Gluten Free, Grain Free Carrot Cake

I have been gluten free for many years but have recently discovered that for me, a grain free diet works best. I believe that grain free (as well as refined sugar and additive free) is the best thing for both physical and mental heath but make sure that you listen to your body to see what works for you. When I eat this way I feel better, my skin is clearer, I sleep better, have more energy and my moods are more stable.

My oldest daughter keeps asking for carrot cake. I have tried several gluten free and some grain free carrot cake recipes and have not really found any of them to be something that I am happy to eat. The rest of the family haven’t liked them either.

Last week carrot cake was requested again – I decided to try my hand at making up a recipe of my own. Much to my surprise, this recipe tastes really good! It has been approved by my hubby and all 3 kids and this afternoon, as a final test before sharing the recipe, I gave it to some of my kids’ friends for afternoon tea – they loved it (and they are kids used to “normal” food!). They even asked for seconds!

So, I am now ready to share!

This cake uses coconut flour which is gentle on tummies, is gluten free, grain free, high in dietary fibre, low in carbs, high in protein and is also school lunchbox friendly.  It is also free of refined sugar (as are all of my recipes) which is something that  I believe is essential to avoid. I have chosen to use a small amount of maple syrup because I think it tastes best with this cake but feel free to use any liquid sweetener that suits your dietary needs and tastebuds as long as it is NOT AGAVE which has a higher fructose level than high fructose corn syrup and should not be considered part of a healthy diet.

** SWEETENER FREE OPTION – This cake can also be made without the maple syrup and with an extra apple added in. I will give both options below.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes


2 cups finely grated carrot

1 red apple, peeled and finely grated – use 2 apples for a sweetener free version

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup coconut oil (measured when melted)

Optional – 1/4 cup organic maple syrup (make sure it is the real deal and not maple flavoured syrup) or raw honey (GAPS and SCD friendly), rice malt syrup (fructose free) or coconut nectar. Use an extra apple instead of the sweetener if you prefer.

4 free range eggs (room temperature)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bi carb soda)

1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinammon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves – optional if you like a spicier carrot cake. I prefer it without by hubby likes it in!


Preheat oven to 180°C and line a square (20 cm x 20 cm) baking tin

Grate carrots and apple

Add these and all other ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined

Spoon mixture into a square 20 x 20 cm baking tin and smooth out the top

Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake feels firm to touch (or a skewer comes out clean).

For muffins line a 12 cup muffin tray and bake for 25 – 30 mins. You might also like to use an extra 1/2 teaspoon of bi-carb soda to help them rise a bit more. The ones in this picture have only 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb so are quite small.


Store in the fridge in an airtight container

This cake will freeze well – I usually pop a few pieces of most of my baking into the freezer for school or work lunches when I have run out of baked goods.


I have not managed to come up with a dairy free, soy free, cashew free icing that works! I found one that sounded great and tasted pretty decent but would not set firm enough to use as icing.

If you are fine with dairy then there are plenty of recipes to be found on the internet.

If you have an icing recipe that works with this please share it in the comments below.

It still tastes great without any icing at all!

Enjoy! And please let me know if you try it.


27 thoughts on “Gluten Free, Grain Free Carrot Cake”

  1. Monique, this looks great. Will definitely try. It’s so hard to find nut free, grain free recipes that are worth making. Thank you.

    • Thanks Ros! It has been approved by so many people (big and little), I think it is a winner!
      I actually made it today as muffins and used an extra apple, an extra 1/4 tsp bi-carb and no maple syrup. The kids sampled it and gave it the thumbs up. Will wait to see if they eat a whole one in the morning before adding the option into the recipe!

  2. Hi I made this (which was delicious by the way) however it didn’t rise like yours in the picture. It looked more like a biscuit. I followed the ingredients so not sure what happened.

    • Maybe you used a bigger tin? Or baking powder instead of baking soda?
      Coconut flour won’t rise a lot. I use a square tin that is 20 x 20 cm

  3. Dairy free icing – nothing like margarine and icing sugar blended into a fluffy icing!

    • That would work except that I wouldn’t touch margarine! (it is a chemical cocktail) and don’t eat refined sugar! But feel free to enjoy it on top of your cake! 🙂

  4. Hi Monique! Wow I can’t wait for morning to try this one!!!! I’m GF SOY AND LACTOSE INT, and loooooooove carrot cake, but same never found one that tasted right. As for the frosting I know it’s not dairy free, but maybe trying some homemade cream cheese? Straining organic natural yoghurt over night and using it??

  5. Hi Monique, do you have any ideas if this recipe would work with a egg replacer, if so what would you recommend?

    • I have never tried it with egg replacer. I am not sure how coconut flour would work as it really needs the eggs. Maybe flax or chia eggs?
      Please let me know if you give it a try.

  6. Not a real fan of carrot cake but I just made this and it is delicious! It was easy too!

  7. Delicious! Moist and spicy, we used more cinnamon and nutmeg (1tsp), cloves as listed, but I took out of oven after 35 mins and left in pan for another 10 – often find coconut flour recipes a little dry. Nut free so safe for kids to take to school. Served with greek yoghurt for dessert. Thank you, will be a regular in our repertoire from now on!

  8. I have been using chia pudding as icing. Just mix some chia seeds into some coconut cream and let it set in the fridge then spread on cup cakes, muffins etc. I use a whole small tin of coconut cream and approx. 1/4 cup seeds. Don’t overdo the chia seeds or it will be too thick.

  9. Thanks..I loved the recipe (I did add a few extras) and the chia seed and coconut cream worked well i added a a bit of maple syrup, lemon juice and had a great icing!

  10. I would make a coconut butter icing for on top of this!! And it will set firm yum!

  11. I am so blessed. Went to search the internet for a grain free, nut free cake to bake for my son’s birthday and this just popped up on Facebook. Thank you for saving me all that time. 🙂

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