12.03.2012

gluten-free spiced carrot cake

One of my favourite finds on our trip to Copenhagen was the little bakery across the street from our apartment. They made a carrot cake with a distinct cardamon flavour that knocked my socks off and inspired me to try my hand at some renegade baking when I got home. I say renegade, because I'm not a very scientific baker (read more on my technique HERE). I like to play - and assuming the textures feel right as I'm going, I feel pretty sure that the final outcome will be edible. 

I recognize that this is not the comfort zone of most people - so this time, I wrote down what went into the food processor (you could use a mix master - I'm too lazy to pull ours out). The outcome was a springy and delicious cake that we shared with Bennett and Angela. Last weekend I followed my notes and made the cake again in honour of my Mum's birthday. A hit on both occasions. It's a big and hearty cake - best shared.

My flour of choice is chick pea. I mix it with a little brown rice. If you have a favourite flour concoction - feel free to use it. Also, alter the spice quantities to suit your taste. Adding veggies and fruit makes most cake recipes more forgiving - eggs are important too. I don't use xanthan gum any more and don't miss it in cakes, muffins or cookies. I use organic ingredients when I can find them.

Spiced Carrot Cake

1/2 cup oil (safflower, canola, anything of quality with little flavour) you could also use softened butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup chick pea flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamon
pinch salt
2 large carrots - grated
1/2 cup pitted dates chopped fine
1/4 cup crystalized ginger chopped fine 
1/4 cup walnuts chopped

Add ingredients in order shown into the food processor. Whirl them around on low with the paddle attachment between additions. Before you get to the carrots your mixture should be fairly stiff. Add carrots and turn up the speed so that they integrate well. At the end throw in the last bits and stir enough to blend them into the batter. 

Pour batter into a non-stick pan. Mine is 10" diameter and has a hole in the middle. This type of pan means that the batter never needs to rise across a wide distance. I credit the pan to the success of this. I'm sure you could also make two small non-stick loaf pans or a 10" diameter round pan work, but I cannot commit to the outcome :)
angel food cake pan or a bundt cake pan both seem to help with gluten-free cake success

The oven. I put the rack in the middle and crank it hot (ours is gas). When at least 400F I pop the cake in and turn the temperature down to 350F. Here it will sit permeating your home with a lovely spicy smell for the next hour. 

If you are not sharing - you can carve it up into about 16 healthy sized pieces. Wrap individually and freeze. They make an excellent emergency breakfast - and are handy for a last minute treat with tea at any time of the day!

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