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Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

  • Author: Sarah Marx Feldner
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8-10 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


You can make this carrot cake in an 8" or 9" springform pan. If using a 9" pan, you may need to adjust the baking time accordingly (i.e. maybe bake for a couple minutes less).

Bonus: You can make the cake with the orange syrup a day ahead, and then frost it just before serving.



For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw almonds (215 g)
  • 1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar, divided (284 g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine-grain salt (like table or sea salt)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
  • zest of 1 orange, preferably organic
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely grated peeled carrots, about 4 medium (8 oz)

For the Syrup:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (67 g)
  • 3 TB fresh-squeezed orange juice

For the Frosting:

  • 8oz mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted (30 g)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease an 8-inch springform pan and then line the bottom with parchment.
  3. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the almonds and 1 cup packed brown sugar (213 g) until the nuts are finely ground. Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest and pulse to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and remaining 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (71 g) until pale, thick, and ribbony (3 - 5 minutes). Add in the vanilla and whisk until combined.
  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and with a spatula, gently fold in the almond mixture and grated carrots in alternating additions, starting and ending with the almond mixture.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 55 - 60 minutes, or until the cake is firm to the touch and is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool on a rack, in its pan, for 10 minutes. Then, evenly pour, or brush, the orange syrup over the still-warm cake.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan.
  9. Top with the mascarpone frosting before serving.

For the Syrup:

  1. While the cake is cooking, combine the sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 3 minutes). Don't let the syrup come to a full boil - it can turn the citrus flavor bitter (a few bubbles along the edge of the pan is fine). Set aside until ready to use.

For the Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the mascarpone, cream, sugar, and vanilla on low speed just until combined, about 30 seconds. (If overworked, the mascarpone can appear curdled.) You could also mix this together by hand in a medium bowl with a flexible spatula.


  • In place of the raw almonds, if your grocer has unsalted, roasted almonds, those work well, too.
  • Use the small holes on a box grater to finely grate the carrots.
  • The eggs will whip up to a much greater volume when at room temperature. And, be gentle when folding the almond mixture and grated carrots into the whipped eggs, as this is what gives the cake so much of its volume - you don't want to deflate what you just whipped up.
  • I like to bake this cake on a sheet tray, you never know if a springform pan is going to leak.
  • Just in case it needs to be stated, use the zested orange from the cake to squeeze the juice for the orange syrup.
  • Make sure the mascarpone is at room temperature, so it blends with the other frosting ingredients quickly and easily. I like to take it out of the refrigerator when I start making the cake.
  • Sifting the powdered sugar helps ensure the frosting is smooth. I place a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl I'm using to make the frosting, and then sift the 1/4 cup powdered sugar directly into it.
  • As this is a very moist cake, store any leftovers in the refrigerator (but enjoy the cake at room temperature).
  • Recipe inspired by the crunchy cookbook The Steger Homestead Kitchen with recipes from chef Rita Mae Steger.

Keywords: Carrot Cake, Gluten Free Carrot Cake, Naturally Gluten Free Baking, The Steger Center, Rita Mae Steger, Spring Recipes, Easter Recipes