Carrot cake is my all-time favourite cake. This classic cake is a favourite around Easter time in many households but it can be enjoyed all-year-round. The moist cake is made up of an utterly delicious fluffy sponge packed with warm spices, chopped pecans and hints of orange zest . A silky cream cheese frosting finishes off the cake perfectly. Take a look at the recipe below for a coeliac-friendly carrot cake that you won’t believe is gluten-free!
Carrot cake varies slightly from country to country, in Germany it’s called Rüblitorte and is typically topped with a thin layer of icing sugar. Other variations include chopped walnuts or pecans and some even prefer to add raisins to the mixture. Anything is possible so add what you like and make it your own!
Which substitutions are possible?
Nuts– If you need to make this cake nut free, leave out the chopped pecans. If you prefer walnuts to pecans, just substitute them 1-1 in the recipe.
Oil – A good quality olive oil works best for the cake but another neutral oil such as vegetable oil should work fine too.
What equipment do you need for this cake?
- One 9-inch round baking tin or two 7-inch round baking tins
- 1 bowl or stand mixer with bowl
- Baking paper
- Offset spatula
Tips & Tricks
Room temperature ingredients are essential for this recipe to work. Room temperature ingredients ensure that they can all be mixed together thoroughly. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge beforehand, place them in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot, you don’t want to cook them!) water 15 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature more quickly.
The toothpick test is a great way to check whether your cake is done. As all ovens are calibrated differently, the baking times stated are always suggested as a rough guide. To check if the cake is done, insert a toothpick into the centre and if it comes out with no crumbs stuck to it, you can assume that the cake is baked through and ready to come out.
I use grams for weighing almost all of the ingredients in my recipes as it is what I am most used to when cooking and baking on a daily basis. I use measuring cups for simple ingredients such as spices or smaller amounts as it can be much easier to measure. I would recommend sticking to what the recipe suggests as there is no guarantee that converting into cup measurements or vice-versa will have the same outcome.
Classic Carrot Cake
For the cake
- 250 ml olive oil
- 320 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend
- 250 g grated carrot coarsely grated
- 250 g brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp Xanthan Gum
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 100 g pecans chopped
- zest of 1 medium orange
For the cream cheese frosting
- 175 g full-fat cream cheese
- 125 g unsalted butter softened, room temperature
- 400 g icing sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp pistachios shelled and chopped
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 160° C Fan and line a 9" round baking tin with baking paper. Grease thoroughly with a greasing brush.
- Combine the eggs, sugar, oil and orange zest and whisk until thoroughly combined.250 ml olive oil, 250 g brown sugar, 4 large eggs, zest of 1 medium orange
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, Xanthan gum, salt, baking powder spices and grated carrot and whisk until combined.320 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend, 250 g grated carrot, 2 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg, ⅛ tsp ground cardamom, ⅛ tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp Xanthan Gum, 2 tsp ground ginger
- Fold in the chopped pecans.100 g pecans
- Transfer the mixture to the baking tin and level off with an offset spatula.
- Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for around 45-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If the cake begins to brown early on, cover with a layer of tinfoil, shiny side up for the remainder of the baking time.
- Once baked, set aside to cool completely on a cooling rack before preparing the cream cheese frosting.
For the cream cheese frosting
- For the frosting, cream the softened butter in a stand mixer for 2-3 minutes until paler in colour and light and fluffy in texture.125 g unsalted butter
- Add the cream cheese and vanilla extract and cream again. Scraping down the sides as necessary.½ tsp vanilla extract, 175 g full-fat cream cheese
- Sift in the icing sugar in batches and whisk on a medium-high setting until thoroughly combined. Keep whisking until a light and creamy texture forms. If the frosting is too runny, it will seep over the sides of the cake, so add a tablespoon more of icing sugar at a time to thicken, If the opposite occurs and your frosting is too thick, loosen up with a teaspoon of cream cheese or milk.400 g icing sugar
- Spread the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake and level off with an offse4t spatula.
- Sprinkle with chopped pecans and pistachios and grated carrot to finish and decorate as desired.2 tbsp pistachios