double the amount of cinnamon or extracts if I’m baking a gluten-free cake adapted from a regular cake recipe. I always taste the batter. Regular cake batter is sweet and so should gluten-free cake batter.
Add moisture: Look for ways to throw in moisture since gluten-free cakes can be notorious for being dry, crumbly and gummy. I like to use buttermilk or sour cream. Fruits also add moisture. Apples, carrots, and pears are great for adding moisture. I also LOVE adding pureed fruit or veggies into the cake batter.
Don’t over bake: This may just be me but I swear gluten-free cakes require less baking time and they aren’t as forgiving as regular cakes if you over bake them. I start eyeing my cakes like a hawk at the 15-minute mark. As soon as the middle springs back I get that baby out of the oven quick. I also like to take my cakes right from the oven to the freezer to cool. This technique creates a really moist cake and does a rapid cool since cakes continue to cook as they cool on the countertops. I prefer to bake gluten-free cakes at a lower temperature like 325F. if it doesn’t have many “moisture helpers” in the batter.
Play up the texture: Certain ingredients are great for giving gluten-free cakes a moist, fluffy crumb texture. I swear by buttermilk, whipping cream and/or vegetable/canola oil for the best gluten-free cake texture. Also be sure not to over mix the cake as this will result in a flat, dry cake. Gluten-free pudding mixes are also great to throw into the batter for extra fluffiness.
“But Monique I can’t have dairy either, HELP!”
No Worries Make a Gluten-Free & Dairy Free Carrot Cake!
Oh now, don’t you go worrying your pretty little head about that. Here are a few suggestions for substitutions. Now the texture won’t be quite as fluffy but it will work. Ok, you ready? Replace the buttermilk with sour rice milk or sour coconut milk (add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice and let it sit for a few minutes to “sour” it up a bit). For the cream cheese frosting use Tofutti’s “Better Than Cream Cheese” spread. I had to go dairy-free for 8 months while nursing and loved this stuff for making dairy-free cream cheese frosting. Use your favorite dairy-free butter substitute for the butter replacement. I like Earth Balance. Can’t have nuts? No biggie, just leave them out. Can’t have eggs?…hmmmm… well now you’ve stumped me but I’ve heard of several egg replacement that might work like using chia seeds.
Gluten-free Carrot Cake (Moist and Fluffy)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 2 cups Pamela's artisan gluten-free flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 cups carrots finely shredded (I used a little over 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup pureed carrots optional but great!
- 1/2 cup sweet coconut flakes finely shredded
FROSTING (double the recipe if you like a thick layer of frosting)
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups confectioners sugar may need more to thicken if desired
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Grease and flour (with Pamela's flour) 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Set aside
- In a large bowl cream together oil, sugars, and eggs. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
- Mix just until fully combined. (careful not to over mix)
- Fold in shredded & pureed carrots, coconut flakes and vanilla extract.
- Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until center is set. (do not over bake!)
- Place pans directly into freezer to cool.
- While cakes are cooling prepare the frosting by first creaming together the butter and cream cheese.
- Add in the confectioners sugar and vanilla extract.
- Mix until silky and creamy. Add more sugar if a thicker texture is needed.
- When cakes are cooled remove them from pans and frost, sprinkling the tops with walnuts.