This carrot cake sets the standard for carrot cakes everywhere. It’s deeply moist and bursts with sweet pineapple, carrots, coconut and toasted pecans. Every forkful is super soft and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting! This is truly the best carrot cake.
If made ahead, the flavor intensifies as the cream cheese frosting seeps into the layers, creating an even more tender bite. Yum yum yum!
Katherine's Gluten-free Carrot Cake
BAKE: 22-27 min | MAKES: three 8" Cakes or two 9" layered cake.
For the Cake
- 1 bag MinusG White Cake Mix
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup + 1 Tbsp light oil
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (optional)
- 3 large eggs beaten or egg substitute
- 2 tsp GF vanilla extract (McCormick's )
- 1 cup crushed pineapple drained
- 2 cups grated carrot (heaping)
- (Optional: 1 cup chopped Roasted Pecans or walnuts, coconut and/or ½ cup golden raisins)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened (Dairy-free "Kite Hill" cream cheese)
- 1 stick butter of choice softened
- 4+ cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp GF vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tbsp heavy cream or milk
- PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pans, lined with parchment paper for easy removal.
- MAKE CAKE: In a large bowl mix together oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined and smooth. Add beaten eggs, then the vanilla, and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: cake mix, baking powder, and cinnamon. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet ingredients, stirring just until mixed. Fold in the grated carrots and crushed pineapple and stir until combined. Add nuts, coconut and/or raisins in at this time.
- BAKE: Pour the batter evenly into the prepared 8-inch pans. Bake for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove pans and let them cool on a wire rack until the cakes reach room temperature. Refrigerate layered cake about 15 minutes to chill slightly (this makes it easier to frost).
- MAKE FROSTING: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer cream together cream cheese, and butter on med-high until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Beat together on low until combined. Increase speed to high for 3 minutes until combined and creamy. Note: If frosting is too thick, you can add in a teaspoon or two of milk. If it is too thin, you can add in more powdered sugar. If it's too sweet, add a pinch of salt.
- ASSEMBLE & FROST: Using a large serrated knife or cake leveler, trim the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, and then top with the 3rd layer. Spread remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Decorate the sides and top of the cake with the remaining toasted pecans.
- SERVE: Refrigerate for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake hold its shape when cutting.
Carrot Cake Success Tips
- Line your cake pans with parchment. Place your cake pans on a large sheet of parchment paper. Trace the bottom of the cake pan with a pencil, then cut the circles. Grease the pan and the parchment paper. Parchment paper rounds guarantee the cakes won’t stick!
- Make it ahead. One of the BEST parts about carrot cake is that it gets better with time, even after 1 full day. The flavors mingle, the moisture prevails, and the cream cheese frosting sets into the layers. It’s so ridiculously good! You can make and frost the cake 1 day in advance. Keep it covered in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving.
- Use freshly grated carrots. Grate them yourself.
- Non-Layered Cake: Bake this recipe in a 9×13 inch pan. It’s also perfect as the bottom tier for a homemade wedding cake.