Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gluten Free Carrot Cake.

Spring has finally arrived! The past 3 or 4 days here in Buffalo have been absolutely beautiful. 70 degrees, sunny, the daffodils are starting to bloom and the trees have little tiny green buds on them. Trudging through winters in Buffalo makes people here appreciate spring even more I think. Easter is a pretty big holiday here - not just because we have a high population of Polish people and Italians, but because it also represents the end of winter and the beginning of spring. (Granted we've had snow on Easter, but not for a few years.)

This year Easter also falls on my brother's birthday. He gave me complete creative baking freedom this year and I was thrilled. I've been working on another baking order for later in April that includes carrot cake cupcakes and I thought - perfect! Carrot cake on Easter. I called him last week to ask him if this was alright with him and the conversation went something like this:

Beth: "So before I actually started planning on this, how does carrot cake sound for your birthday?"
Andy: "Carrot cake? With cream cheese frosting?"
Beth: "Uh, yeah! Is that okay?"
Andy: "YES please that sounds delicious!"

Before I started looking around for gluten free carrot cake recipes, I had no idea so many people were in love with carrot cake. But how can you blame them? Warm spice cake with flecks of carrot, coconut, chunky nuts and sweet raisins. Not to mention the perfect cream cheese frosting to go on top. It's still not my favorite - after all, it's not chocolate - but it certainly is a great cake to make when you'd like people to have an option besides vanilla or chocolate.

Notes on this particular recipe: I doubled these ingredients to make 2 8" layer cakes and added walnuts, coconut and raisins as well as nutmeg and ginger. You could also make 2 9" layers I'm sure, but I was cautious and took some batter out of both pans, afraid it would overflow in the oven and I'm glad I did. So in the end, I made 2 8" layers and 9 standard sized cupcakes from this recipe.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake
1 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1 1/3 cups potato starch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 tablespoons water
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups grated carrots (I used about 6, I think it depends on the size of your carrots)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. and spray 2 8 or 9" round baking pans with cooking spray.

Combine the oil, sugars and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and spices. Add the dry ingredients and water to the oil mixture and stir until everything is mixed well. Add in the nuts, coconut, raisins and carrots and mix until everything is incorporated into the batter.

Divide the batter into baking pans and bake anywhere from 25 (cupcakes) to 50 (layers) minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes are well set on the top. Let cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioner's sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy and well-combined. Add the salt and vanilla and mix again. Start adding the sugar a cup at a time, letting the cream cheese and butter absorb the sugar before adding more and scraping down the sides of the bowl. (Note: I like to refrigerate cream cheese frosting and use it straight from the fridge, otherwise it's a complete mess.)

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter and spring of 2010 :)


  1. Yum, this looks delicious, I love the idea of putting walnuts around the outside. I've never thought to do that and I bet they compliment the cake well!

    I also wanted to say thanks for adding my blog to your "food frequencies" list, I'm stoked!

  2. Thanks, this cake turned out really well, tastes amazing!

    I love your site, you're such a great writer and you take beautiful pictures! :)

  3. I found your recipe via Tastespotting.
    I love the photo - but 1 cup of canola oil? Great decoration on the cake though :)

  4. I just found your blog and it is great! I love carrot cake and it is my favorite dessert! I love the spice cake with the cream cheese flavor, so good. I love all things cream cheese and I'm can't decide if I want to make carrot cake or your oatmeal apricot cake this week!

  5. The carrot cake was better in my opinion! Perhaps the best combination might be the carrot cake with the brown sugar cream cheese frosting from the apricot oatmeal cake. If you try it, let me know how it comes out! :)

  6. I have just embarked on being gluten free and I will say cake is the hardest thing I've had to adjust to not having. I've tried a couple recipes but grew depressed at how tuff and dry they were. We tried this tonight and it is amazing. Thank you.

  7. That makes me so happy, thanks Air Force Wifey!

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