You’d never guess that this deeply moist and uber-rich oat flour carrot cake with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger is made with no refined flour or sugar.
So, I did a thing.
I made this freaking delicious cake out of oat flour. And with all my millions of oat flour creations, this may be my favorite I’ve EVER made. It’s “healthier” because this recipe contains all real food ingredients, no refined flour, sugar, or even dairy. However, it is not a low-calorie food.
You could certainly reduce the sugar or add-ins to reduce the calorie content if you’d like, but that wasn’t my intention. I intended to make a real carrot cake out of oat flour, and with that, I nailed it! If you do want a little lighter carrot cake option, check out my quinoa carrot cake cupcakes, my carrot cake pancakes, or even my carrot cake protein smoothie bowl!
Clearly, I’m a fan of carrot cake in all forms. We even had carrot cake at our wedding! But, nothing beats a classic carrot cake in the spring for Easter and Mother’s Day. And to me, the classic has to have all the add-ins, including walnuts and raisins. I saw some recipes using pecans. Maybe this is a regional thing? I’ve never in my life had carrot cake with pecans in it, so to me, that was slightly bizarre.
Anyways, before we get to the how-to portion, you should know this cake is best after it’s been refrigerated for 24 hours. Right out of the oven, even after cooling and frosting, it’s a bit crumbly. This is the number one thing I struggle with when making any oat flour recipe. Oat flour does not have the gluten structure (aka protein network) that wheat flour does, which provides a stable product and chewy texture.
That’s why oat flour recipes require sitting time to absorb extra liquid, varying levels of dry to liquids, and sometimes an extra binder like an egg. Still, though, oat flour recipes, in general, will be more crumbly than a recipe using a gluten-free one-to-one blend or wheat flour (all-purpose or whole wheat flour.) I was pleasantly surprised when I popped a piece from the refrigerator that it held together perfectly, just like a regular cake. So you may want to make this a day or two ahead!
How to Make Oat Flour Carrot Cake
When it comes to baked goods like cakes, I get nervous. They are so delicate, easy to screw up, but this recipe is as easy as any quick bread I’ve ever made. Mix the dry ingredients and mix the wet ingredients, then combine. Then, like all my oat flour recipes, let it sit for 5-10 minutes to give the oats time to absorb the extra liquid.
You add in your mix-ins and bake in cake pans for 30-45 minutes (mine took exactly 32 minutes). You could make this just one cake, instead of a two-tier cake BUT, I didn’t test it, so I’m not 100% sure about the time. Probably closer to 40-45 minutes. Make sure to line your cake pans with parchment paper and spray with oil/grease. There is nothing worse than making a double-layer cake and having issues getting the cake out of the pan. I mean, you can always try to piece together cake with frosting, but it’s not ideal.
Let’s talk ingredient substitutions since there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe:
Oat flour – do not sub
Baking powder and baking soda – do not sub or omit
Salt – you can cut this down, but it will alter the cake’s flavor since salt brings out the sweetness in baked goods.
Spices – adjust if you’d like!
Coconut sugars – dark brown sugar can be subbed for dark brown coconut sugar and cane sugar for golden coconut sugar. I would not sub a liquid sweetener for coconut sugar since it’s dry, but you could try other types of dry sugar substitutes like monk fruit, etc. If you try it, let us know how it goes!
Maple syrup – any flavor (amber, dark, etc.) will work. If you sub this out, make sure you are subbing it one to one with another liquid.
Apple sauce – do not sub. I used unsweetened applesauce.
Melted Coconut Oil – I personally wouldn’t want to substitute because when you refrigerate the cake, the coconut oil hardens, which helps the cake from being crumbly. So, although you could technically substitute other oils or more apple sauce, keep in mind this takes away some of the structure.
Grated/shredded Carrots – I highly suggest that you shred the carrots yourself because the pre-shredded ones you buy in the store are super dried out. Grating them yourself will yield a much more delicious product in your cake and help keep your cake moist!
Vanilla extract – optional, but I suggest not omitting.
Eggs – I think this recipe would work with flax eggs, BUT I haven’t tried it. If you try it, let us know!
Walnuts – omit, cut down, add more, change to pecans whatever you want!
Raisins -omit, cut down, or add more. Whatever you want! I thought 1/2 cup was perfect.
Cream cheese frosting – I love Miss Jone’s brand, but try my greek yogurt cream cheese frosting for a healthier option.
Oat Flour Carrot Cake
- 9-inch cake pans
- 2.5 cups oat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/2 cup dark brown coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup golden coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 12 ounces cream cheese frosting
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and grease with oil over the top.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, ground ginger, dark coconut sugar, and golden coconut sugar.)
- Combine wet ingredients (maple syrup, apple sauce, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and eggs) in another medium bowl.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, add in walnuts, shredded carrots, and raisins. Spread mixture evenly between the two cake pans.
- Bake for 34-45 minutes or until fully set (an inserted toothpick comes out clean.)
- Let cool entirely on a cooling rack (the parchment paper will make it easier to turn the pan over on the cooling rack and let the cake come out onto the cooling rack.) Frost one cake, layer the next one on top, and finish frosting.
More oat flour recipes you may like: