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Thursday, 14 November 2013

Delicious Gluten-Free Carrot Cake (nut-free!)

One of my favorite types of cake is a nice carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  I've made all sorts of renditions of this cake over the years, some with parsnips, some with nuts, some with pineapple and coconut.  However, I wanted to come up with a proper gluten-free carrot cake that is just that - a carrot cake, without any of those other ingredients.  My brother inspired me to get the ball rolling on this recipe since he had a friend in the hospital (with many allergies, one of which is an allergy to gluten) whose one food request was a gluten-free carrot cake.   I am so proud of him for taking the initiative and making this cake, and I hope it was enjoyed as much by his friend as much as it was in my own house.  Enjoy!

If you're patient (which I clearly wasn't), and let your cake chill for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator, the cake will slice very cleanly if you use a serrated knife.  Yes, I should've taken another picture, but we preferred just to eat the cake rather than take pictures of it. Enjoy!

Delicious Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
Makes 9x13 cake OR two 9" rounds to be stacked

Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease/butter & flour (using GF flour mix) either 9x13 pan OR two 9" round pans.

Mix in one bowl:
3 cups grated carrots (4-5 carrots)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

In a separate bowl, mix the following:
2 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine dry ingredients with wet and mix with a spoon until well combined.  Pour into 9x13 OR two 9" round pans. 

Bake round pans 30 minutes or rectangle for 40 minutes.  If you use a toothpick to check, it should come out clean when inserted into the center of the cakes.

Cool round pans on wire rack 10 minutes.  Then, carefully remove from pan and let fully cool on the cooling rack.  If you make the 9x13 cake, place the pan on a wire rack and leave the cake in the pan to fully cool. 

Once cake(s) are fully cool (1-2 hours), frosting with cream cheese frosting, below.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
For a lighter frosting, use this amount.*  If you like a generous frosting, double this recipe. 
*Note: It's tricky to frost a layered cake with a lighter amount of frosting.  If you're not feeling confident in your cake-frosting skills, double the batch and you won't have anything to worry about. 

Beat in a mixer:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Add and mix in, 1/2 cup at a time:
3 cups powdered sugar

Frost top-only of the 9x13 cake.

To frost the two rounds and make a layered cake, put 1/3 of the frosting on top of one layer. 

Carefully place the other layer on top.  Put a very thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of both cakes.  Let this sit in the refrigerator 15 minutes, just to set the frosting. (This is a great technique you can use with any cake.  It traps any small crumbs of cake into a very thin layer of frosting, so when you put on the remainder of the frosting you won't end up with any cake-crumbs in your frosting! Yay!) 
Lightly frosted cake, chilled in the refrigerator, making the remaining frosting job much easier.

Using the remaining frosting, frost first the top and then sides of your cake.  You can use swirling motions to create a bit of a decorative pattern in your completed cake. 

My double-layer cake with lighter frosting, and some swirls added around the top.
Lacking patience to wait for the cake to chill, which make the slices much cleaner.
One of my brother's cakes.  He made 2 round cakes, but didn't stack them.  Great job, Mike!


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