The Best GF Carrot Cake. Ever.

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We are having a lot of birthdays around here this week!  My friend had a birthday on the weekend and my lovely husband has a birthday coming up in a couple days.  Also exciting is waiting on the birthday of our little baby which could be anytime in the next couple weeks!  We can’t wait! 🙂

So needless to say, some cake was in order.

My friend Emily requested a carrot cake.  Carrot cake and I get along fine.  Well any cake for that matter (as long as it’s gluten free that is).  Especially carrot cake with some tangy cream cheese frosting!  On a side note organic carrots have been a delightful pregnancy craving of mine!  I didn’t have a good recipe for carrot cake so I went hunting around online until I found one that looks reputable enough to try and I just put a gluten free spin on it.

This recipe is adapted from epicurious.com

Being on a dietitian blog, does that make this recipe “healthy”?  I’m not a black and white thinker when it comes to food.  All foods fit and for a birthday, I just wanted to make a straight up full sugar and fat birthday cake.  What’s the point otherwise!  But no, it’s not a recipe that you necessarily should be eating on a regular basis 😉  If I can award any positive nutrition points it would be for the pound of carrots that are in this cake (I use organic as they taste waaaay better than conventionally grown), raisins and ground up walnuts or pecans for healthy oils.

Yields 2 – 9 inch x 2 inch round cake pans or 1 – 9 x 13 inch sheet cake pan

Ingredients:

For the carrot cake:

2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour blend (like this one)

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 cups lightly packed brown sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup light flavoured oil like grape seed or canola (if not using nuts I would suggest increasing this to 1 cup of oil)

1 pound of carrots, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated on the largest holes of a box grater or in the food processor (about 3 cups lightly packed cups)

Optional (but recommended):

2/3 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped, plus more lightly toasted nuts for garnish

2/3 cup raisins

For the cream cheese frosting:

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (regular not light)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (or 155 grams if you have a kitchen scale)

1 1/3 cup icing sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F, ensure the rack is in the middle of the oven.  Prepare the cake pans by greasing the bottom and sides with butter and then line the bottoms with parchment paper.  I traced the bottom of the pan on the paper and then cut out.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
  3. Put the paddle attachment on a stand mixer if you have one available.  Add brown sugar and turn on low to break up any chunks.  Add eggs one at a time, until incorporated and smooth. Shut of mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle.  Turn onto low and add oil in a small stream until fully incorporated.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape off paddle.  Add flour in 3 batches, folding in with a spatula after each addition until just incorporated.  Fold in the carrots, raisins and nuts if using.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.  Bake in preheated oven until the layers are firm and the tip of a knife comes out clean.  About 40 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.  Then invert the cake onto another rack, remove parchment paper and invert the cake later again so it’s right side up.  Let layers cool completely.
  7. Make the cream cheese frosting when cakes are completely cool.  In your stand mixer (clean), add the cream cheese and butter and beat on a medium speed until smooth.  About 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Shut off mixer and scrape down the sides.  Add the icing sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium, scraping down the sides as needed until light and fluffy.  About 2 minutes.
  8. To frost the cake, first start by shaving off the rounded top of each cake round (1 cm or so) to make the tops flat.  Place 1 cake layer on a large cake plate and cover with 1/3 of the frosting.  Invert the second layer of the cake on top so the bottom (flat side) is facing up.
  9. Spread the remaining frosting on the sides and top of the cake.  If you desire, sprinkle the icing with lightly toasted nuts.
  10. Keep at room temperature until cake time!  If you will be storing this for more than a day, top with an airtight cake dome and keep in the fridge.  Gluten free baking tends to go stale faster than normal baking. Will keep for 2-3 days.

Enjoy your delicious cake!

 

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