Pistachio Carrot Cake

Looking for something special to celebrate the last day of school or a summer birthday?  We’ve got you covered.  Our favorite carrot cake with a twist!  Perfect amounts of sweet and moist for a tasty, crowd-pleasing dessert!

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Pistachio Carrot Cake

Course: Desserts
Keyword: Gluten Free
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Denise


  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup ground pistachios reserve 1 Tbsp for garnish
  • 2 cups grated fresh carrots
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes


  • 2 8 oz blocks cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray 3 non-stick round baking pans (8-inch) with nonstick spray or line with spray and parchment paper, cut to fit pan.  Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine oil and sugars, whisking well to combine.  Add eggs and vanilla, whisking to combine.  Mixture should be smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour through pistachios).  Mix well to combine.  Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture, blending well.  Add carrots at the end and gently mix only to combine, being careful to not overmix at this point.
  • Gently pour batter into previously prepared pans, trying to evenly disperse amongst pans.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick or fork inserted into cake comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool, making sure they are fully cool before frosting.
  • Once cakes are done, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.  Place unsweetened coconut on small baking sheet.  Cook 7-8 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Once done, set aside for later.
  • To prepare the frosting, combine all ingredients except powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl.  For best results, use a stand mixer or hand mixture to achieve a nice whipped and smooth frosting.  Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing after each.  Add as much powdered sugar as needed (roughly 4 cups) to achieve desired consistency.  Note, I like to refrigerate my frosting for 10-15 minutes, making it easier to spread.
  • Once the cakes are cooled, use a cake leveler or a long, serrated knife to slice off top of cakes so they are nice and flat, making frosting easier and cake more stable.  Stack your first cake layer on the cake stand you plan to serve on.  Note, a pro tip is to gently tuck pieces of parchment paper under the sides of your first cake layer.  This will allow you to frost without worry about a mess and can be easily removed after.  On top of first layer, place a generous dollop of icing.  Using a spatula, spread into an even layer.  Repeat for next two layers.  Finish by frosting sides.
  • Gently remove parchment from below cake to reveal a nice, clean cake stand and beautiful cake.  Adorn sides of cake and top with shredded coconut.  Garnish with reserved pistachios.  Serve and enjoy!
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