Birthday Girl Carrot Cake for the Gluten-Free

I have an unfinished draft version of the carrot layer cake I made in November for Greg's birthday just taunting me when I look at my blog post page and it is my goal to get you that seriously decadent dessert recipe this week.  But meanwhile, I'm going to post you this much easier to write and to bake carrot cake recipe I made for a gluten-free by necessity and not by choice friend at work.  (I still struggle to understand gluten free by choice, I get cake free by choice but that's sad too).  Sweet Lindsey celebrated her birthday a week or so ago and when I asked what kind of cake liked, I learned she hasn't had her favorite carrot cake since she had to go GF.  Nothing like a little baking challenge.  So I read a bunch of GF recipes and quickly realized that the two shelves I have devoted to baking supplies contained almost nothing I needed for a scratch GF cake.  Thankfully, King Arthur Flour saved the day and had a recipe for carrot cake using their GF yellow cake mix.  I found King Arthur gluten-free cake mixes today at The Good Earth in Broad Ripple  But last week when I was baking I found Bob's Red Mill gluten-free Vanilla cake mix at Meijer.  I guessed the mixes would be fairly interchangeable.  I boosted the spice quantities because I've baked enough spice, gingerbread and carrot cakes to know better.  I barely had 2 1/2 cups of confectioner's sugar for the frosting, but that was fine since I was not icing a layer cake, but the easy to share 9x13x2 version.

Happy belated birthday to Lindsey!  Thanks for inspiring the challenge.  Now I have a cake to make for my BFF who, if she's ever back on this continent, is also a GF girl.  Lindsey was gracious to share the cake with everyone in the back room on Saturday.  Well, if you bring a cake into work it's pretty hard to keep it hidden.  Rave reviews all around and so today's post just had to be the carrot cake.  If you aren't on a gluten free diet, I imagine you can use a regular cake mix and get similar results.  Or you can just wait for my next carrot cake post and try that bad boy.

when you frost a cake at 11 pm, sometimes you forget to take a picture

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

1 C raisins
1/2 C vegetable oil
4 large eggs
4 1/2 C shredded carrots (a one-pound bag)
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 box gluten-free yellow cake mix
1 1/2 C chopped pecans

1/2 C softened unsalted butter
8-ounce package reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2-3 1/2 C confectioner's sugar
milk to thin frosting, if necessary

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13x2 pan.  Cover raisins with very hot water and let soak for about 15 minutes to plump.  Soak them in whiskey or spiced rum for a little change sometime, trust me.
Beat together the oil, eggs, carrots, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  Stir in the cake mix.  Drain the raisins and fold into the cake batter along with the nuts.  Distribute evenly.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes until lightly browned, firm on top and cake tester comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.

Cream together butter and cream cheese with salt and vanilla until fluffy.  Add confectioner's sugar on very low speed unless you want a big powdered sugar cloud all over your kitchen.  Beat until smooth.  Thin with a tablespoon or two of milk if necessary.  Frost with an offset spatula if you have one.  Refrigerate until serving.

cake ingredients

carrots, oil, eggs, spices
cake mix in, raisins and nuts about to be blended next

batter in pan

ta-da!  gluten free and looking good


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