Single-Layer, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

I love a good carrot cake, spicy and chock-full of carrots, covered with a cream cheese frosting that’s just the right amount of sweetness. Baking gluten-free, without any expensive flours, can be tough. But almonds…almonds we tend to have around.

And they can be made into a simple substitute for gluten-free flour with just a few pulses of your food processor.

Gluten Free Carrot CakeA springform pan is ideal for this recipe since it releases in a snap, but a regular cake pan will work, too. The frosting is fluffy and and the recipe makes a generous amount so you can eat a few spoonfuls as you go. This cake is a good keeper on the counter, but if it’s crazy-hot, I’d recommend keeping it in the refrigerator so the frosting doesn’t melt. Quick tip: If you don’t want to shred carrots yourself, buy a 10 ounce bag of pre-shredded carrots in the salad aisle and this cake will bake up in no time at all.

Natalie of Good Girl Style joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just stuff like cream cheese and almonds and carrots. 

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Single-Layer, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
A gluten-free carrot cake for all your summer celebrations and snacking
For the cake:
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted, toasted almonds (blanched or unblanched)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (about 10 ounces) finely grated carrots
For the whipped cream cheese icing:
  • 4 ounces block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Ginger for sprinkling, if desired
For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch springform or cake pan with parchment paper. In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the almonds until they are a nice fine texture. Add the brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and lemon zest and pulse to combine.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, then beat the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  3. Add the almond mixture to the egg mixture, then carefully fold in the carrots. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 35 to 55 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out clean in the center. Let cool fully before frosting.
For the icing:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract, almond extract and salt, and whisk to combine. Slowly add the heavy cream while still whipping the mixture until it is thick and creamy. Frost cake and sprinkle with ginger if desired.


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