Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gluten-free, naturally-sweetened carrot cake recipe

Gluten-free, naturally-sweetened carrot cake, adapted from 101 Cookbooks
My dad loves carrot cake, and I fell in love with the naturally-sweetened one that I made several months ago from 101 Cookbooks.  I knew that Dad would enjoy one for his birthday, so I decided to try out a gluten-free version.  I read several comments (both on the original recipe at 101 Cookbooks and on Twitter) that the recipe worked simply by substituting a gluten-free baking mix for the whole wheat pastry flour.

Well, I got some interesting results.  This cake was moist. Very moist.  I've heard horror story after horror story about gluten-free disasters that always turn out dry, so I was definitely not expecting to have the opposite problem.  I checked it after an hour of baking, and it was not done.  But the inside didn't appear to cook any more over the next 40 minutes.  I finally gave up and took it out of the oven.  It turned out ok - it tasted just as good as the gluten-filled version, but was just a moist version.  After sitting in the refrigerator overnight, it firmed up somewhat and tasted even better.  Mom, Dad, and I managed to eat up most of it in the two days before they left, so I'd say that it went over fairly well.  Again, I prefer it without frosting - that way it's more of a sweet bread instead of a cake.  In fact, I may make zucchini bread with this basic recipe.

Carrot cake (originally adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
(Printable version)

2 cups gluten-free baking mix (see below)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup dried dates, seeded and chopped
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
3 medium carrots, grated
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Frosting (optional)
8 oz. cream cheese at room temp
3 Tbsp honey

Mix flour mix, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in walnuts. In a separate bowl, combine butter and dates. In a third bowl, combine bananas, carrots, and applesauce. Stir the butter and date mixture into the banana mix, and then add the yogurt and eggs. Add the flour mixture and stir just until everything is combined. Pour into a loaf pan that has been lined with parchment paper and lightly oiled. Bake at 350 until you get really impatient (mine cooked for 1 h 40 min, and when I stuck a knife in the middle, it still came out with a little bit of cake goo). When you take the cake out of the oven, remove the cake and parchment from the pan and let cool. If you want to frost the cake, whip together cream cheese and honey, and spread it over the top and sides of cake.  Store it in the refrigerator, and it's even better cold.

Gluten-free baking mix (adapted from Karina's Kitchen)

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum


Julia said...

How interesting. I wonder if it was the dates that made it so moist? I've seen recipes that use dates as a substitute for oil/butter.

So you're going to use this recipe as a base for zucchini bread, or the other way around. I just made zucchini bread for the first time last week and I could see how you could make a one-for-one substitution.

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Well it sounds yummy. I think that sometimes the gf flours don't rise as much, resulting in a denser bread, and maybe that's also what happened with your moisture? carrot cake is pretty moist generally...and as Julia said, dates may have contributed. Hmmm...I'd still eat it!

Katie said...

Julia and Alta - It may be the dates, but I used those for the whole-wheat version that I made before. I think that it rose about the same amount as the last one, but maybe my combo of gluten-free flours led to less absorption of liquids. Also, I just remembered that my bananas were fairly big, so maybe it was those. Or maybe I screwed up the measurements. Either way, it still tasted great! I made my parents take the rest home so that I wouldn't eat the rest in one sitting.