A light and tender gluten and dairy free carrot cake with a creamy orange-infused frosting.Jump to Recipe
A generous slice of carrot cake and a steaming cup of tea – everything you need to brighten up a gloomy afternoon! This classic bake has a super simple method and will look impressive with even the most minimal of decorating effort. The melt-in-your-mouth sponge is lightly spiced with cinnamon and ginger, and the smooth buttercream has a hint of zesty orange flavour. Plus, a cake that contains vegetables definitely counts as healthy, right?!
What goes in a gluten and dairy free carrot cake?
That’s right, this cake is completely free from gluten and dairy, but nobody would ever know it! It’s perfectly moist, fluffy and full of flavour. Here’s what you’ll need to create your two tasty sponge layers:
- Gluten free self raising flour – I use the Freee by Doves Farm flour blend.
- Baking soda and xanthan gum
- Ground cinnamon and ginger
- Light brown and caster sugar – using a portion of brown sugar makes the cake extra soft, moist and flavoursome.
- Vegetable oil – keeps the sponge nice and light.
- Vanilla extract
- Grated carrot
- Raisins – an optional extra but I love the sweetness they add.
This carrot cake can easily be adapted to your taste. If you don’t fancy raisins, go ahead and add chopped walnuts, flaked coconut or other chopped dried fruits such as dates or prunes into the mixture. Or, it’s totally delicious without any extras!
What’s the best oil to use?
Any neutral-flavoured oil will work well in this cake. I used vegetable (rapeseed) oil but sunflower oil is another good option. Avoid anything with a strong taste such as olive or coconut oil.
How to make the frosting
For topping and sandwiching between the two fluffy sponge layers, I went for a simple dairy free ‘butter’cream, with a zesty orange kick. The carrot/spice/orange combo is a real winner so I couldn’t resist sneaking it in there! All that’s needed is dairy-free butter or spread, icing sugar, vanilla extract and orange extract (you can find this in most large supermarkets in the UK).
Can I make it vegan?
If you’d like to make this carrot cake vegan, the eggs are the one ingredient you’ll need to contend with. I’m yet to test any vegan replacements in this recipe, so if you try swapping them out I’d love to hear what results you had. Here are some options to try in place of each egg:
- A flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water, left to sit for 15 mins)
- A chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water, left to sit for 15 mins)
- 3 tbsp aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
Storing and freezing your gluten and dairy free carrot cake
This carrot cake will last well for up to a week, kept at room temp in an airtight container. If you’d like to make the cake in advance and store it for later, the unfrosted cake layers will also freeze well. Just wrap each in layer in foil and place them in a large freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to 3 months, and will take around 4-6 hours to defrost at room temperature.
Looking for more delicious free from bakes?
Why not try:
Super fruity blueberry muffins
Easy pineapple upside down cake
Insanely fudgy vegan chocolate brownies
If you give this carrot cake a try, let me know how you got on by leaving a comment and rating below! You can also tag me in photos of your creations over on Instagram @BlueSkyEating. Enjoy! 🙂
The Best Dairy Free Carrot Cake
For the carrot cake:
- 275 g gluten-free self raising flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 300 ml vegetable/canola oil (or other neutral-flavoured oil)
- 175 g light brown sugar
- 175 g caster sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 300 g grated carrot
- 100 g raisins (optional)
For the orange frosting:
- 175 g dairy-free butter/baking spread (at room temperature)
- 475 g icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp orange extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 75 g chopped walnuts (optional)
Make the carrot cake:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan and grease and line two 20cm/8" round baking tins.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon and ginger until well combined.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk the oil with both sugars and the vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.
- Sieve your whisked dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients, and gently fold everything together until just combined.
- Finally, add the grated carrot and raisins (if adding) and fold once more until mixed through.
- Distribute the mixture evenly between your two tins and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave the cakes in their tins for approx 10 mins before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the orange frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, with an electric whisk or by hand, beat the dairy-free butter/spread with the vanilla extract and orange extract until smooth and creamy.
- Gradually sieve in the icing sugar, mixing between each addition, until all of it has been added.
- Continue to beat to get the frosting really smooth. I like to leave the electric mixer going for about 5 minutes.
Assemble the cake:
- Once the cake has fully cooled, spread half of the frosting onto one of the layers and top with the second cake layer before spreading on the remaining frosting.
- Sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top of the cake for decoration. This is optional but gives it a nice crunch!
Please note that nutritional information is based on estimated quantities and therefore not always 100% accurate.
Wow, this cake looks amazing and I am adding this to my list of cakes to make. My family loves carrot cake so it will be appreicated. Glad to have a dairy-free version.
Beautiful cake. Absolutely stunning. I must make this for Easter. I just saved the recipe and now I can’t wait to give this a try. Yum!
I have been looking for a good carrot cake recipe and love that this is dairy free. Looks scrumptious!
I’m always trying to get rid of the dairy in recipes that traditionally use milk and such. I’ve never tried it with a cake and this came out perfect! It was exactly what I would have expected. Thank you!