Being told you’re intolerant to wheat, milk (cow, goat and sheep unfortunately) is an absolute bummer to say the least, cause it right away means bye bye to all those lovely desserts cause let me tell you, it’s pretty hard to find a dessert that’s not made with milk or flour. But luckily thanks to Victoria Hall I discovered that carrot cake can be made without either of them! Thanks to her fantastic book ‘This is gluten-free‘ I learned how to substitute normal four with gluten-free one in most cakes & bakes so I was finally able to come up with my very own (and also very first) carrot cake!
Apart from the traditional ones I added loads of other ingredients, like cinnamon, orange peel as well as dates and sultanas to give it a really rich and sweet flavour. The glaze on top was inspired by Victoria as well, as she mentioned it in her book.
Now don’t be thinking that because I use gluten-free flour and no dairy at all, that this cake will taste horribly, cause I’ve put it to the test by bringing it to work (not once, not twice but three times!) and got great comments each time. If you have no issues with gluten or wheat you can of course just use normal flour, the other quantities will stay the same.
The result is a sweet cake, with rich flavours like the dates & sultanas, orange as well as of course carrots. You can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days, but I would recommend to let your slice get to room temperature before eating it, it’ll taste much better and the cake will be much softer in texture if you let it warm up a bit before eating.
Makes: 1 cake (12 thick slices – 30 brownie-size pieces)
- 150g carrots (2 large ones in my case)
- 1 orange (zest and juice – about 15cl)
- 4 eggs
- 250g light brown sugar
- 250ml sunflower oil
- 275g all purpose flour (gluten free)
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon soda
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 50g dates
- 50g sultanas
- 150g icing sugar (+100 if you’re making a tall cake)
Add eggs to a mixing bowl and give them a quick mix before adding the light brown sugar. Mix until you get a paste, then add sultanas.
Chop the dates up in small pieces (it’ll be sticky but power through!), and add them to the mix as well. Mix it so they are properly divided.
Now it’s time to grate the carrots! Peel them first, then grate using a box grater. Add them to the bowl and mix again. Peel the orange by either using a grater as well or just slicing the peel off, try not to get too much of the white skin from the orange. I had quite a big orange myself so I didn’t use all of it as I didn’t want the flavour to take over the entire cake. Once you have enough peel, don’t throw away the rest of the orange as we’ll be using the juice as well. Chop op the peel as much as you can and add it to the mix.
Add the soda, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon and soda, give it a mix and then gradually add the oil. While keeping your mixer on, gradually add the four until your batter is fully mixed and everything has been integrated.
You now have a few options of how you want to make the cake, I chose for a tall tin (Gugelhupf tin – but you can of course also use a bundt tin) but in my first version of the cake I just used a square tin and made them into brownie sized bites. If you are using a large square tin: line it up with parchment paper. If you’re using a bundt/gugelhupf tin grease it up with oil, then dust flour on all of the edges, this will create a layer on the inside of your tin, so your cake won’t stick to it and will slide out without problems.
Pop the cake in the oven at 180° for 1 hour if you’re using a tall tin, 45 minutes in case you’re going for the brownie version. Make sure to check the cake before shutting down the oven, it might need more time if it’s still sticky in the middle.
Let it cool down completely before getting started on the glaze. Juice your orange and mix in the sugar. I used a mixer to do this rather than by hand, to avoid lumps. If you’re making brownies you can just use 150g sugar along with the juice and pour it over the cake and pop it in the fridge so it firms up.
For a tall cake it’s a bit trickier, since the glaze will poor down the edges and it’ll be quite hard to get a firm glaze on top. If you are using a tall cake I would recommend using less juice and more sugar, so you have a paste instead of a more liquid glaze that can then firm up in the fridge. One small last tip here is to lift up the cake and get rid of the glaze that ends up in the centre of the cake, cause it’ll make it way too sticky and moist at the bottom if you leave it that way, so I patted the bottom of the cake with some paper towels as well before putting it in the fridge.