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Gluten Free Carrot Pineapple Cake | Entenmann’s Style

Gluten Free Carrot Pineapple Cake | Entenmann’s Style

This gluten free carrot pineapple cake just tastes like the best classic carrot cake you’ve ever had. The crushed pineapple in the batter brings it all the way to amazing. ✨

A classic gluten free carrot cake made in the Entenmann's style, with crushed pineapple in the batter. Remember the taste? Have it again!

It doesn’t taste like pineapple 🥕🍍

I’ve always loved every detail of Entenmann’s boxed cakes, all the way down to how everyone serves them right in the box. After publishing my 4th cookbook, Gluten Free Classic Snacks, I was still hooked on recreating old gluteny favorites and it was right around Easter, so I went for the Entenmann’s iced carrot cake.

I started the way I always do when making a copycat recipe: the ingredient list on the box (that was me, loitering in the snacks aisle of the grocery store for an hour, snapping photos and taking notes!). Everything looked pretty much like you’d expect for a carrot cake—but then I noticed something interesting: pineapple. 

A classic gluten free carrot cake made in the Entenmann's style, with crushed pineapple in the batter. Remember the taste? Have it again!

I really love pineapple cakes, but I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of adding pineapple to a carrot cake. I was afraid that it would compete with the shredded carrots and cinnamon and just lead to taste bud confusion. But I had never even noticed the pineapple in the boxed cake, so it was worth a try.

In place of milk or water, I used canned crushed pineapple in its own juices. It really helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the shredded carrots in the cake and helps everything retain its moisture. Those Entenmann’s people are so smart.

A classic gluten free carrot cake made in the Entenmann's style, with crushed pineapple in the batter. Remember the taste? Have it again!

All about the dreamy cream cheese icing

Entenmann’s ingredient list includes corn syrup. First of all, that’s not at all the same as high fructose corn syrup! Personally, I find light corn syrup to be super useful in candy making and occasionally in baking, since it really helps prevent sugar from crystallizing.

I found that when I added just a couple tablespoons of light corn syrup to the cream cheese icing, it helped make it stable at room temperature and slice really cleanly. You can leave it out if you’re dead set against it, but you’ll find that the icing needs to be kept chilled a bit as it will be less firm.

Of course, you don’t have to “decorate” the icing with the tines of a fork and a spoon. That’s just a fun extra step to ensure that the cake looks just like the actual Entenmann’s iced carrot cake. 

A classic gluten free carrot cake made in the Entenmann's style, with crushed pineapple in the batter. Remember the taste? Have it again!

How to make the most tender and fluffy carrot cake

Of course, I hope you’ll follow the recipe exactly as written, measuring all of your ingredients carefully by weight, not volume. Every week I get emails from readers who have gone out of their way to compare the weight and volume of their ingredients as they measure them out and get worried when they don’t correspond to my ingredients. 

But that’s the whole point of measuring by weight, not volume! Volume is simply too variable (volume containers are not standardized), and human error is unavoidable.

When I first developed this recipe, I didn’t bother to beat the wet ingredients separately from the dry ingredients. The recipe still turned out great, of course, or I wouldn’t have published it, I promise. But when I beat the wet ingredients well, I found that the cake baked more evenly and was less likely to burn on the bottom.

That just means that you’ll need to start by whisking together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, tossing in the grated carrots and raisins and setting that bowl aside. Then, beat the wet ingredients, including the sugars, really well before combining everything. 

Baking the cake at 325°F for a few more minutes, rather than 350°F which is standard for most cakes, also helps ensure that the cake bakes perfectly every time. 

A classic gluten free carrot cake made in the Entenmann's style, with crushed pineapple in the batter. Remember the taste? Have it again!

Ingredients and substitutions

Luckily, there aren’t many additional allergens in this recipe. But here are my recommendations for what we’ve got:

Dairy-free: The cake itself, like most carrot cakes, is made with a neutral oil in the batter, not butter. That means that the cake is naturally dairy-free. The cream cheese icing is definitely made with dairy, though. 

I’ve successfully made cream cheese icing without dairy, though. Please see the ingredients and substitutions section in my recipe for gluten free carrot cake or cupcakes for all the details. 

Egg-free: There are 4 eggs in this recipe, so I’m afraid I really don’t think it can be made without eggs entirely. They’re doing some really heavy lifting in this recipe! So sorry.

Corn-free: In place of cornstarch, try using arrowroot. It should work just fine. Potato starch would also probably be fine.

Raisins: Raisins in baked goods aren’t usually a favorite of mine. I even make my classic oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips instead of raisins! You can replace them here with chopped nuts, or even chocolate chips. I wouldn’t leave them out without a replacement, though, since the recipe is built around a mix-in.

I find that it’s really important to use good quality raisins. If you’re concerned that your raisins aren’t very fresh (which mine often aren’t since I don’t bake with them all the time), try soaking them in hot water for a couple minutes and then laying them out on a paper towel to dry. Measure the amount for the recipe by weight after you’ve revived your raisins. If you’d prefer, try using currants if they’re available. They tend to be more tender than raisins.

 

Entenmann's-Style Gluten Free Iced Carrot CakeA classic gluten free carrot cake made in the Entenmann's style, with crushed pineapple in the batter. Remember the taste? Have it again! #glutenfree #gf #carrotcake #easter

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients

For the cake
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons (228 g) all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Better Batter)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

6 tablespoons (54 g) cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 cups (270 g) peeled and grated carrots

3/4 cup (120 g) raisins

4 eggs (240 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1/2 cup (112 g) neutral oil (vegetable, canola, or grapeseed all work well)

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup (130 g) canned crushed pineapple, in its own juice (heavy on the juice)

For the Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons (42 g) light corn syrup (optional)

3 to 3 1/2 cups (345 g to 403 g) confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and line it with criss-crossed sheets of unbleached parchment paper. Set the pan aside.

  • Make the cake batter. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine well. Add the shredded carrots and raisins, and mix to combine and separate all of the raisins and carrots from one another. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, place the eggs, oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and crushed pineapple in its juice, and beat with a handheld mixer until well-combined. Create a well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and mix to combine well. The batter will be thickly pourable.

  • Bake the cake. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and shake back and forth to distribute the batter evenly in a single layer. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 50 minutes, or until golden brown all over and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached. Remove the pan from the oven from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Make the icing. While the cake is cooling, make the icing. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), place the cream cheese and butter. Beat on medium speed until soft and fluffy. Add the salt, optional corn syrup and 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Mix on low speed until the sugar is absorbed. Then, turn the mixer to high speed and beat until the frosting is thickened and fluffy. Add more confectioners’ sugar as necessary to achieve the desired thickness. If you haven’t used the corn syrup, cover the bowl and place the frosting in the refrigerator to chill until stiffened slightly, about 15 minutes. Cover the cooled cake in a thick, even layer of frosting. To make the Entenmann’s-style decoration on the icing, drag the tines of a large fork in the frosting across the cake, leaving 1-inch between lines and cleaning the tines in between. Then, drag a wet spoon lightly across the lines from the fork tines in a diagonal, leaving 1-inch between diagonal lines. Slice into squares and serve.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2015. Photos, video, and some text new; recipe method modified slightly.

Love,
Nicole

  • Marie Miller
    February 19, 2019 at 9:18 PM

    I would love to get your emails! How do I get on the list?

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 20, 2019 at 10:25 AM

      Hi, Marie, There’s a signup form in the sidebar of the blog, or you can go to this subscription page and sign up there. Happy to have you!

  • Donna
    February 18, 2019 at 3:52 PM

    Chopped pecans are also good in carrot cake.
    Thanks for the recipe I will make this this week!

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 18, 2019 at 5:18 PM

      Yes, they are indeed, Donna! They can be really nice pressed into the frosting, too.

  • Denise M. Mares
    February 17, 2019 at 11:55 AM

    I live in Santa Fe, NM with a altitude of 7000 ft. above sea level. Do I need to add any more gluten free flour to the recipe or adjust the temp.?

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 18, 2019 at 5:15 PM

      I’m afraid high altitude is one condition I’m unable to replicate, so I have no experience with it from which to provide any advice. I always just recommend that readers make the same adjustments to my recipes that you would to any others when baking at high altitude.

  • Janke Greving
    February 17, 2019 at 10:47 AM

    I had never had carrot cake until I was over 40 years old… and then I found a recipe that intrigued me – it was by a BBC-cook. That particular carrot cake contained pineapple as well, but to tell you the truth: I never tasted it, and I have been making loads of those cakes for years. Somehow I stopped baking at all, however, some of the reasons being that I discovered that wheat and I don’t go well together and I already had two other diets in my household to consider.
    But thanks to blogs like yours (I love your approach and narrating style) I am ready to dust the oven and go use it again. I’m certainly going to try this recipe, it looks so yummy! I’ll let you know about the results!

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 18, 2019 at 5:13 PM

      I’m so glad you’re getting back to baking, Janke. It really is one of life’s great pleasures (alongside the eating, of course)!

  • Sandy
    February 17, 2019 at 10:36 AM

    Oh, thank you! I’ve been trying to find a GF carrot cake that includes pineapple! Maybe it’s a regional thing? In my mind, pineapple is a key ingredient in carrot cake. I will definitely make this soon.

    (I love getting your Sunday morning posts. It’s become part of my Sunday morning routine to sit down with my coffee and read your latest email, even if I’ve been to your site earlier in the week and know what you’ve been working on.)

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 18, 2019 at 5:13 PM

      I’m so glad to hear that you enjoy reading the emails, even if you’re caught up, Sandy! Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth about whether to include a few words about life that aren’t directly about food. I feel a closer connection with my email subscribers than with any other readers, so I like to include a little something that’s on my mind. Thanks for the kind words!

  • Sarah
    February 17, 2019 at 10:06 AM

    This looks delicious! Can I substitute another canned fruit for the pineapple if I am allergic? Or applesauce maybe?

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 17, 2019 at 10:15 AM

      If you can’t have pineapple, Sarah, I’d recommend using my other more traditional carrot cake recipe. It’s excellent—and doesn’t have pineapple at all! I’m afraid I’m not optimistic that anything else would work just right in place of pineapple.

  • Behrooz
    February 14, 2019 at 2:39 AM

    This look amazing Nicole.

  • Elise
    February 13, 2019 at 1:42 PM

    Made this for my husband for his Birthday. He requests a carrot cake for his bday cake every year and with the added pineapple it was a big hit with everyone. I didn’t have corn syrup for the frosting so I made him a brown sugar cream cheese frosting (yum). You would never guess it was gluten-free and I know I will be making this for him again next year. Thank you for all your hard work and sharing it with us.

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 14, 2019 at 8:36 AM

      So glad, Elise! Brown sugar cream cheese frosting sounds delicious. Happy birthday to your husband!!

  • Diane
    February 13, 2019 at 1:13 PM

    FYI. The temperature is listed as 325 in the commentary and 350 in the recipe. I will go with the 325.

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 14, 2019 at 8:36 AM

      Thank you for pointing that out, Diane! I fixed it in the recipe. That was one of the updates, as you noted from the text of the post. Glad you read the actual post (many don’t)!

  • Karin S. Tate
    February 13, 2019 at 12:51 PM

    I’m glad to find this recipe. Where I am in Canada, carrot cake pretty much always has pineapple added and often shredded coconut as well. It’s amazing. I will try this at home. Thanks!

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 14, 2019 at 8:37 AM

      Shredded coconut in the batter, Karin? I’m generally not a huge fan of shredded coconut, and usually prefer the wider coconut chips, but I wouldn’t have thought of the pineapple either so I bet it’s great!!

  • Lucy
    March 20, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    Wow, this looks amazing Nicole.
    I have been outside so much lately, trying to get our greenhouse up and forgot it was my birthday today. So I promised my girls to bake a cake, I think it will have to be carrot cake, better late than never :)
    Thanks you!

  • Carole
    March 20, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    My all time favorite . If it’s nice and moist I will be forever grateful. Am making this first thing tomorrow morning and also the strawberry poundcake muffins, my husbands favorite of all your recipes. And the recipe just in time for Easter. When are the Classic books being shipped ???

  • Carol
    March 20, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    You are so amazing. I was wanting to make a carrot cake and found your carrot cupcake recipe, but now I think I will try this. Thanks!

  • Sharon Anne
    March 20, 2015 at 1:41 PM

    I have always so enjoyed your photos, sooo yummy!

  • March 20, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    Oh, yum! Carrot cake is my absolute fav. Can’t wait to try it!

  • MsGF
    March 20, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    Looks so yummy!

    Just need some clarification, the top of the recipe says: Yield: 8 inch, Directions say grease a 9 Inch square. Which did you use?

    Can’t wait to try it.

  • Jean E.
    March 20, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    Last weekend I made your carrot cupcakes and my non-gf son in law thought they were so good that he wants a carrot cake for his birthday this year. Now I have a tried and true recipe to try for him!

  • jennifer
    March 20, 2015 at 10:10 AM

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • Mare Masterson
    March 20, 2015 at 9:37 AM

    Hooray!!!!! Carrot cake is my most favorite cake. Our wedding cake was carrot cake. We always use pineapple in our gluten filled carrot cake. I cannot wait to try this recipe on my treat day!

    This post made me go check the date that I am supposed to get Classic Snacks. I am so excited for this and for the book! Oh, does this mean a recipe for the Entenmann’s New York Crumb Cake is on the horizon? I don’t mean to bother, and I know you said to use the Drakes one in the book, but they are not the same to me. Time to use the recipe request feature again!

  • March 20, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    Wow you read my mind, spring makes me crave carrot cake! Plus I want all that icing, for breakfast.

  • Elizabeth Warren
    March 20, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    Sounds amazing,I can’t wait to try it!

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