My fabulous husband just celebrated a birthday. But not just any birthday, he turned 40! I certainly couldn’t let my new gluten free status ruin his birthday tradition of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I began searching for the perfect recipe for gluten free carrot cake. But I was pretty picky about ingredients so it was harder than I thought. I can’t use a standard GF flour blend, as they all seem to have potato starch in them and I am unable to eat that. I also didn’t want almond flour since I have noticed when I eat almond flour baked goods I get horrible stomach pains and gas (this makes sense if you think of the number of equivalent almonds you would have eaten). I also didn’t want one of those recipes that used seven different starches and flours that I have to order online because my tiny hometown won’t possibly carry them.
I’m not asking too much here, right? I know…I am. Essentially I was looking for a recipe that used just coconut flour. I have some GF friends who seemed a bit unsure that this would happen. The truth is, it didn’t. Any recipe I found had the wrong ingredients, or many bad reviews, or something just seemed off with the recipe.
I decided I was determined to at least attempt to creat a GF carrot cake but I would not subject my husband to it on his 40th birthday. That would be cruel! So I made my traditional carrot cake for my husband and 4 kids.
After that was finished I found a recipe for a GF yellow cake that uses just coconut flour and seems like a good recipe. Although yellow cake is actually my favorite, I now had my heart set on carrot cake and I was NOT going to let that go. So I proceeded to look at three recipes to figure this out: the GF yellow cake recipe, the traditional yellow cake recipe, and the traditional carrot cake recipe.
And so my Gluten Free Carrot Cake was born!
Before we begin though, a few thoughts on coconut flour: It can be kind of temperamental. People have told me it doesn’t really work out for them. Coconut flour is VERY absorbent. A little bit goes a long way at sucking up liquids. I have had a lot of success with it but I have noticed that when it’s particularly humid out my cakes seem more crumbly and stick to the pan more. Definitely grease AND flour your baking dish and you may want to even line with parchment paper.
Gluten Free Carrot Cake
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
3/4 cup finely shredded carrot
1 cup coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour (and possibly line) an 8×8 or 9×9 square or round baking dish.*
In a large bowl mix butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs, and milk. Mix in carrots. In a separate small bowl mix the remaining ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and mix thoroughly.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. I’ve found that when I bake with coconut flour it seems to take my oven much longer than the recipes state. I cooked my cake for about 45 minutes. You want the center to be set and a toothpick inserted in the center to come out clean.
For me, there is only one way to top a carrot cake – cream cheese frosting! I used the left overs from my husband’s cake, which was a traditional recipe of butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar.
*I made my cake in an 8×8 square pan but you could even do 2 layers and frost in between. They will be thinner than a traditional layer cake but will probably cook faster and it would be fun. These would also do well as cupcakes, just shorten the baking time to about 25 minutes and I would spray the cupcake liners.
When I was searching for a recipe I even Googled “best gluten free carrot cake”. I have finally found it!