GF: Carrot Cake on Turkey Day

A big glorious, too-much-food-for-me Thanksgiving was kicked off with wonderful success. My sister (K3) and her family were here as well as a couple neighbors. It was a purely gluten-free affair.While the food was good, I was honestly much more content with the love, warmth, and conversations about the house. It was great fun to have our neighbors over (we adore them!) but it was a huge treat to have my sis and her family stay for as long as they were able to stick around too! I think they left at 1:45 AM after we watched recorded shows (Kid Nation, Beauty and the Geek, and Kitchen Nightmares). Oh man, that was fun. My sister and I had a great hoot at Beauty and the Geek. It was the first show she had seen of this season’s series. And MAN… did we LAUGH when she saw a person on the show. I think he truly embodies every woman’s joke. We could barely breathe and it was fun to hear her try to explain this roaring laughter to her son (10 years old) who is forming his own ideas of dating, etc. (Just to clarify, we were not giggling at any of the geeks. Nor any of the women. That should boil it down for you if you’ve been watching.)

Ok. Enough. On to the food, huh? That is why people swing through here, after all.
Yesterday, we had:

  • Orange-maple glazed free range turkey with gravy (of course!).
  • Triple-cranberry “sauce” (but it’s chunky and yummy – not really a sauce)
  • Sausage-Cornbread stuffing
  • Garlic mashed potatoes (a bit more gravy here too, ty)
  • Garlic and cream shrimp
  • Roasted cauliflower
  • Stuffed mushrooms

And dessert? No worries – since one nephew couldn’t decide, he started a trend. We ALL had ALL three of the desserts (smaller portions) on a plate. Yum! He was right – this combo was the way to go. For desserts, we had:

At first, when my four year old nephew was presented with dessert choices, he was eyeing the cake.

And then he asked, “What kind of cake is it, Aunt Kate?”

“Carrot cake,” I replied.

OH! The look on his face was priceless. Complete, automatic gag-reflex.

And then his old brother spoke up and said that he thought it might be good.

The facial expressions reversed themselves on the four-year-old (who absolutely ADORES his older brother). That was the end of that. We told him Bugs Bunny would eat it. And he was sold.

Not only was he sold on that, but he decided to try all of the desserts. At once. LOL. We all followed suit. Really – they were a nice grouping of sugary-stuff! LOL

I was inspired by a cookbook (“Cook with Jamie”) we bought by Jamie Oliver. He has a new cookbook out from which all of the profits are returned into restaurants where he helps train young people who need to learn some job skills. I’m not sure if it’s a cookbook I would run out and buy if it weren’t for this – but I like it well enough that I’m considering it as a gift to the ten-year old nephew who loves to cook. It’s got some great basic recipes and techniques with fresh foods that will move him into the land of “adult” cookbooks easily from his “kid” cookbooks. (He has definitely outgrown his cookbooks that are aimed at kids with not only his skills, but his taste buds as well.)

I was a little worried about converting this recipe because the original calls for self-rising flour. Bah. What a pain (possible, but a pain). I like the version we created and didn’t miss the self-rise nor the gluten-filled version of carrot cake.

My first taste of carrot cake came from the cafeteria (!) in my elementary school (!!) that had fantastic food (definitely trend-setters in serving a wide range of food and award winning food at that!). Through my elementary school, I was also introduced to calamari, swordfish, star fruit, etc. It amazes me to think that they fed us all carrot cake at seven. Oh – brave souls! It went over really well though – we even got in line for seconds (even AFTER learning it was made with carrots!) LOL

This carrot cake will create a similar demand. My non-sweet eating love came back for seconds of this… and then had another slice before he went to bed. The nephews had seconds too. As did the neighbor and myself.

May I just add that the remaining cake slices today are incredibly moist and delicious. (I made the cake the day before Thanksgiving and frosted it on Turkey day in the morning.) So, three days later the cake is still delicious as is the frosting. I just kept the cake on the counter with a bowl inverted over it to keep in the moisture. (Would be perfect in a “cake-keeper” too.)

I hope you like it too. =)

Carrot Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 2-3 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 1/2 cups GF flour blend (your favorite or mine)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and rinsed
  • 5 1″ pieces of crystallized ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy (3-4 minutes)
  3. Add egg yolks (reserve egg whites for use later) one at a time and beat together until fluffy again.
  4. Add orange juice, orange zest and orange extract.
  5. Whisk together in a small bowl: gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and black pepper. Add to creamed butter/sugar/egg mixture. Stir until just blended.
  6. In a food processor, grind carrots and crystallized ginger until small pieces (as though you were grating them – medium grate). Should be about 1 1/2 cups (or so) of grated carrot and ginger. Add to dough mixture.
  7. Blend until carrots/ginger are well distributed.
  8. Wipe out the bowl you used for the flours well. Add egg whites and a pinch of salt. Whisk together until stiff peaks are formed.
  9. Fold egg whites into batter.
  10. Butter a bundt pan or 9 x 13″ cake pan.
  11. Pour into bundt pan and back for 30 minutes. Open oven, cover top with foil if too browned, and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes or until a skewer/toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out clean.
  12. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before flipping over/removing from pan.
  13. Cool an additional 1 1/2 hours before covering further. If serving, frost. If not, cover within Tupperware/plastic container (I flipped a large bowl over the top of the plate where the cake was resting) and frost on the same day as serving.

Ginger-Lime Mascarpone Frosting (can be made a day ahead)

  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • Two 1″ pieces of crystallized ginger, finely ground


  1. Mix together all ingredients well.
  2. Store in air-tight container until needed.

Happy GF Holidays and eating!


  1. YUM!!!! I’ve been really wanting a homemade carrot cake lately! I printed a recipe the other day! A carrot cake was the first homemade cake I ever made growing up! I remember shredding those carrots and following the directions in that red and white betty crocker cookbook! This looks incredible!!! Mmmmmm!!! Glad you had such a lovely day! i did too!!

  2. That cake sounds delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a carrot cake with so much orange in it. I bet it makes it so moist.
    I’m glad you had such a great time with your family and friends!

    The orange was a great addition. I added the OJ to add a bit more moisture and was a bit worried that it would overpower the carrot, but it was a great balance. =) – Kate

  3. I have yet to make a carrot cake gf, but this looks great. I am thinking that the carrots can really help with the moisture. :)

    Glad you had a great turkey day.

    SM :)

    Happy Belated Turkey Day to you too! I’m thinking this cake recipe will be a great foundation for a honey-zuchini bread too! MMM.. the possibilities! -Kate

  4. That sounds like a perfect Thanksgiving. Lots of family and food =)

    Your cake looks really, really good. Did you come up with beating the egg whites separately? That’s a great technique for adding extra lift, and would seem perfectly suited for a gluten free cake =)

  5. I love beating egg whites separately too Kate! I figured that out with my ginger lemon muffins a while back! It REALLY helps with rising in gluten-free baking! I love little hints and tricks like that!

    Egg whites are a saving grace sometimes, huh? Sometimes I get lazy and don’t want to dirty yet another bowl – but it’s worth it when the food is “going public” like at Thanksgiving! LOL -Kate

  6. This looks fabulous! And I love Jamie Oliver. I can’t wait to read that new book… (I’m hoping the Chef gets it for Christmas, so I can steal it from him.)

    LOL. I hear ya. I’m glad we picked up this book too, but I think his other books are more on the recipe alley. This one is basic and perfect for my nephew or others who have a start, but want to do more. =) -Kate

  7. What a beautiful (mouth-watering) photograph. I can almost taste it! And count me in on the Jamie Oliver love. He’s fab.

    Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Jamie is a hot box of lava. I like his relaxed style. Nothing pretentious, just good food. Gotta love that. -Kate

  8. Hey Darling,

    I am trying to convert a recipe for Jude’s b day and looking at what you did here. I noticed that one of your ingredients is “ground gloves” heh heh. I suppose you are going to change it, but I laughed way to hard. Gotta love typos sometimes.


    LOL! Well, ya know… everyone needs their secret ingredient. LOL – But you’re right… that’s gotta go! Thanks for pointing out the typo. :) -Kate

  9. THE best cake, I’ve ever eaten, and actually the first cake I’ve ever made, which is not to say I’m amazing, but to show how straight forward it was to make. Thanks so much for posting it. Think I’ll make it again for my hubby’s birthday.

  10. I have to say this is the best GF carrot cake I have eaten. It is very easy to make and tastes great. I have to say a food processor is a great help!! Love the frosting!!!!

  11. Hi – Can you tell me what your gluten free flour mix is for this cake? Do you use different flour combinations for different recipes? I’m just starting to bake using GF flour and I’m looking for different GF flour combinations others have had success with. This recipe looks fabulous! I can’t wait to try it!
    Thanks so much,

    • I sent an email, Sharon.
      Recipes differ so much that you need to be familiar with the flours as well as the intended texture of the cake that you are making.
      With practice, you will learn quickly and success will come!
      No worries!

  12. i have the same question as Sharon. I”m making this cake for company and need it to turn out just right! Could you share your gluten free flour mix.
    thank you.

  13. WOW. Thanks so much! My partner just found out he is gluten intolerant and his favorite dessert is carrot cake. Thanks for helping me make him a very happy man! This cake is FABULOUS! The pepper?!? Who would’ve thought? What a strange and delicious addition! I had to make some substitutions based on what I had in my pantry: I used my own blend of GF flours, walnut meal instead of almond flour, powdered ginger instead of the crystallized ginger (I know, not a good swap at all, sorry!!!) and I added a teaspoon of xanthan gum, but it turned out FABULOUS regardless of the changes I made! I’m pretty sure you could sub out quite a few things and this recipe would still rock. Thanks so much, this is going in my permanent recipe file to use for years to come!!!

  14. My Mom is gluten free; I didn’t want her to be left out Easter without dessert. I made this with your GF flour mixture- it was amazing!!! I was going to make a “real” carrot cake also, but ended up not because this cake was fantastic for everyone!! Everyone said it was the BEST carrot cake that they had ever had, thank you!!!!


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