Last week my husband went to the grocery store with the kids, and when they got home my 3 year old son couldn’t stop raving about the carrot cake they saw with mini carrots made of icing. Much like many young children with food allergies, he’s pretty mature when it comes to food issues. He understands that we don’t eat store bought treats because they contain nuts, eggs and cow’s milk, all things that can make him very sick. So instead of leaving with the carrot cake, my husband snapped a picture of the cake and my son excitedly showed me the picture and asked to me to make some carrot cake.
And so my mission began, to create a recipe for a dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and gluten-free carrot cake. I grew up eating my mom’s carrot cake, that was moist and rich with an amazing cream cheese icing, and this is exactly what I wanted the HypeFoodie version to taste like. Instead of using some of the existing vegan gluten-free carrot cake recipes, I decided to use a traditional carrot cake recipe and convert it myself. I’m so glad I did, because it tasted amazing.
I started with converting the required 2 cups of flour to a gluten-free flour blend. I’ve recently started using Robin Hood Gluten Free Nutri Flour, which doesn’t contain any xanthan gum or starches. So instead of using a straight 1:1 substitution, I made sure to add some tapioca starch and xanthan gum to the blend. If you are using a gluten free flour blend that already contains xanthan gum and starches, use a full 2 cups of your blend.
I remember when I was younger, my mother would have me grate the carrots when she made carrot cake. My son is still a little too young to use a grater, so for the first time, I used the grater on my food processor. What a great little short cut! But make sure to remove the grated carrots and rinse all plastic parts of your food processor immediately after using it, because the carrot juices tend to stain (I learned this the hard way).
The original recipe called for 3 eggs. To make this recipe egg-free, I made chia eggs by grinding chia seeds in a coffee grinder and adding water (1 tablespoon of ground chia + 3 tablespoons of water = 1 egg). The chia blend turns into a gel-like mixture that resembles eggs and works well to bind the cake, with the added bonus that it’s rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. If you don’t have chia seeds, you can use ground flax seeds or applesauce to replace the eggs. Here are some other egg replacement techniques.
I omitted the pecans to make this a nut-free carrot cake, and it didn’t make a difference to the taste. If your family is able to eat nuts, I’d suggest keeping the pecans in the recipe just for the added protein and texture.
I think the best part of any carrot cake is the cream cheese icing. I didn’t want to buy a full tub of vegan cream cheese spread and use it for the icing, as they are pricey. Luckily, I found this great recipe on Gimme Some Oven that uses regular vegan butter, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and icing sugar. I only needed a half recipe for my carrot cupcakes.
The final product came out as moist, dense and delicious carrot cupcakes. I chose to make them cupcakes because it’s easier to serve to my kids and freeze in portions, but this recipe would work wonderfully as a cake. I didn’t bother with coloring the icing orange to make the fun mini carrots my son was raving about, but I did cut up some real carrots into mini carrots for decorative purposes, and he got a kick out of those (phew!).
View the complete recipes for Gluten-free Vegan Nut-free Carrot Cake and Gluten-free Vegan Cream “Cheese” icing. Try this recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below. What modifications did you make?