My G-F WowButter Carrot Cake
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Carrot Cake


In my teens, I learned to bake in a grocery store. Sometimes, a specialty cake slice would be too damaged to sell. Usually the icing was smudged and so my boss let me (or anyone) eat it.

I tried quite a few types of carrot cakes. Some had way too much icing, some were too spicy (heavy on the cardamom or nutmeg), and many were too bland.

The biggest turn offs for me were the carrot cake slices with mealy, mushy raisins or stale walnuts. Just one bite of a stale walnut made me want to stop eating it.

I gave up buying store-bought carrot cakes and forgot about making them for years. Guess I thought of them as needing walnuts. I was never keen on carrot cake with pineapple either. Blah.

Well, I finally took the plunge with my Crunchy WowButter and made the tastiest gluten-free carrot cake with gluten-free low fat cream cheese icing. No walnuts, no raisins (although you can add whatever you like). 

If you aren't on a gluten-free diet, just omit the xanthan gum and use regular graham cracker crumbs. I had plenty of gluten-free graham crumbs leftover after I made WowButter Nanaimo Bars.

My Inspiration and Tweaks

Since I wanted to use up my Kinnikinnick gluten-free graham crumbs, I settled on tweaking a recipe for carrot cake that I found on the Planters website.[1]

I also used gluten-free flour and xanthan gum (instead of regular flour) and less butter in place of the peanut oil. I swapped out the walnuts and used Crunchy WowButter instead. I used less sugar since Crunchy WowButter is sweeter than walnuts.

Pure icing sugar contains no gluten (I use Redpath brand) whenever I'm too lazy to make the icing. The cake is still great. Oh and I cut back on the nutmeg just a tad. Too much nutmeg is overpowering.

If you are on a strict gluten-free diet, you need to be aware that some baking powders may contain gluten.

The following brands are gluten-free: Rumford Baking Powder (Non-Aluminum), Bakewell Cream Baking Powder with Cornstarch (Aluminum-Free), Davis Baking Powder, Hain Pure Foods Featherweight Baking Powder, Hearth Club, and Clabber Girl.[2]

I've been using Magic Baking Powder for over twenty years. It's reportedly gluten-free, although it is not labeled as such.[3]

Lastly, I decided to find out the bake times for various sized pans in case you want to make your carrot cake a double layer, Bundt, loaves, muffins, or springform style cake.[4][5]

By Making Two Loaves of Carrot Cake

I Use Less Cream Cheese Icing (Less Fat & Calories)

Identity Crisis Carrot Cake
Credit: Breville USA on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

My Daughter Prefers Cupcakes With Icing

Carrot Cupcake
Credit: Brenna (brenbot on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

WowButter Carrot Cake With G-F Options

Serves: 12 | Prep: 40 mins | Total: 1.5 - 2 hrs

Webster St & Page St, San Francisco, CA Homemade Carrot Birthday CakeCredit: hoerner_brett on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericIngredients:

3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp. xanthan gum (omit if using regular flour)
1 tbsp. gluten-free baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 eggs (3 large eggs will work)
1 cup butter at room temp
1 and 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups finely shredded carrots (about 6 large)
3/4 cup WowButter (Crunchy) 
2.5 - 3 cups worth of G-F Grahams Crumbs, finely crushed
Optional: Pure icing sugar to sprinkle on top (if no icing desired)


Set out a cup of butter to reach room temp. Wash, peel and finely shred 3 cups worth of carrots (about six large ones).
In a large bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour and xanthan gum. Then add graham crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk everything together until thoroughly incorporated and set aside.
Ensure oven racks are set so your carrot cake(s) or loaves will bake in the center and preheat oven to 350 F (177 C). The bake time will depend on the type of cookware you use. The original Planters recipe called for a 12-cup fluted tube pan (which I don't own) and required a bake time of 60 - 70 minutes. 
You can use these pans instead and the cake will be done sooner (for loaf pans, I put a tented piece of foil over the top the last 15 minutes to prevent the top from browning too much):
Rotating Carrot Cake in 9 x 13 Pyrex Pan After 30 MinsCredit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved2 (8-inch) round cake pans: 30 - 40 mins
1 (10-inch) Bundt pan: 50 mins - 1 hour
1 (10-inch) springform pan: 35 - 45 mins
24 muffins/cupcakes:  15 - 22 minutes
2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans: 45 -50 mins
1 (9 x 13-inch) Pyrex 3-Qt. baking dish: 35 - 45 mins (turn pan 180 degrees once while baking, as shown, right)
TIP: You can grease and flour your pan or use parchment paper (I prefer the latter).
In a large bowl, beat eggs on high with mixer until thick (about 2 mins). Add butter, WowButter, brown sugar, and vanilla and beat for 1 minute. Add graham crumb mixture and carrots and combine thoroughly. Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake in oven.
Skewer in Center Comes Out With One CrumbCredit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reservedCake is done when a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (or with only a crumb or two).
Cool cake in the pan(s) for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack. It's great sprinkled with pure icing sugar or you can make the following gluten-free cream cheese icing instead (highly recommended by my man-servant).
NOTE: Cake will need about an hour to cool if you are frosting it.

Dry Mixture, WowButter Mixture & Carrots

Dry Mix, WowButter Mix, and Carrots
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Once Everything Just "Comes Together"

Scrape Carrot Cake Dough Into Prepared Pan(s)

Scraping Carrot Cake Dough Into 3-Qt. Parchment Paper-Lined Pyrex Baking Dish
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

I Lift Cake Out With the Parchment Paper

And Just Flatten It Out On a Wire Cooling Rack

My Carrot Cake Cooling on Wire Rack
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved
Swirly Cream Cheese Icing
Credit: Yun Huang Yong on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Gluten-Free Low Fat Cream Cheese Icing

For Single Layer Cake or Muffins | Total: 15 mins

I loosely based my recipe on Kraft's Classic Cream Cheese Frosting.[6] At first, I thought using Neufchâtel would be healthier until I discovered that low-fat cream cheese has less cholesterol.[7]

After a few tries, I finally came up with a frosting that I think everyone will enjoy.

NOTE: If you a making a double layer carrot cake (and icing the sides) you should double this recipe.


1 pkg. (8 oz.) brick of Kraft Philadelphia 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese, softened
2 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tbsp. plain yogurt (Greek works best)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 - 2 cups pure icing sugar (may need extra)
Optional: 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes*
In a large bowl, mash the cream cheese, butter, and yogurt together. Add vanilla and cinnamon and beat with a mixer until blended. Gradually add icing sugar and beat until smooth and thickened to desired consistency. If you wish, add unsweetened coconut flakes or sprinkle them on top of frosting last.
*Some coconut flakes are packaged on shared equipment lines with gluten or peanut-containing products. Therefore, I only use Let's Do...Organic brand.[8]

After 1 Hour, I Put Carrot Cake Back in Pyrex

Keeps It From Drying Out and Makes Icing a Breeze

My Carrot Cake Iced
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Man-Servant's Piece of WowButter Carrot Cake

My Man-Servant's Piece of Carrot Cake
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved