Gluten-free Carrot Cake

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I’m not on a gluten-free diet, nor am I a real fan of carrot cake, but I made it in response to the call for recipes featuring Medjool dates (through Tastespotting) and this recipe intrigued me when I saw it in a recent edition of Taste magazineIssue 98, Jan/Feb 2014. I must admit that I had expected something more akin to a regular carrot cake, but I guess without flour or butter that wasn’t going to happen. It’s a tasty, moist cake, but it’s not the soft, spongy, aerated cake you might be used to. Given that it’s packed with all manner of good things it’s perhaps expected that the texture is going to be a fair bit denser – think of it as a marriage between a cake and a muesli slice! Having said all that, I actually really enjoyed it and partook of two slices mid-morning with a cup of tea and felt completely virtuous while eating it (let’s just quietly forget the cream cheese!).

Just a couple of notes: In using two large 22cm cake tins, you get two rather thin cakes, as they don’t really rise much at all. It might be better to go for two 18-19cm cake tins and bake it for a little longer so that you get a little more height in the finished cake. Also, I reckon the taste would be even better with some added chopped crystallized ginger sprinkled over the cream cheese – must try that next time.


GLUTEN-FREE CARROT CAKE

Serves 10-12

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 10 fresh medjool dates, pitted
  • 6 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 medium-sized carrots, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup dessicated coconut
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raisins, currants or sultanas
  • ¼ cup mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds

For the icing:

  • 200g cream cheese
  • Juice ½ lime
  • 3 Tbsp good quality maple syrup

For the topping:

  • Handful toasted coconut flakes (toast in the oven or a dry pan)
  • Maple syrup, for drizzling

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Grease and line two 22cm diameter cake tins.
  2. Place the bananas, dates and coconut oil in a food processor and process into a thick cream.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until pale and frothy.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the ground almonds, baking powder and spices. Add to eggs and fold together.
  5. Fold in banana and date cream, followed by grated carrots and remaining cake ingredients. Don’t over-mix.
  6. Evenly divide the batter between the tins and bake for 30 minutes or until golden in colour, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  7. Meanwhile, make the icing in the bowl of an electric mixer by beating all the ingredients together until smooth.
  8. Once the cakes have completely cooled, spread a layer of icing onto one and then place the other, flipped upside down, on top to form a sandwich. Spread another layer of icing on top and garnish with toasted coconut flakes and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  9. The carrot cake can be stored in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place, for up to 3 days.

Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting

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