There are lots of pretty desserts all vying for a spot on your Easter table.  Shortcake with fresh strawberries, cheesecake in all its glory, and lemon-anything all scream, “pick me!”  But for me this year, it’s all about the carrot cake.  Something about the shredded carrot, moist cake, and the tangy cream cheese frosting makes it stand out as a celebration cake.  Maybe it’s because it is obviously made with carrots, maybe because it is so delicious, but carrot cake just has Easter written all over it.

This is not the industrial sized, carrot-marked cutting squares kind of cake you are used to.  It is healthier, whole grain, and gets a lot of it’s sweetness from the carrots.  It has more carrot, less fat and sugar.  Not saying the words light or healthy here, but if you have been really wanting a carrot cake but not wanting all the fat and sugar that typically goes along with it, give this a try.

I decided to go gluten free this time, and read all sorts of recipes before I remembered my favorite little gluten free bakery in Seattle, the Flying Apron.  I love this bakery so much that I bought one of their cookbooks, but admittedly, I don’t bake gluten free as much as I should.  The cake came together quickly, and once it started baking it filled the whole kitchen with that warm and welcoming healthy bakery smell that scents the Flying Apron.

Here is the recipe as it appears in the Flying Apron’s Gluten Free and Vegan Baking Book.  Happy Easter!


Carrot Cake 
2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/4 cups garbanzo bean flour or chestnut flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup canola oil
2 cups water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups agave syrup, maple syrup, or concentrated fruit juice (Mystic Lake Dairy’s pineapple-peach-pear juice concentrate recommended)
5 medium carrots, grated (about 1 and 1/4 cups)
2 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line bottoms of 3 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Combine brown rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  In a second large bowl, combine canola oil, water, vanilla, and agave syrup.  In a third bowl, combine carrots, coconut, walnuts, and raisins.

Slowly whisk the flour mixture into the canola oil mixture until thoroughly combined.  Fold in the carrot mixture until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Once cake has cooled, remove from pans.  Assemble, frosting the top of each layer with cream cheese frosting.


Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces softened butter
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
agave nectar to taste, approximately 1/2 to 1 cup

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese together until creamy and well combined.  Add vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of agave nectar, and continue to mix.  Taste and add additional agave if desired.



I used coconut oil in place of the canola, and used 1 cup water and 1 cup of coconut milk.  I used a lot more carrot – 3 cups – but only used about 3/4 cup of agave.  I cut the shredded coconut back to 1 cup, and omitted the walnuts for my allergy person.  Left the raisins out.  Not a big fan of raisins in carrot cake.  I opted for traditional cream cheese frosting rather than using the recipe suggested in the cookbook.  Cake was delicious!

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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