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This gluten free oatmeal carrot cake recipe is a healthy dessert recipe full of vegetables. No refined sugar, high fiber thanks to the oatmeal and moistened with applesauce, this easy gluten free cake is a family favorite.
Gluten Free Oatmeal Carrot Cake
My eldest daughter has always been a fan of carrot cake. Frankly, so have I—it just took her love of this veggie-loaded cake for me to remember how much I love it. One thing that always bothers me about carrot cake is the amount of sugar in it. So instead of the typical white sugar inclusion, I’ve sweetened this gluten free cake with honey (goes so well with the flavor profile, in my opinion). In addition, the applesauce, while unsweetened, lends some natural sugars, too.
Here are some ways that this carrot cake is made healthier:
- Oat flour instead of traditional flour is not only gluten free, but it lends fiber and is beneficial for those trying to lower cholesterol. Make sure oats are certified gluten free.
- Moistness is increased with the use of unsweetened applesauce, which also adds some beneficial fruit.
- Instead of the typical white/brown sugar, natural sweetener honey is used.
- Oftentimes vegetable or other refined oils are used in baking. I used coconut oil which has it’s own health benefits, and again, is a good addition to the flavor profile.
How to make gluten free carrot cake
- The first step to making this carrot cake, and in my opinion the most time-consuming, is shredding the carrots. For that reason, I like to use my food processor since I use it throughout the process. Either pulse carrots in a food processor or shred them by hand. You’ll then take the carrots and squeeze them in a paper towel or clean dish towel to remove excess moisture.
- If you are using the food processor, put oats in it and pulse them until they are in a fine flour form. You can easily buy oat flour, too, but I find that I often just make my own.
- Next, combine dry ingredients aside from carrots and raisins. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. (Again—this can be done in the food processor if you’d like).
- Mix dry and wet ingredients together, and fold in shredded carrots and raisins.
- Line an 8 or 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper and add batter to this. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes and test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle. If it comes out clean, it is done. The top should look a little golden as well.
- Let cool completely before adding any frosting.
Suggested substitutions for this oatmeal carrot cake
- Increase your add-ins. I don’t know about you, but I love some good add-ins in carrot cake! Think pecans, walnuts, raisins or unsweetened dried coconut. You’ve got room to play with—I did a 1/2 cup of raisins, but feel free to mix this up as you see fit. Just ensure you end up with just 1/2 cup total of these add-ins.
- Omit or reduce sweetener. This healthy carrot cake is loaded with natural sweetness from the honey and applesauce, which does lots of naturally sweetening on their own. But if you are looking to reduce your added sugar or just enjoy a lightly mildly sweet cake, sub the maple syrup/honey with mashed banana or extra applesauce.
- Use mashed bananas instead of applesauce. For those times you have ripe bananas or don’t have any applesauce on hand—this is an easy substitution!
- Maple syrup instead of honey. This is an easy one. I personally think honey goes better in this recipe, but maple syrup will work, too!
What type of frosting to use
Typically I’d suggest a cream cheese frosting with carrot cake. But you could also try this with a simple buttercream frosting, or make your own homemade whipped cream or whipped coconut cream to go on top. An important note about making your own whipped cream—this does need to be eaten sooner than later (read: will not be nearly as good tomorrow.). Just a heads up!
Oatmeal Carrot Cake is a delicious healthy dessert recipe that combines oat flour + other real food ingredients and no refined sugars.
- 1/2 cup applesauce , unsweetened
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (sub avocado if desired)
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 or 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Put shredded carrots in a dry dish towel or paper towel and squeeze any excess moisture out.
Combine dry ingredients, aside from carrots and raisins, in a medium-sized bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and mix.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix to combine. Fold in carrots and raisins.
Add batter to prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
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