My favorite gluten free carrot cake recipe. Wonderfully moist carrot cake, simply spiced, and frosted with a simple yet creamy cream cheese frosting.
Do you like carrot cake all year long? Or only in the Spring?
To me, carrot cake is a classic. It’s always been my cake of choice on my birthday every year, and speaking of which… this three layer carrot cake was what I baked for my birthday a few weeks ago!
Yep, I baked my own birthday bake. When you have Celiac, you get used to baking your own cakes. I don’t mind… I get to make exactly what I want!
This carrot cake is exactly how I love carrot cake to be. Three wonderfully tender cake layers, frosted with a very simple yet creamy cream cheese frosting. It’s basically a spice cake loaded with shredded carrots, sweetened with brown sugar, and flavored with lots of cinnamon (I’m not a nutmeg and ginger person when it comes to carrot cake). You can definitely add shredded coconut or chopped nuts to your cake, but with so many allergies in our family, I always opt for a plain and simple carrot cake.
The recipe for this gluten free carrot cake is actually modified from my other carrot cake recipe that I posted a few years ago. That cake was such a hit, I wanted to make it again with just a few simple modifications. It ended up baking perfectly into three layers instead of two, and I opted for a plain cream cheese frosting instead of the orange cream cheese frosting. I also modified the baking directions a bit.
Can I Bake This in Two Layers Instead of Three?
Yes you can! This cake should bake up in two 8” cake pans just fine, but the baking time will be longer. Start checking your cakes around the 40 minute mark and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
When baked in three 8” pans, these layers turn out on the thin side. I love it that way, it means more frosting… but if it’s not your thing, go ahead and use two pans instead.
You may have extra frosting if baking only two layers. You can store leftover frosting for later use by placing it in an airtight container and into the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can I Make This Gluten Free Three Layer Carrot Cake Into Cupcakes?
This carrot cake is fairly dense, and I while you probably could bake as cupcakes, I wouldn’t recommend it and I haven’t tested it yet.
Instead, try making my Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting! These cupcakes are light and fluffy, and will make 1 dozen cupcakes.
What’s the Best Way to Shred Carrots?
I personally use a food processor fitted with the shredding disc. It makes shredding so much quicker, and it will save you a lot of time.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can also grate your carrots by hand with a box or handheld grater. Just try to avoid the pre-shredded carrots you find in the grocery store… many tend to be too large in size/aren’t grated thin enough and won’t work well in this recipe. They are also hard and dry.
Do I Need to Use The Flour Listed in the Recipe?
I used 287g of Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free baking flour in this recipe. If you’ve ever wondered why I always list the flour I use, here’s why:
Gluten free flours are not all made the same way. They all consist of different types of flours/starches/gums and in different proportions. This means that some will be denser, some will weigh more per cup, while others might absorb more liquid.
If you’ve ever tried to simply use your own gluten free flour in a recipe you found online, and it didn’t turn out how it was suppose to, the flour you chose might be the culprit. It may have ended up gummy, maybe it fell apart, or maybe it was so dry and crumbly you threw it away.
This is why I always list the flour I use. So that you can be set up for success when baking my recipes. I also measure my flour by weight, as I found it might vary slightly depending on how I measure it that day. ALWAYS spoon flour into your cup when you measure to prevent using too much flour. When in doubt, always go by weight instead of volume.
So, if you try using a different gluten free baking flour for this recipe, I can’t guarantee it will turn out the same. You can certainly try measuring by weight, but the texture of the cake may turn out differently. Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 baking flour is the flour I’ve had the most success with, which is why I tend to bake the most with it. If you do test this recipe with a different flour, I’d love to hear how it turned out!
I really hope you enjoy this three layer gluten free carrot cake as much as my family and I did. If it becomes your next birthday cake of choice, let me know in the comments below, or tag @zestandlemons in your photo on Instagram!
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