Pina Colada Carrot Cake Recipe (Gluten-Free)

This carrot cake recipe is my favorite. It goes back to my first office job in 1977 when I was in high school. I was working part-time in a mailroom sending out junk mail (yep, I did that). A coworker brought a cake to work for someone’s birthday and since I really was not a huge fan of carrot cake, I did not want a piece. However, in order to be polite, I tried a small piece. WOW. This one was different!

Carrot Cake with a Tropical Twist

The tropical ingredients include shredded coconut and pineapple, making it what I call a Pina Colada carrot cake. When you make this, get the best ingredients.


Go for organic carrots and put them through a shredder (like the Salad Shooter) or you can grate them by hand using a standard grater. Drain any excess liquid.

  • Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, an orange pigment, that the body uses to make Vitamin A. This vitamin supports healthy eyesight and a robust immune system.
  • Studies show that just a half cup of carrots per day is protective against heart disease. This small amount packs a lot of nutrition.
  • The fiber in carrots helps with digestion and bowel regularity.
  • Carrots are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, that help with bone health, immunity.
  • In addition to beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene, carrots have a high amount of silicon and biotin to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails.


In this carrot cake recipe, I prefer fresh pineapple, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor but you can also use canned organic crushed pineapple.

  • Pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
  • They are abundant in the mineral manganese, which supports healthy bones, nervous system, and activates enzyme systems in the body. Manganese also supports healthy blood sugar metabolism.
  • Pineapples help support a robust immune system.
  • The enzymes in pineapples help with digestion, but can also reduce inflammation.
  • Pineapples are loaded with antioxidants, which is important for chronic disease prevention.


I am a huge fan of coconut meat. Not only does the flavor enhance this carrot cake recipe, but it offers good nutrition.

  • Coconut meat is antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal. It supports immune health.
  • Shredded coconut provides an excellent source of fiber.
  • The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut can help to increase metabolism.
  • Coconut may help to balance hormones and cholesterol profiles. It’s a heart-healthy fat source.

This Carrot Cake Recipe is Gluten-Free

This recipe originally included regular white flour. I used a gluten-free baking mix along with some almond flour as a substitute for wheat and it worked well. After some experimenting with the amounts, I got it just right. I also decreased the amount of sugar in the cake and in the cream cheese frosting.

Enjoy this recipe as a birthday cake or for just about any special occasion or use it to make cupcakes.

Pina Colada Carrot Cake Recipe (Gluten-Free)

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 382kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free baking mix I use Pamela's Baking Mix
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup of raw sugar regular sugar may be used
  • 1 cup of oil I use unrefined sunflower oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups shredded or grated carrots
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks chopped finely (you can also use canned crushed pineapple, drained)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut I use Trader Joe's organic shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter or ghee for greasing the baking dish

FROSTING Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces organic cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Mix together the baking mix, almond flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Gradually add the flour mix.
  • Fold in the remaining ingredients (carrots, pineapple, coconut).
  • Prepare a baking dish or pan (12" x 9") that has been greased and floured or use cupcake tins.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting the cake.
  • While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Leave the butter and cream cheese out for a while to soften, then mix butter and cream cheese together. Gradually add the sugar and lastly the vanilla.


  1. Feel free to add some chopped walnuts or raisins.
  2. To grease and flour the baking dish, use some butter (or ghee) and some of the gluten-free baking mix.
  3. Add some shredded carrots to the top for garnish.
  4. Calorie information includes frosting. 
  5. For a dairy-free option, omit the frosting.

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