Gluten-Free Cake Recipe For Coeliac Awareness Week

Carrot Cake with Watercress and Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 80 ml (2¾ fl oz) rapeseed oil plus a little extra for greasing
  • 4½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbs white vinegar
  • 235 g (8¼ oz) apple sauce (preferably unsweetened)
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) non-dairy milk (we used oat milk)
  • 100 g (3½ oz) dark brown soft sugar
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) caster sugar
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz) golden syrup)
  • 160 g (5½ oz) grated carrot
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 170 g (6 oz) ground almonds
  • 150 g (5¼ oz) gluten-free flour (we used Doves)
  • 30 g (1 oz) chopped walnuts
  • 30 g (1 oz) raisins
  • For the Icing:
  • 1 tub vegan cream cheese
  • 100 g (3½ oz) vegan butter (we used Naturli, a hard block which is better for this than a spreadable tub)
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) icing sugar, sieved
  • 30 g (1 oz) watercress, chopped finely
  • To Decorate (optional): edible flowers: chopped nuts.
Recipe and image courtesy of The Watercress Company.

Coeliac Awareness Week runs from May 9 – May 15 so we’re sharing a vegan and gluten-free cake recipe to enjoy from The Watercress Company.

Carrot Cake with Watercress and Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan and gluten-free

Serves: 8


For the cake:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Brush the insides of three 15 cm (6 in) loose-based cake tins with rapeseed oil and place a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 teaspoons of the baking soda with the vinegar, then add in the rapeseed oil, apple sauce, non-dairy milk, sugars and golden syrup. Mix together. Add in the grated carrot and stir thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl, sieve together the salt, the rest of the baking soda, the baking powder, cinnamon, ground almonds and gluten-free flour. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, ensuring they are fully incorporated. Next, add in the chopped walnuts and raisins and stir through.
  4. Divide the mix equally between the three prepared cake tins.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer or knife into the centre of each cake. If the skewer comes out clean then the cakes are baked, otherwise return to the oven and check again after five more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove carefully from the tins. Once removed, allow the cakes to cool completely before icing.

For the icing:

  1. To make the icing, take the cream cheese out of the fridge one hour before using so that it is slightly softer and ensure your vegan butter is soft, too. Use an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment to beat the butter until smooth. Then add in the cream cheese and beat on a low speed until fully combined. You may need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides from time to time to ensure everything is fully mixed. Be careful not to beat on too high a speed as the mixture may split. Add in the icing sugar, then beat on a medium speed until combined fully before stirring through the chopped watercress.
  2. Once your cakes are cooled completely, use the icing to cover each layer before stacking, finishing with a thick layer of icing on top. Add fresh edible flowers and/or chopped nuts to decorate, if liked.

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