Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
A traditional carrot cake with deliciously moist spiced carrot cake layers paired with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting made dairy, egg, and gluten-free.
I'll admit, I have never been a carrot cake fan. Just the name made me turn up my nose. Why carrots in a cake?! Growing up, I was an extremely picky eater, so don't judge me too harshly. But this carrot cake can make any skeptic change their mind, and even my kids practically licked the plate clean!
INSPIRATION FOR MY CARROT CAKE
As most of you know, I am a home baker and make custom cakes and cupcakes for my local area. I had a request about a carrot cake, and I have honestly never made one. I found a recipe by who I consider the queen of cakes, Cake By Courtney. I tried it, and it was phenomenal! So naturally, it became my go-to carrot cake recipe.
Using her cake recipe as inspiration, I decided to alter it to be dairy, egg, and gluten-free. I added more applesauce for an easy egg replacement. You can use any 1:1 Gluten-Free flour to sub for all-purpose flour. I used almond milk mixed with vinegar for the dairy substitute, but any dairy-free milk would work.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST CARROT CAKE
Sift your gluten-free flour before adding it to ensure no lumps in the cake batter.
Use freshly grated carrots for proper moisture, as pre-shredded carrots will not have as much moisture.
Do not overmix your batter; mix until the flour is just combined.
HOW TO MAKE CARROT CAKE
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
- Measure your dairy-free milk and stir in the vinegar. Set aside to make your dairy-free buttermilk.
- Using the paddle attachment, combine oil and sugars with an electric mixer.
- Add the applesauce and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture while alternating with the dairy-free buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour.
- Fold in the shredded carrots.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks until cooled completely.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Sift in your powdered sugar and mix until just combined.
- Add your vanilla extract and continue mixing on medium-low for another 2 to 3 minutes.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
- Place the first cake layer, top side up, on a cake board.
- Evenly spread cream cheese frosting on the cake layer. Then, place the second cake layer on top of the layer of buttercream and spread more cream cheese frosting over the second layer.
- Place the third cake layer top-side down.
- Apply a thin layer of cream cheese frosting over the entire cake (top and sides). Scrape the cake evenly. This is called the crumb coat. Freeze the crumb-coated cake for about 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat before fully decorating.
- Then continue decorating the cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting.