grain free carrot cake

Grain-Free Carrot Cake by Nina Blake

Grain-free living can make eating different, but not difficult. In this article, we have a special guest contributor who is an expert at grain-free baking. She shares her delicious carrot cake recipe made with vegan cream cheese icing. She shows how easy it is to break a recipe.

Why do people go grain-free?

Hey, we don’t choose the grain-free lifestyle, it chooses us! For some, grains become a full-blown allergy, and for others, grains bring on digestive issues, skin conditions, and autoimmune diseases. While we wait for the rest of the world to catch up on the benefits of ditching grains, almost anything can be made at home with a bit of creativity and knowledge in the kitchen.

Who is Nina Blake?

Nina Blake is a food nerd who was diagnosed with multiple allergies in 2012.  She was unwilling to miss out on her favorite foods like pizza, cake, cookies, stuffing, pies, waffles, and French Toast.  She began developing recipes without grains, dairy, egg, soy, corn, and almond in her quest to add flavor and variety back to her table.  Her desire to share her culinary creations with friends and family members led her to eliminate peanut, cashew, sesame, nightshade, and yeast from most of her recipes.  

In 2022, she started her food blog breakarecipe.com where she began sharing her recipes with the world.  Nina believes that everyone deserves pizza and cake on their birthday and that families should enjoy one delicious meal they can enjoy together! 

In 2023, she launched her cooking classes and coaching services.  Nina is passionate about helping clients organize and simplify their Grain-Free Lifestyle while adding flavor and variety back to their table.  

Nina Blake- creator of Breakarecipe.com

Grain-Free Carrot Cake, from BreakaRecipe.com

Everyone should have a tireless cheerleader…someone who always supports you encourages you, and believes that you can change the world.  The person who will do almost anything to help you when you’re struggling, and will never give up on you.  For me, this person is my Auntie Anna.  

This recipe for a classic carrot cake, without grains, dairy, egg, soy, corn, almond, cashew, peanut, or sesame was inspired by her! 

Let me explain…

When I was diagnosed with food allergies in 2012,  the thought of facing Christmas without cookies made me so sad…It was Auntie Anna who poured over cookbooks and found a recipe for a cookie I could have!  

Words cannot communicate the enthusiasm I had for those cookies, they were the flavor of Christmas. It didn’t matter what I couldn’t have that year, I had cookies and I was in heaven! 

After a decade of avoiding food allergies, I’ve learned to break many recipes; that’s what I call it when I replicate the foods I’m craving without the allergens.  Auntie Anna now avoids gluten, dairy, and other allergens as well.  

When she asked for a carrot cake recipe for her birthday, I wouldn’t let her down.  We share a birthday month, which means the cake needs to be made without Gluten, Grain, Dairy, Egg, Soy, Corn, Almond, Cashew,  Peanut, Sesame, or Nightshade.

What could I use to bake a cake without these ingredients? Unicorn Farts of course!  Okay, maybe not.  However, I do all my baking using a flour blend made from chickpea, tapioca, and coconut flour. With this Grain-Free flour blend and a little xanthan gum, I can create bread, pies, cookies, pizzas, and now carrot cake!  

I believe that everyone deserves pizza and cake on their birthday, regardless of their allergies or dietary restrictions.  Auntie Anna wanted carrot cake, I was not going to let her down!  

grainfree baking
Nina with Auntie Anna

Are you ready to Break A Recipe for Carrot Cake with me?  Let’s Do this!  

If we’re not using Gluten, Grain, Dairy, Egg, Soy, Corn, Almond, Cashew, Peanut, Sesame, or Nightshade; What Ingredients Will We Use In The Carrot Cake?  

We’ll use Unicorn Farts, of course!  Okay, maybe not.  But we will use coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut milk, chickpea flour, a grain-free flour blend made from chickpea, tapioca, and coconut flour, xanthan gum, salt, pumpkin spice, baking soda, cream of tartar, and course shredded carrot.   You can also add 1 cup of raisins, nuts, or sunflower seeds.  I prefer raisins in my carrot cake!   

What about equipment?

Make sure you use a stand mixer when you make this recipe.  Why?  Because I burned a hand mixer on it when I was recipe testing.  This recipe is heavier than your average cake recipe because of the 3 cups of shredded carrot.  Please use a stand mixer and save your hand mixer for lighter recipes

Let’s Break A Recipe For Carrot Cake!  

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Dry Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded carrot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 ¾  teaspoon pumpkin spice 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 cups shredded carrot
  • 2 cups Grain-Free flour blend (mix two cups tapioca, 2 cups chickpea flour, and 1 cup coconut flour) 

Optional: 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, or walnuts, or raisins, or sunflower seeds

Directions

  • Grease Cakelette pan, 3 little layers pans,  or a 9×13 baker
  • In a stand mixer, mix the melted coconut oil with the coconut sugar on low speed.  When thoroughly mixed, add the chickpea flour.  Mix thoroughly on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated.  
  • With the mixer running on the lowest speed, gradually add the coconut milk and mix for one minute. It’s perfectly normal for the batter to change in texture when adding the coconut milk, especially if it is cold.  
  • Gradually add grain-free flour blend.  Mix until batter is moistened.  Sprinkle xanthan gum over top of batter.  Mix for two minutes. 
  • Sprinkle the salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, and pumpkin spice over top of the batter. Mix at the lowest speed.  The batter will become thick. 
  • Add the shredded carrot one cup at a time, mixing on the lowest speed in between each cup. Add in any additional mix-ins, mixing on the lowest speed until mixed well.  
  • Pour into a greased pan.
  • For cakelettes, bake 20-25 minutes.  For a sheet cake, bake 30-35 minutes.  For a little layer cake, bake 25-30 minutes.  The cake is done when a cake tester or toothpick can be removed cleanly, without crumbs sticking to it.

This past Fall I got to play with so many different versions of this recipe I certainly can’t tell which is my favorite.  I loved the mini-cakes for breakfast, the sheet cake was just beautiful, and the little layer cake with some vegan cream cheese frosting is what ended up becoming our birthday cake.

FAQ

How Does The Recipe Work if it’s made without Grains or Eggs?  

When I bake, my goal is to create a dessert with the flavor of the food I’m craving without the allergens, and inflammatory ingredients.  The flour and xanthan gum give structure to the recipe so that it will hold the air pockets created.  While the coconut milk, coconut oil, and even coconut sugar, make sure the cake is is perfectly moist.  

Why is Chickpea Included With The Wet Ingredients? 

In this recipe chickpea flour replaces the protein that eggs contribute.  

What’s The Frosting Made of? 

Mix up 8 ounces of Vegan cream cheese, a cup of powdered sugar, and a little coconut milk!  

Why Mix The Grain-Free Flour 5 cups at a time?

The grain-free flour blend is a godsend!  I use it in all my baking.  Pizza, cookies, cakes, pies, breads, cakes, frying, casserole toppings, it’s all I use.  You can certainly mix up a smaller amount, just keep the ratios the same: 2 parts tapioca flour, 2 parts chickpea flour, and 1 part coconut flour.  

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