This gluten-free carrot cake recipe is healthier than your average cake and it’s dairy-free! Applesauce & dairy-free yogurt replace oil or butter in this delicious recipe!
While I’m usually strictly a chocolate person, there’s something about the spring that makes me seriously crave carrot cake. It’s always on the menu for our Easter celebrations, and I love making it for friends and family this time of year.
I try to make desserts that even people with dietary restrictions can enjoy. I have been lactose intolerant for as long as I can remember. I never complain or ask others to cook special meals for me! But when people go the extra mile to make something they know I can eat, it really means a lot.
That’s why I decided to adapt my favorite carrot cake recipe to make it gluten and dairy-free. A special cake you can share with special people to make them feel loved.
Making a cake moist and delicious without gluten or dairy is not an easy task (let’s just say at least one of my trials ended up straight in the trash…yikes).
But I finally succeeded and I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! Instead of using butter or oil for moistness, this recipe uses applesauce and dairy-free yogurt!
Small Batch Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
Usually Easter includes an overload of jelly beans and chocolate eggs, so I chose to create a recipe for a small carrot cake (two 6″ layers or one 9×9″ pan).
That way, you can enjoy a slice of cake with a few chocolate eggs on the side! 😉 However, the recipe can easily be doubled to fill two 9″ round cake pans or one 9×13″ pan if you’re feeding a crowd!
Gluten-Free Carrot Cake: Ingredients & Substitutions
- Gluten-Free Flour. I used an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend and the texture turned out great! You can substitute regular all-purpose flour if you do not need the cake to be gluten-free.
- Granulated sugar. I recommend organic cane sugar, however any granulated sugar works well in this recipe!
- Dairy-free yogurt. There are many varieties of dairy-free yogurt on the market today, and you can find them at just about any grocery store! If you do not need a dairy-free cake, feel free to substitute regular yogurt!
- Cream Cheese. If you are like me and think carrot cake MUST be slathered with cream cheese frosting, you can keep this healthy carrot cake dairy free by using a dairy-free variety of cream cheese!
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Gluten-Free Carrot Cake (Dairy-Free)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 9” pan or two round 6” cake pans.
- Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside.
- Grate or process your carrots until fine. Measure and be sure you have ¾ cup carrots after processing. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt and egg.
- Mix in sugar, applesauce and vanilla until smoothe.
- Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix until well combined.
- Fold in carrots until evenly mixed.
- Pour into your prepared cake pans and bake for 35-45 minutes until slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cake sit in the pans for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes remove and cool on a wire rack.
- When cake is cooled, frost with your favorite dairy-free frosting (cream cheese is the best)!
- Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve!
We love Easter, it’s our favorite holiday. I take a two-week break in our homeschooling schedule to walk through a curriculum that teaches my kids the real meaning of Easter. We don’t do the egg-laying bunny thing, but we DO have a lot of fun! Since our kids are young we’re trying to establish traditions they can look forward to every year. Bethany asks for “resurrection rolls” alllllll the time, which is a fun breakfast that I make the Saturday before Easter.
They love hearing the easter story told using resurrection eggs. We always get super dressed up on Easter Sunday and head to church. I really love Easter and am looking forward to our first celebration as a family of 5 this year!
I would love to hear from you! What are your favorite Easter traditions? Recipes?