slice of gltuen-free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on a white with gold dots plate
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5 from 12 votes

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake {Dairy-Free Option}

Super moist, deliciously spiced, gluten-free carrot cake with a perfect balance of sweet carrots and raisins, chopped pecans, juicy pineapple and the light, delicate flavor of coconut; topped with oh-my-goodness cream cheese frosting. The recipe also has a dairy-free option. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten-free and dairy-free carrot cake, gluten-free carrot cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 377kcal
Author Audrey from Mama Knows Gluten Free


  • Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour  I like Pillsbury gluten-free. Not all gluten-free flours are created equal. You may experience different baking results depending on the gluten-free flour blend you choose.
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum If your flour already has it leave out
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups grated carrots 2 large carrots
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple in juice not syrup; do not drain

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softned dairy-free use Smart Balance butter
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softned dairy-free use dairy-free cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar If you want a firmer frosting, add an additional 1-2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cut parchment paper for the bottom of your two 8" cake pans and spray with gluten-free cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl mix together the applesauce, sugar, and eggs until fully combined.
  • In a medium-sized bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.
  • Stir in the carrots, coconut, pineapple, raisins, pecans, and vanilla into the sugar and egg mixture.
  • Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix until fully combined. 
  • Pour half of the batter in the first 8" cake pan and then pour the rest of the batter in the second 8" cake pan.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes. The edges of the cake will start to pull away from the sides of the pan. This is a very moist cake, so insert a toothpick to make sure it's done. Please watch your cake because all ovens are different.
  • Cool the cakes in the pans for about 10-15 minutes. Then use a knife to loosen the cake around the edges of the pan and place the pan upside down on a cooling rack to completely cool before frosting. Enjoy! (I like my carrot best served cold.)


  • In a large bowl beat the butter and cream cheese together with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
  • Beat in the powdered sugar one cup at a time.
  • Lastly, beat in the lemon juice and pure vanilla extract.
  • Try not to eat all the frosting before you put it on the cake. Yes, it is that good!


  • This gluten-free carrot cake was made with Pillsbury gluten-free flour.  Not all gluten-free flours are created equal. You may experience different baking results depending on the gluten-free flour blend you choose.
  • The best way to measure gluten-free flour is the “spoon & level” method. Using a spoon, scoop the flour into the measuring cup.  After you’ve spooned the flour into the measuring cup, use the back of a knife to level off the top of the measuring cup. Please do not scoop the flour out of the bag with your measuring cup.
  • For the dairy-free option use dairy-free butter and dairy-free cream cheese. 
  • Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. 
  • The carrot cake and cream cheese frosting can be made in advance. Store in an air-tight container for 2-3 days. The cream cheese frosting can be in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • After the cakes have completely cooled, wrap them really well in plastic wrap and stick each layer in a ziplock freezer bag. Freeze for up to one month. The frosting can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.
  • Mama says, "Always check your labels!"


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 379mg | Potassium: 318mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 2760IU | Vitamin C: 5.5mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 1.4mg
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