So you’ve set out to make carrot cake, only to discover you’re out of flour? Or maybe you’re looking to switch to a flour-free diet? Or perhaps you’re trying to experiment with new flavors and textures?
Whatever the reason, you’re probably wondering: can you make flourless carrot cake?
In today’s article, I’ll be answering that question and sharing 9 substitutes for flour in carrot cake.
The answer is yes and no.
You can make carrot cake without regular wheat flour, also known as white flour and all-purpose flour.
However, you can’t avoid adding some type of flour to your carrot cake recipe.
Flour gives the cake structure and binds the ingredients of the batter. Without a form of flour, nothing will effectively bring the batter together and the baking process will fail.
You’ll end up with a falling apart goo of a cake, which isn’t really a cake.
Regular flour used in making carrot cake contains wheat and gluten.
Alternatively, you can use one of the following substitutes whether you’re looking for a wheat-free or gluten-free option, or simply need an effective replacement.
I usually recommend adding crushed almonds to carrot cake batter to elevate its flavor.
But that’s not what almonds can do for your carrot cake!
If you need a flour substitute, almonds can do the job. Blanch some almonds (boil them then dunk in cold/iced water) and then grind them in a food processor until their texture is fine, light, and fluffy.
That’s almond flour right there!
You can also use almond meal, which is almond flour but coarser.
Almond flour or meal is rich in vitamin E, protein, and healthy unsaturated fats. It creates structure and delivers a complimentary taste.
Free from grain and gluten, coconut flour is a healthier substitute for regular flour.
It’s highly absorbent though, so if you add the same amount as the recipe calls for regular flour, you’ll need to increase the ratio of wet ingredients.
I recommend using less coconut flour, about 1/4 or 1/3 less than the specified amount of regular wheat, to get a similar texture for your carrot cake.
Coconut doesn’t only provide shape, but it also offers a nice flavor that goes well with carrots.
One of my favorite wheat flour alternatives is oat flour. It’s healthier and super easy to make; just load your processor with some oats and blend away!
While it’s free of wheat, oat flour isn’t totally gluten-free. It also has plenty of fiber and protein.
That said, some types of oat flour are certified gluten-free. But be careful as they still contain a similar protein called avenin.
Similar to coconut flour, oat flour is highly absorbent. You should either use a less amount than regular flour or add more liquids.
This type of flour is the result of grinding dried unripe green bananas. You’d think it tastes like bananas, but it’s actually closer to bran.
Banana flour is free of wheat and gluten. It tends to bake thicker, so use about 25 percent less than regular flour to yield a carrot cake of similar consistency.
You can thank the cassava plant for tapioca flour since it’s the product of grinding its roots.
White and fluffy, tapioca flour bakes beautifully. It can leave a bit of a chalky aftertaste if you use too much, so stick to a 1:1 ratio or 25 percent less than the called-for amount of regular flour.
One thing I do appreciate about Tapioca flour is its durability. You can store it at room temperature for years.
If you’re looking for a white flour substitute with a nutty flavor, try barley flour. It’s wheat-free, fiber-rich, and light on gluten.
I like mixing barley flour with almond flour or oat flour instead of using it alone. I find that the texture of carrot cake turns out better that way.
Seeds of the Amaranth plant are ground to produce Amaranth flour; a gluten-free flour rich in fibers, protein, calcium, vitamin A, and more nutritious elements.
I recommend mixing this flour with almond, oat, or coconut flour (1:3 or 1:4) to create a lighter texture and prevent the earthy taste from shining through the carrot cake.
If you opt for this option, store it in an airtight container in the fridge to keep the fats from going rancid.
Despite the name, buckwheat flour doesn’t contain wheat and is gluten-free. It comes from rhubarb seeds after grinding.
It delivers a nutty flavor to the carrot cake that tastes delicious while supporting your immune system.
Did you know that chia seeds can give you gluten-free flour that you can use instead of regular flour?
Chia flour performs great whether to create structure or enhance flavor with its nutty aftertaste. Use it as a 1:1 substitute for any wheat flour and prolong the baking time of the carrot cake by about 5 percent.
So can you make flourless carrot cake? Yes and no.
You don’t need to use regular wheat flour, but you do need to add a flour-like ingredient to provide structure and bind the batter ingredients together.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.