Are you looking for a perfect low FODMAP cake for your next celebration? Then look no further. This gluten free low FODMAP carrot cake is moist, sweet, and delicious. Plus, it’s easy to make thanks to one of my favorite low FODMAP flour blends – the all purpose gluten free baking flour from Bob’s Red Mill.
As a digestive health dietitian, I often get asked about which gluten-free flours to use for different baked goods and I’ll be the first to say I am not a superstar baker. Gluten free baking can feel really complicated due to the many types of gluten free flours out there – rice flour, corn flour, the list goes on! That’s why I love that there are products out there that make gluten free and low FODMAP baking so much easier!
Is Low FODMAP and Gluten Free the Same Thing?
You may have noticed that a lot of low FODMAP recipes are also labelled as gluten free. While these two diets are similar, they aren’t the same.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley and many people do have sensitivities or allergies to gluten such as those with celiac disease or non-celiac wheat sensitivity. However, on a low FODMAP diet, it isn’t the gluten we are so concerned about. Instead, there is a specific type of FODMAP in wheat, rye, and barley called fructans. And although gluten and fructans are in many of the same food sources, they aren’t the same. Fructans are a carbohydrate, while gluten is a protein. They are two co-existing molecules that make up some of the same foods.
Ultimately, the low FODMAP diet involves eliminating more foods than just wheat, rye, and barley. Looking for ‘gluten-free’ labelling can be a good clue into the FODMAP content of foods, but doesn’t mean it is low FODMAP. Gluten free foods could still contain other high FODMAP ingredients such as honey, onion, garlic, high fructose corn syrup, and more.
What Types of Flour are Low FODMAP?
There are many types of flour that are low FODMAP, but let’s start with which flours to avoid! Wheat, rye, and barley flours are all high FODMAP and should be avoided during the FODMAP elimination phase or if you are sensitive to fructans or galacto-oligosaccharides. This includes all the varieties of wheat such as einkorn, emmer, spelt, and kamut. Coconut flour is also high FODMAP.
Instead, here are some low FODMAP flour options:
- Rice flour
- Corn flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Sorghum flour
- Quinoa flour
- Tapioca flour
- Millet flour
- Teff flour
- Arrowroot flour
There are also a couple flours that get an honorable mention. Oats are low FODMAP at a portion of 1/2 cup or less, therefore oat flour should be about the same, although it hasn’t been formally tested. Almond flour is a gluten free flour that has also become quite popular – but it is only low FODMAP at a portion of up to 1/4 cup.
Are Carrots Low FODMAP?
Yes! In fact, carrots are a unique low FODMAP food because they are actually FODMAP free. That’s right, when carrots were analyzed for their FODMAP content by Monash University, there were no detectable FODMAPs in them at all. They can be eaten freely on all phases of the low FODMAP diet so enjoy them however you’d like, as much as you’d like!
Is Cream Cheese Low FODMAP?
My personal favorite part of any carrot cake is the cream cheese frosting. It’s ooey gooey and the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. Is there anything better? You may think cream cheese frosting is a FODMAP no-no, but not necessarily!
Cream cheese is only low FODMAP at portions of 2 tablespoons or less, as it does contain lactose. Nowadays many grocery stores carry lactose-free cream cheese, which is what I used in this recipe to ensure the portions remain low FODMAP for each slice of cake. This recipe also has a small amount of lactose-free milk. However, the amount of milk per serving is very small, so you could use regular milk if you needed to.
Keep in mind, if you’ve been tested and confirmed not to be lactose intolerant, you can consume lactose on a low FODMAP elimination diet and therefore could use regular cream cheese and milk in this recipe.
How to Store This Carrot Cake
It is best to store this carrot cake in the refrigerator in an airtight container such as a cake carrier. Since there are perishable ingredients like carrots and dairy in this recipe, it can easily develop mold if left for too long. Refrigerate for up to 4 days for the freshest cake possible!
Can you freeze carrot cake for later? Absolutely! To enjoy this cake later, cut it into slices and put each slice into airtight containers. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready for a moist piece of carrot cake, simply remove a slice from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator until it is soft enough to eat.
Love this low FODMAP recipe as much as we do? Our collection of low FODMAP recipes were created to help you navigate the low FODMAP diet. Many of our patients have tried implementing the low FODMAP diet on their own. However, this diet should be conducted with the support of a registered dietitian. At Ignite Nutrition we offer one-on-one nutrition counselling to help you start on the low FODMAP diet with guidance.
Favorite Low FODMAP Carrot Cake (Gluten Free)
- 1 hand mixer or standing mixer
- 2 eight inch round cake pans
- 1 whisk
- 1 spatula
- 2 large mixing bowls
- 2 ½ cups gluten-free all purpose flour I used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free 1 to 1 baking flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ¼ cup vegetable oil or other neutral cooking oil I used canola oil
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup lactose-free milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 8 ounces lactose-free cream cheese
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and position the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Spray two 8 inch round cake pans with non-stick spray or cover the bottom and sides in a layer of butter.
- In a large mixing bowl, add gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well to combine.
- In another large mixing bowl, combine vegetable oil, white sugar, brown sugar, lactose-free milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Use a whisk to mix well. Add each egg one by one, whisking to combine between each. Stir until smooth and even. Use a spatula to fold in the walnut pieces and grated carrots.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry flour mixture and use a spatula to mix it all together until completely combined and no dry flour remains. Use the same spatula to guide the batter into the prepared cake pans, ensuring each pan has an equal amount of batter. Gently hit the bottoms of the cake pans on the countertop to evenly distribute the batter throughout the pans and remove air bubbles.
- Put the pans on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before unmolding the cakes from the pans. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Before frosting – if the cakes have a bit of a dome-shape on top from rising in the oven, trim this off at least one of the cakes (the one that will go on the bottom) to improve structure and support.
- How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the cream cheese and butter together until they are creamy and smooth, roughly 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. The frosting should be stiff – if it is too loose, add more powdered sugar to increase the stiffness.
- Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium high until smoothly combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Cover the bowl and put the frosting in the fridge until ready to use. It will firm up in the fridge, so it may become difficult to spread. Let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes prior to frosting the cake if necessary.
- Set one of the cakes on a serving dish. Use a spatula to add a layer of frosting on top of this cake and place the second cake on top. Use the remainder of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Note: I did not frost the sides of the cake in the photo, but you definitely can!Tip: to smooth the frosting, dip a butter knife in a cup of warm water and gently run it over the top and sides.