Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Carrot Cake

One of my absolute favorite desserts is Carrot Cake, and I am so excited for y’all to enjoy this Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Carrot Cake!

Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Carrot Cake

I have deemed this recipe “Cady’s Carrot Cake” because it is truly one of her greatest masterpieces. (If you don’t know, Cady is the Director of Operations at The Defined Dish). Carrot Cake is her husband’s favorite dessert and after making her mother-in-law’s recipe many times over the years, she decided to try her hand at a grain-free and dairy-free rendition and absolutely nailed it. Cady, you’re a real hero.

I, too, remember as a kid being offered carrot cake for the first time, turning my nose up at the thought of a carrot in a cake!! But as soon as I sunk my teeth into the first bite the rest was history and I am forever a carrot cake lover. Carrots add sweetness and moisture, and this recipe is just that. Moist, fluffy, and incredibly flavorful. 

I also love this recipe because it is incredibly simple to make and pretty foolproof! The hardest part? Waiting for the cake to cool so that you can ice it! haha… but seriously. That is pure torture to me.Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Carrot Cake

This is the perfect recipe to make this spring for any occasion– whether it be for Mother’s Day, a baby shower, or even to make to snack on throughout the week!! I absolutely LOVE this cake with a cup of coffee. 

Grain-Free Carrot Cake

Grain-Free Carrot Cake
Serves: 9 To 12 Squares
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour


For the Cake:

  • 2 ½ cups superfine almond flour
  • 1 ¼ cups tapioca flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • ¾ cup avocado oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp orange zest
  • 2 cups shredded raw carrots about 4-5 medium carrots, see note
  • ½ cup loosely chopped golden raisins

For the Frosting:

  • 4 oz dairy-free cream cheese - room temperature
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter or vegan butter - room temperature
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar

For Serving:

  • ¼ cup chopped pecans


Make the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x9 square baking pan with avocado or coconut oil spray and place a parchment sling into the pan for easy removal. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the eggs. Beat on medium high for 3-4 minutes until they are pale yellow and fluffy. Mix in the avocado oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, lemon zest and orange zest. Beat on medium to combine.
  • Adjust the mixer speed to medium low, and working in increments, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix for 1-2 minutes until everything is well combined.
  • Next, slowly add the shredded carrots and add the golden raisins to the batter and mix until well combined.
  • Tip the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading the batter with a spatula if needed. Transfer to the oven and bake until the top is lightly browned and when pricked with a cake tester it comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. If the top starts to get overly browned, place a sheet of foil over the top, but do note this is a darker cake.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then use the parchment sling to carefully transfer the cake to a wire rack until completely cooled.

Make the Frosting

  • Meanwhile, make your icing. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment add the dairy-free cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice. Beat on medium for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Next, slowly add the powdered sugar and beat on high for 2-3 minutes until combined. Transfer the icing to the fridge until your cake is completely cooled.
  • To finish, smooth a generous amount of icing and smooth out with an offset spatula evenly across the cake. Once you’ve iced the cake, sprinkle with the chopped pecans, cut into squares and enjoy!


Carrot Shredding Notes: Once your carrots are washed and peeled, you can either hand shred or use a food processor with the shredding blade. 
Batter Notes: Your batter may be a bit thicker than a typical cake batter, but this is to account for the moisture the carrots will release in the oven. 
Storage Tips: This cake is best the same day it is made but any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.


Food Photography and Styling by Modern Food Stories


  • Reply
    April 12, 2023 at 8:09 pm

    5 stars
    Made this for Easter and it was a hit. I used Lakanto powdered monkfruit sweetener for the frosting and no one was the wiser. Will certainly make again.
    The cake collapsed in the middle on cooling – any tips to avoid that?

  • Reply
    April 10, 2023 at 3:08 am

    5 stars
    The best carrot cake I’ve EVER had!! And I cannot believe it is gluten free. I was worried it would be dry or have a weird texture because it’s gluten free, but the cake was extra moist and full of flavor! I love the addition of lemon and orange zest. It truly exceeded my expectations! This is going to be a repeat recipe forever for me!!

    • Reply
      April 10, 2023 at 6:11 pm

      Amazing, Caroline! So happy hear it, thanks for commenting.

  • Reply
    April 6, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    Hi! I have recently found put that I have allergies to dairy, egg and wheat. What dairy free cream cheese do you recommend? I would love to try this cake!

    • Reply
      April 7, 2023 at 6:42 pm

      I prefer Kite Hill brand dairy-free cream cheese!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2023 at 7:58 pm

    Can’t wait to make this! Do you think it’s okay to sub stevia for powdered sugar in the frosting? Thank you!

    • Reply
      April 6, 2023 at 8:06 pm

      Stevia would not work in place of the powdered sugar here, but Truvia and Swerve both make a confectioners sugar that would probably work here, but have not tried either.

  • Reply
    April 1, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    5 stars
    WOW! Seriously fantastic recipe. The icing is so rich and absolutely delicious! I made it into cupcakes, which were PERFECTION! My family won’t even know it’s DF/GF!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    5 stars
    This might just be my new favourite dessert ever. I didn’t want to share with anyone else. Cake was amazzzzing. (I did use a different – full fat – icing).

  • Reply
    January 26, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    Are there any swaps for the eggs?

    • Reply
      January 27, 2023 at 4:55 pm

      You could do a Flax Egg here.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    Hi! Could you make these into cupcakes instead? If so, what would the baking time and temp be? Thanks!

    • Reply
      November 23, 2022 at 4:23 pm

      Hi!! yes– they definitely could!! I would start checking on them at 10 mins (same bake temp) but will likely take 12-15 mins!

  • Reply
    November 15, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    The cake is absolutely delicious!! I found the lemon in the frosting to be way too over powering for my liking and took away from the cake. Would make again but keep the lemon out!

  • Reply
    Kristen Anderson
    September 13, 2022 at 12:25 am

    I am not able to have almonds. Is there a flour that would be a good substitute?

    • Reply
      September 15, 2022 at 7:27 pm

      I haven’t yet tested this particular recipe with flour alternatives im sorry!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2022 at 7:54 pm

    5 stars
    Words can’t express how much I love this cake. I’m positive I ate half of the 8×8 pan I used in 3 days! I kept making everyone try it so I could tell them it was gluten and dairy free, haha. Will absolutely be making this one again!

  • Reply
    May 29, 2022 at 6:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing the recipe! Excited to try this weekend. Could it work in a circular pan or 8 x 8?

    • Reply
      May 31, 2022 at 2:24 pm

      Yes a circular pan works just fine!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2022 at 1:17 am

    Is it really 2 1.2 cup of powered sugar? I did a tablespoon ha — still delicious!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2022 at 5:33 pm

    My mom is allergic to avocado, can I use another oil?

    • Reply
      May 7, 2022 at 9:45 pm

      yes, any neutral in flavor oil (safflower, sunflower, vegetable) would work here.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2022 at 10:56 pm

    Can I substitute tapioca flour?

    • Reply
      May 17, 2022 at 12:30 pm

      Not for the almond flour, no. The texture won’t turn out the same.

      • Reply
        April 7, 2023 at 4:39 pm

        Is there a flour/starch we can use instead of the 1/4 c tapioca? Like arrowroot. Thanks!

        • Reply
          April 7, 2023 at 6:43 pm

          I have only tried this with tapioca so cannot confirm a good swap here, someone else may be able to help!

  • Reply
    May 5, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    I cannot have almonds so what flour would you recommend as a substitute?

  • Reply
    May 5, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    Hi!! You recommended to *see note for the carrots but i don’t see it at the bottom!?

    • Reply
      May 5, 2022 at 4:41 pm

      Just updated this!

  • Reply
    May 5, 2022 at 2:36 pm

    Hi! Any substitute for vegan cream cheese?

    • Reply
      May 5, 2022 at 4:43 pm

      You can sub regular cream cheese!

  • Reply
    May 5, 2022 at 3:35 am

    Looks SOOOO good! For “ superfine” almond flour….can I put my regular almond flour in my cuisinart to refine it?

    • Reply
      May 5, 2022 at 11:25 am

      Sure!! If you have the Bob’s Red Mill brand, that’s the one I recommend. But if yours feels more coarse, pulsing it in a food processor will lend to best results and super perf cake!

  • Reply
    May 5, 2022 at 1:53 am

    Quick question so I can make this for Mothers Day- would you use a julienne peeler for the carrots or pre-shredded?

    • Reply
      May 5, 2022 at 2:07 am

      Hi!! I don’t recommend pre-shredded (I feel like they tend to be thicker) but a julienne peeler should work or see our note about shredding tips!

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