Who doesn’t love gluten free carrot cake, with sweet dairy free cream cheese frosting? Carrot cake is always the sweet treat I jealously watch my friends eat when we meet for coffee, and wish it was gluten free. So I was pleased when, after I made my gluten free millionaire’s shortbread last week, I asked what people wanted next – and gluten free carrot cake was one of the options.
I was initially going to make this just a gluten free carrot cake, but after realising the recipe would be dairy free anyway, it seemed only right to make a dairy free cream cheese frosting to go on top. I haven’t experimented much with dairy free cheese, but I know a lot of my readers cannot eat dairy and I was really pleased with how this turned out.
I wanted to include walnuts in my gluten free carrot cake, to add a bit of a crunch to the texture, but you could substitute these for pecans if you prefer. Personally, pecans are my favourite nut, but I love the woody flavour the walnuts bring to this recipe. Paired with the flecks of vibrant orange carrot, it makes this gluten free carrot cake a delight to look at, as well as devour!
My next dilemma was dried fruit – to add it, or not? I have seen some carrot cakes with sultanas or raisins, and some without, and a quick Google search didn’t really help me come to a conclusion! So I took to Twitter for an answer! It was a close call, but it seemed most people preferred the ‘no dried fruit’ option in a gluten free carrot cake. If you really wanted, you could add a handful of dried fruit to this recipe though.
I wanted to give my carrot cake a bit of a rustic look, so you could see bits of the cake beneath the icing. However, you could make this recipe with one-and-a-half-times the measurements for the icing, and you’d be able to coat it completely.
Because you’re using dairy free spread in place of butter, the icing can be a bit soft, so once coated it helps to put the cake in the fridge for half an hour-or-so, to firm it up a little. If you’re not dairy free, then you could substitute the spread for unsalted butter, and use normal, full-fat cream cheese instead.
I was so please with how this gluten free carrot cake turned out, and it’s super simple to make! It would be perfect for a coffee morning, or paired with a nice cuppa for afternoon tea. It’s definitely one to share with your friends and family, so get baking and share the love!
My gluten free carrot cake recipe
- 250ml sunflower oil
- 4 large eggs
- 225g light muscovado sugar
- 200g carrots (coarsely grated)
- 300g gluten free plain white flour (I used Dove's Farm Freee)
- 2tsp baking powder
- 1tsp allspice
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 80g walnuts, chopped or ground into chunks in a pestle and mortar
- 220g dairy free cream cheese (I used a combination of Violife and Sainsbury's)
- 50g dairy free spread (I used Flora)
- 55g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 25g chopped walnuts
- First make the cake. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and grease and line two 20cm diameter round baking tins.
- Add the sugar, eggs and oil into a large mixing bowl and mix using an electric whisk until combined, and the mixture has thickened slightly.
- Fold in the grated carrot gently using a spatula. The add the flour, baking powder, spices and walnuts to the mix and stir well until combined.
- Pour the batter evenly between the two tins and place in the centre of the oven. Cook for around 30-35 minutes until the cakes are nicely risen and a golden-brown colour. Remove and cool on wire racks (wait until the cakes have cooled for around 20 minutes at least, before removing carefully from the tins).
- Meanwhile, make the frosting. Add all of the ingredients for the frosting into a large bowl and mix with an electric whisk until blended and smooth.
- Pour half of the frosting onto one of the cakes (you may need to trim the cake a little if it has risen slightly, so it sits flat). Spread evenly and then place the second cake on top.
- Pour the rest of the frosting onto the cake and smooth all over the top and sides with a spatula. Once finished, pour the chopped walnuts over the top to finish.
- Best kept in the fridge to allow the icing to stay firm. Cool in the fridge for 20 mins/half hour before serving - if you can resist that long!