Spiced Carrot Cake with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting {Gluten-Free Recipe}

Filled with warming spices, sweet carrots and golden raisins, this is the perfect celebration cake for fall. Gluten Free Spiced Carrot Cake Recipe with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting -- Filled with warm spices, sweet carrots and golden raisins, this is the perfect celebration cake for fall.My husband had just two food wishes for his birthday last week — Smoky Sweet and Spicy Pork Ribs and carrot cake.

I’ve made the ribs a dozen times now, so that was easy.  I also whipped up a super delicious Asian-style slaw that was perfect with them. (Stay tuned for that recipe in a few days!)

And it’s a good thing I started working on the carrot cake a couple of days ahead of time, because I wasn’t happy with the first two versions.  Yup, it took three tries for this delicious masterpiece.  One was too dry and one wasn’t spiced enough.  This one however, was just right. 🙂Gluten Free Spiced Carrot Cake Recipe with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting -- Filled with warm spices, sweet carrots and golden raisins, this is the perfect celebration cake for fall.I usually expect this when I try new baking recipes — especially gluten-free cakes.  It usually takes at least three tries before I love it.  Remember my Gluten-Free Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake?  Same thing!  And as you know, I won’t publish it here unless I love it.  That’s a rule I never break!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Spiced Carrot Cake with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting {Gluten-Free Recipe}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
**Please note that the total prep time of 1 hour does NOT include the time it takes the cake to cool, which is a few hours. It must be cool before you frost it. Ideally, you should bake the cake the night before you want to frost and serve it.
Serves: 12
For the cake
  • ¾ cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons each: ground cinnamon and ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup golden raisins
For the frosting
  • 12-ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 4-ounces unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
For the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and adjust a rack to the center.
  2. Us a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides of a 9 x 2-inch cake pan with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Then sprinkle the oil evenly with 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ¾ cup of oil with the remaining 1 cup of sugar. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolk and blend until it's smooth.
  4. Add the sour cream and vanilla and again, whisk until smooth.
  5. In another large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Mix to blend.
  6. Use a large rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients.
  7. Fold in the carrots and raisins and then pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Place the cake pan on a baking sheet (for easier transportation), and into the preheated 350 degree F oven.
  8. Bake just until it's set and no longer jiggles. The top will begin to crack a bit and become golden when it's done, about 40 minutes.
  9. Let it cool in the cake pan for about 10 minutes, then go along the edges with a dull knife to loosen the cake. Invert it onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely to room temperature -- this could take a few hours. (Ideally you should bake the cake the night before your frost and serve it.)
For the frosting
  1. Add the cream cheese and butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl and use an electric mixer with the whisk attachment to blend on high until smooth. (If you don't have a whisk attachment, that's okay -- it might just take longer to become smooth.)
  2. Add the powdered sugar, about half at a time, and mix to blend. Then add the milk, vanilla and cardamom and mix one last time to blend everything together. (The frosting should be at room temperature when you're ready to use it.)
To assemble the cake
  1. Once the cake is 100% cooled, invert it from the cooling rack onto a serving platter. Use a large serrated knife to slice it in half horizontally. Use your largest, flat spatula to very carefully remove the top layer and place it on a large plate of sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Spread about ⅓ of the frosting on the bottom half of the cake, then very carefully, bring the top layer as close the the frosted layer as possible, and place it on top. (It will help to use the large, flat spatula.) Add the remaining frosting to the top and sides of the cake, using only gentle pressure. It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth -- as you can see from my pictures above, I like a rustic look.
  3. Refrigerate the frosted cake for about 30 minutes before slicing.


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  1. says

    Oh, how I wish Markipedia liked carrot cake. I will use have to make this for the office! Love the spice usage, especially the cardamom in the frosting.

  2. says

    A good carrot cake is wonderful stuff. Gotta get the spicing right, though, which can be a bit difficult. Looks like you did a great job with that. And the frosting looks amazing! Thanks so much.

  3. Kate says

    I made this cake and took it to work.. and it was gone in half an hour. They’ve requested I make it again, but would it be possible to use this batter for cupcakes instead? If so, do you have a recommendation for how long to bake them? Thanks so much for the awesome recipe. 🙂

    • valentina says

      Thanks so much, Kate. I’m so pleased you loved this cake, and great idea to make cupcakes with the batter. You’ll have to check them about halfway through the baking time, but I’d guess about 25 minutes, at 350 degrees F. 🙂 Enjoy!

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