I’ve adapted my epic gluten free carrot cake recipe to cupcake form! These lovely soft cupcakes are full of nuts and tasty flavours, then topped with lusciously smooth cream cheese frosting (droooooool). I am slightly obsessed with this recipe already haha!

Loads of you love making the full cake, but downsizing to gluten free carrot cake cupcake form means that you can make a smaller quantity if you wish. The recipe here is for 12 cupcakes, simply halve it for a smaller batch and it will work just as well.

If you are short on regular gluten free flour blends at the moment, you’ll see I’ve noted a substitute flour idea based on what I have tried at home. While these are ideally made with self-raising flour (FREEE by Doves Farm), I have also baked them successfully using a buckwheat/rice blend and a rice/tapioca/potato blend.

These are very reliable cupcakes so you could also attempt them with rice flour only if that is all you have, however I am yet to try that myself. I will do next time we have a carrot cake craving (likely tomorrow haha).

Right, let’s crack on with the recipe! One word of warning first: these cupcakes are so good that even the gluten-eaters will want to get their mitts on them. You’d better make a full batch if you’re going to be forced to share these :D.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Yield: Makes 12 Cupcakes

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


For the cupcakes:

  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 180ml sunflower oil
  • 20ml orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 200g gluten free self-raising flour
  • 0.5 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.5 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 0.5 tsp fine salt
  • 200g grated carrot
  • 100g chopped pecans (walnuts also fine)
  • Zest of 1 orange

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • Zest of half a lime
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 70g butter
  • 200g cream cheese

For the topping:

  • 50g pistachios/walnuts/pecans
  • Zest of half a lime


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C (fan). Take a 12-hole muffin tin and line with muffin cases.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the eggs and the sifted light brown sugar until well combined.
  3. Add the sunflower oil, orange juice and vanilla essence to the eggs and sugar - mix.
  4. Now sift the following ingredients into the bowl: self raising flour, xanthan gum, bicarbonate, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir all together until everything is well combined and any lumps in the mixture have been smoothed out. 
  5. Stir in the grated carrot (coarse or finely grated both okay), orange zest and chopped nuts to distribute them evenly throughout the gluten free carrot cake mixture.
  6. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases (each should be approx two thirds full), using a spoon to gently level the batter. Pop the tray on the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 25 minutes or until your cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of your tester cupcake.
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they have cooled, you can make the cream cheese frosting, mmm!
  8. In a clean bowl, mix your butter with a wooden spoon or electric whisk until it has been whipped smooth.
  9. Add the cream cheese to the butter and mix well to combine. Then you gradually mix in the sifted icing sugar - doing this gradually will help avoid any lumps forming. I would use a wooden spoon to initially mix the icing sugar in, then if you have an electric whisk this is handy for giving everything a final blitz. You should end up with a lovely smooth, thick frosting.
  10. Finally, add the lime zest to the frosting and stir it through until you have a nice even distribution.
  11. Now to ice your cupcakes! Add a heaped tsp of frosting to each cupcake, then use a small palette knife to spread it across the surface and create a pretty swirl. Sprinkle some chopped nuts on top of each cupcake, along with the remaining lime zest and then eat :D.

(*You can also substitute 160g rice flour, 40g potato/tapioca starch and an extra 2 tsp baking powder if you do not have a classic self-raising blend. I tried this variation the other day and they were still delicious.)

These cupcakes will keep well for a couple of days if stored in an airtight container, ideally in a cool place.

I really hope you enjoyed making (and eating) these gluten free carrot cake cupcakes, why not try one of my other gluten free cakes:

Happy baking! x