Carrot Cake Recipe: Make this Easy Gluten, Corn, and Casein-free Cake

Carrot cake recipe anyone? This year for Dad’s birthday he had only one request: carrot cake. He’s not exactly gluten and corn free, but the rest of us are, so I decided to roll up my sleeves and get to work on an easy gluten free carrot cake recipe. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It is a “from scratch” recipe, as sure sign that my gluten and corn free baking skills are improving. A year ago I would have never attempted such a feat. To get started, I researched ‘best’ carrot cake recipes of the traditional gluten variety. I finally settled on a game plan when I found a tried and true carrot cake recipe from All This carrot cake recipe seemed to get the highest ratings from viewers. So I got started with my substitutions. Here’s what I did:

Carrot Cake
A two-tiered gluten free carrot cake.

Carrot Cake III was the winning recipe. I made quite a few adjustments to that original carrot cake recipe. I built my substitutions on the suggestions and alterations listed in the comments section of the original recipe. The result? After taste testing both my husband and I were amazed. This gluten free carrot cake is moist and yet firm enough to handle frosting. It does not feel dense and dry like many gluten free cake mixes we have tried. It doesn’t fall apart easily either. It is a perfect option for a two-tiered birthday cake. It rises smoothly and lifts out of the pan with ease. It may just become our favorite family recipe and an opportunity for us to finally dump those commercial mixes for good! The cake itself is gluten, corn, soy, dairy, gluten and corn free- and of course it is safe for the Feingold diet. You can use the cream cheese frosting as pictured or substitute for the non-dairy version listed below. If anyone tries this recipe without eggs I would love to hear about your results.


Wet Ingredients for the carrot cake:

4 eggs (For egg-free cake ideas, visit our Forum thread about this recipe)

3 cups of grated carrots (be sure to grate them into large strands, as if you were adding them to a salad)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla (be sure it is corn free if you are highly sensitive to corn)

3/4 cup oil (I used organic non GMO canola in this recipe, but any kind will do)

1/2 cup Eden’s Organic applesauce (made without citric acid)

3/4 cup evaporated cane juice (Want a moist cake? substitute this for 1/2 cup organic honey)

3/4 cup brown sugar (be sure your brand is corn-free)

Dry Ingredients for the carrot cake:

1 1/3 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup potato starch flour for baking

2 teaspoons Hains Featherweight baking powder (it is the only one that is corn-free)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

(1 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup raisins are optional)

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese frosting [If you need to follow a casein-free diet view the frosting below]:

1/2 cup butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese (Horizon organic sells the only corn-free version that I know of)

3 cups powdered sugar (Miss Roben’s and Trader Joe’s sell corn-free powdered sugar.– I actually made my own using a ratio of 2 cups of evaporated cane juice to 4 tablespoons of tapioca starch in a vitamix machine). So for this recipe I would use 3 cups of sugar and and 6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) of tapioca starch.

1 teaspoon vanilla (again, be sure it is corn free if you are highly sensitive to corn)

Ingredients for the dairy-free frosting [This one is casein-free]:

Spectrum Palm Oil

Powdered Sugar (Miss Roben’s, Trader Joe’s or homemade)

corn-free vanilla (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixer blend the eggs. Add the oil, vanilla, sugars, cinnamon, and applesauce. When it is well blended add the carrots.

In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients and sift well. Add the dry ingredients and blend on medium-high for 1 minute.

Grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Pour half of the batter into each cake pan and spread evenly. Bread should be thick and heavy. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool before removing from the oven. When the cake is cooled refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to serve.

I baked two batches. One for Dad’s birthday, and one in two separate disposable tins with plastic snap on lids for easy freezing and travel. Now we’ve got carrot cake for ‘whenever or where ever’ too. For Dad’s birthday we are using his favorite frosting (listed above), but this cake can be enjoyed without frosting or with a dairy-free frosting version: (spectrum palm oil and powdered sugar is my favorite choice). Start with a 2:1 ratio of sugar to palm oil. Add vanilla to taste. Keep mixing until you reach the desired texture and consistency. I actually prefer this frosting to any other, and it is not too sweet!

Carrot Cake

Also, if you are avoiding rice or tapioca, feel free to include any GF flour variety you desire. Just be sure to adjust the rising agent amounts if your mix already includes them. Bob’s Red Mill and Bread from Anna both carry GF mixes without rice in them. The carrot flowers were a last minute touch to add a bit of color. I think that next time I will actually blanch them to make them softer. After decorating I refrigerated the cake for a couple of hours and served it cold. Everybody loved it, especially the kids. Dad said it tasted no different from the gluten variety [grin].

NOTE: I frosted my cake the way that Martha Stewart suggests (top to bottom with a lining of tin foil strips along the base to keep the frosting off of the plate). I then garnished my cake with chopped walnuts and carrot flowers. I found the directions for making them at:


For anyone at all confused about terminology, in this recipe casein-free means free from proteins found in cow’s milk. Dairy-free means free of all dairy products including casein. If you are concerned about casein in the diet, just make the cake with the second frosting recipe and not the first. Spectrum palm oil is dairy-free.

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12 Comments on Carrot Cake Recipe: Make this Easy Gluten, Corn, and Casein-free Cake

  1. I tasted this cake and give it a big thumbs up. Moist, flavorful and a very good texture. The frosting was also great. I would have never thought this was not a gluton recipe.

  2. I will bake ths cake for my gluten resistant fathe. If he cannot tell the difference this will definitely be a winner.

    I willp post after to tell the results.

  3. I don’t have any problems with gluten, but at the moment, I feel like trying to eat as less as possible. I’m going to try this cake today, craving for carrotcake since a while now!

  4. I was just wondering on the second recipe for the frosting. Doesn’t powdered sugar have corn in it? I’m trying to find a cake to make for my sons 3rd birthday. Poor thing is allergic to everything.

  5. Have you found palm oil that is not from ecologically sensitive areas? How about coconut oil or rice bran oil? It feels to me like a lot of sugar. Could the applesauce be increased and honey used in proportion? Thanks.

    • Hi Judy! On the forum page that is linked at the bottom of the recipe page there are many alterations and substitutions and comments by readers on this particular recipe. I have made it with honey and thought it was very nice and moist. You have to add less sweetener when you use honey because it is a liquid. Check out the forum page for a list of comments on the cake.

  6. Is the recipe meant to use actual potato flour and not potato starch? Also, what about xanthan gum or guar gum to help bind everything together – is that not necessary here? Thanks!

  7. Caryn, Have you tried using any of the flour blends to replace the rice four, tapioca flour and potato starch? I have used GF Mama’s Almond Blend Flour (mostly for cookies). Any way to use it for this cake? Thank you!

    • Grammy,
      This year we altered that recipe and created a low carb version with almond flour.
      This will create a much denser cake. The recipe you see here is so similar to regular carrot cake that your party guests will not know the difference. The low carb carrot cake, however, has a much different taste and feel to it. It is also much more expensive to make for large groups because almond flour is very expensive to buy. Our low carb carrot cake is also made without refined sugar, too. If low carb isn’t an issue for you then you can substitute with any number of gluten free flour blends that omit rice, tapioca flour/starch, and potato starch. We avoid corn starch in our house, but that is a good substitute for potato starch as far as baking science is concerned. Arrowroot starch is also another good binding flour that is often substituted for tapioca starch (although I think it is better for gravies than for baking, myself). If you want a low carb flour, take a look at our other recipe and see what you think. If you use that GF Mama’s Almond Blend Flour let us know how it turns out. Sometimes whipping the egg whites separately will get some air into the batter and make it more airy when baked.

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