Gluten-free baking is most definitely an exact science – one wrong move and you are likely to have a stodgy mess on your hands! And unless you have a cracking recipe – the outcomes can tend to be a little hit and miss. However, when you do find something that works (such as this carrot cake) you would be hard pushed to tell the difference between the gluten-free and ‘normal’ varieties.
Carrot cake is one of my favourites and is great at any time of the day. But it has to be moist – there is nothing that annoys me more than a dry, insipid cake.
After much trial and error, I consider this to be the best recipe for carrot cake – gluten-free or otherwise. A big whack of cinnamon keeps it festive and drizzling the sponge with clementine syrup keeps it super moist.
I give the recipe for the sponge below which works great without icing. To make it even more indulgent I have sandwiched and topped with orange cream cheese frosting; however, please experiment with different icings!
Gluten Free Carrot Cake
For the Sponge: 100g Walnuts (Toasted and Chopped), 200g Gluten-Free Plain Flour, 175g Soft Dark Brown Sugar, 200g Grated Carrot, 2 Large Eggs, Juice and Zest of 2 Clementines, 150ml Sunflower Oil, 1tsp Xanthan Gum, 1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda, 100g Sultanas, 3tsp Ground Cinnamon
For the Drizzle Syrup: Juice of 2 Clementines, Juice 1 Lemon, 75g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
1) Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line two 8″ round baking tins.
2) Beat the eggs, sugar, clementine juice and zest and oil together in a large bowl. Fold in the (sifted) flour, xanthan gum, bicarbonate of soda and ground cinnamon to make a smooth batter.
3) Into the batter mixture, fold in the carrot, walnuts and sultanas.
4) Divide the mixture evenly between the two sandwich tins (I usually weigh them).
5) Bake in the middle of the oven for around 35 minutes – or until a metal skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
6) Meanwhile make the syrup by combining all the ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat. Heat to dissolve the sugar but do not boil.
7) When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and pierce each cake several times with a metal skewer. Pour the syrup over each cake. Allow to cool in the cake tins.
8) Once cooled, remove the cakes from the tins. Sandwich the cakes with your favourite icing – saving some for the topping!