Making a gluten free carrot cake has been on my “to do” list for a long, long time now. For one, carrot cake is one of those staples I feel everyone should have a good recipe for and two, it is my mother-in-law, Elaine’s, favorite cake of all time. When we published our first book back in 2005 I included a whole grain carrot cake in the recipe section, but I have since learned so much more about baking and how to cook with interesting flours (almond, brown rice flour, millet flour, etc.) that I felt it was time to make an updated version. Since we were having Andy’s parents to dinner, I decided there was no better time to get baking…
More Than Just a Gluten-Free Carrot Cake…
If you read the list of ingredients in the recipe below, you’ll see it’s not just a gluten free carrot cake but also a dairy free one that has no refined sugar, no refined oil and no refined flour. It’s sweetened primarily with “whole” fruit (here’s why we favor “whole” fruit over juice) from raisins and pineapple and has just a touch–only 1/4 cup– of pure maple syrup. I use an antioxidant-rich superfood oil for moistness and a combination of almond flour and whole grain brown rice and millet flour for the base. And of course it’s got the nutrient-rich carrots and omega-3 rich walnuts too.
I would go so far as to say this is more than just a healthy-ish gluten-free carrot cake it actually happens to be kinda good for you! But don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like it 😉 In my book, there’s no point in making a cake that doesn’t taste decadent and delicious, which this one definitely does.
Of course if you are going to go to the trouble of making a gluten free carrot cake you need to make a frosting too.
Some cakes can get by frosting-free, but in my opinion carrot cake is just not one of them. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting goes together like peas and carrots, but if you are dairy free or into clean eating then going the cream cheese route won’t really work out. But trust me, the Whipped Macadamia Frosting is the perfect stand-in for the cream cheese frosting.
If I had not forgotten to buy cashews on the day I made the carrot cake recipe I would have tried to make cashew frosting instead of the macadamia version. I was so frustrated the day I made the cake because I was having my in-laws to dinner and running late as it was and I just didn’t have time to run back out to the store to pick up cashews. But in the end I decided I actually preferred the rich and slightly buttery flavor of the macadamia nuts to the cashews. All that stress for nothing 😉
One quick word about the frosting though, I prefer the whole look, flavor and feel of “Naked Cakes” , which is why I only frost the top layer of my cake. But you should have extra frosting leftover if you want to dress up the sides too.
As for the “fun fetti” cake topping sprinkled on top of the frosting—that’s just an extra optional touch and can be made simply by combining equal parts walnuts, raisins and carrots in a food processor.
Oh! And I am happy to report that my mother-in-law, a die-hard carrot cake fan, gave this recipe two thumbs up.Print
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 4 tablespoons unrefined, organic red palm oil (such as Nutiva brand) OR organic, extra virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 cup pure maple syurp
- 3 organic, pasture-raised eggs (such as Vital Farms)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup frozen pineapple
- 1 cup grated carrots (see notes below)
- 3/4 cup black or yellow raisins
- 3/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a round 9-inch cake pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, brown rice flour, millet flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In a blender, combine the red palm oil, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and frozen pineapple; process until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry and mix well to incorporate. Stir in the carrots, raisins and walnuts. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and transfer to the middle rack of an oven.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes clean. Set cake on a wire rack to cool for at least 45 minutes before frosting. Frost with Whipped Macadamia Frosting (see recipe below).
To grate the carrots, place carrot slices in a food processor and pulse several times, but be careful not to over-grate the carrots!
And for the Whipped Macadamia Frosting…Print
- 1 1/2 cups raw macadamia nuts, soaked in water for 2 hours
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons organic, extra virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 cup yellow raisins
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of unrefined sea salt
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and process on high speed to “whip” for at least 1 full minute. Transfer blender container to the refrigerator and refrigerate frosting for at least 1 hour before frosting the cake.
P.S. Looking for More Healthy Desserts & Organic Recipes?
If you liked the Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe, be sure to check out our Clean Cuisine Superfood Cookbook (only $2.99 as a digital download). The book includes 40 superfood salad dressings, smoothies, sauces, dips, desserts and more!