Last fall, after dealing with undiagnosed abdominal pain for years, my mom decided to try a completely gluten free diet. For those of you who don’t know, gluten is a protein and binding agent found in many grains including white flour, wheat flour, and the products they create (breads, pastas, cakes, etc). As you can imagine, switching to a gluten free diet is a total lifestyle change. Besides having to cut out the usual gluten culprits like bread and pasta, many other common products contain gluten as well including some spaghetti sauces, salad dressings, and canned soups. It takes a lot of research and a ton of commitment, but my mom went for it and never looked back. Within a week, her pain had dramatically decreased and she found she had much more energy. I have been so amazed at her dedication and invention in the kitchen as she’s experimented with gluten free flours like almond flour, buckwheat flour, and weird sounding things like guar gum. She’s proved you can still eat delicious food on a gluten free diet. I am so proud of her for sticking to it and so happy she’s finally feeling like herself again! This one is for her!
Now about this cake. The carrot cake I grew up with was dense, pineapple flavored, and incredibly moist. This is not that cake. This cake is light, coconutty, and just subtly sweet. It’s the perfect cake for spring or for an Easter celebration. While the cake is wonderful gluten free, you could easily use regular white flour in place of Pamela’s mix. Just add about 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to the 2 cups flour. I prefer this cake with raisins, but my mom likes it better without. Either way, be sure to enjoy this cake with a big glass of milk or scoop of ice cream and say hello to spring!
Gluten Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 1 9 in spring form pan (8-12 servings)
Recipe adapted from Gluten Free Goddess
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups Pamela’s Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix
3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch Springform cake pan.
2. In a mixing bowl beat the eggs. Add the oil and beat. Add the brown sugar and beat until smooth and completely combined. Beat in yogurt, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. Add in the flour and beat until combined. The batter will be fairly thick. Gently stir in coconut, carrots, raisins, and nuts if desired.
4. Spread the batter evenly in the cake pan and bake in the center of the oven for about 40-50 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Frost with cream cheese frosting and serve.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: Enough to frost one 9 in cake (not filled)
Recipe from Gluten Free Goddess
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
about 3 cups powdered sugar (use less or more depending on your desired consistency)
1 squeeze of fresh citrus- lemon, lime, or orange (I used orange)
1. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add in the powdered sugar a cup at a time. Squeeze in citrus juice and beat until smooth. Taste test. Add more powdered sugar/citrus/vanilla if desired. Spread over cake. Sprinkle with coconut if desired.