Thursday, 2 May 2013

The easiest carrot cake - that's also gluten free!

It's finally here everybody!  Spring has sprung.  Yes, just look at that blue sky!  Spring is always my favourite time of the year in the UK - It's so colourful and fresh and the scents of spring flowers and cut grass are wonderful.

So with spring in the air I have been on a bit of a baking mission this past week.  My mission?  I've been recipe testing some gluten free baked treats and first up is a absolutely delicious, moist, scrummy carrot cake, that's not only gluten free, but can be made dairy free too - because it uses sunflower oil in it instead of butter.  Yes, you can believe your eyes and ears!  And it's flipping amazing.  Even if you're not following a gluten free or dairy free diet, this cake is absolutely delicious!

So I laid out all my baking stuff - you see the chocolate in the picture? - well, this didn't actually go in the carrot cake, but it did go in some chocolate brownies which I baked today and will blog about soon.. so stay tuned.

It's just that a picture of some carrots wouldn't have been quite as interesting!

As you know, I've recently moved house and I can't seem to locate my baking tins.  All I have is this brownie tin / lasagne baking tray, which you can actually make just about anything in.  So I used it again to make a carrot sheet cake.  I call it 'carrot cake slab!' :)

The best thing about this recipe is that you don't need a mixer to make it,  as there's barely any mixing at all.  Just grab a large bowl and a wooden spoon or spatula and go bananas!

Carrot Cake ... 

175g Plain Flour (Doves Organic Gluten Free plain flour)
2 tsp Baking Powder (Dr Oetker and Doves Organic both do gluten free versions)
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
tiny pinch Ground Cloves (when I say a tiny pinch I mean less than a teaspoon, ok?)
tiny pinch Ground Nutmeg (again, teeny tiny)
200g Soft Light Brown Sugar (sometimes called Light Muscavado)
200ml Sunflower Oil
2 Large Eggs (room temp)
175g graded carrot (I used organic, because they're sweeter)
Optional - chopped walnuts for the topping.

1. Pre heat your oven to 170 degrees.

2. Grate the carrots.  3 medium yields about 175g nicely. Any left overs can be sprinkled on a salad for later :)

3. Sift the flour and baking powder together.

4. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and Sunflower oil.  Then add the eggs one at a time mixing gently until combined.

5. Then add the carrot and spices.

6. Then gently fold the flour mixture into the gooey mixture of sunflower oil and eggs etc.  Just until combined and gooey.  Don't over mix.

7. Pour into a cake tin and bake in the centre of your hot oven for around 30 minute (depending upon the size and depth of the cake tin, might take about 45 minutes if you're not using a brownie tin)  or until the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting (you can make this dairy free by skipping the cream cheese and mixing together about 50g of coconut oil, icing sugar and hot water and vanilla extract).

50g unsalted butter
200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
teaspoon vanilla extract
Chopped walnuts for the topping.

Make sure your butter and cream cheese are room temp.

1. Mix together (with the whisk attachment of your mixer) the butter and cream cheese.  Then add in two parts the icing sugar.  Dumping too much icing sugar into the bowl at one time will cause an icing sugar explosion.

2. Add in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix in.

3. Pour over the top of the cake.  Top with chopped walnuts if you fancy - I didn't because as you know I've got a nut allergy.  So just a simple topping for me - but I'm sure walnuts would be delicious on this!

Eat 2 slices immediately and save one for breakfast :)  Enjoy!!

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