Sunday, 30 May 2010

Birthday Cooking - Part 2 - Carrot Cake

I've showed you pics of this fabulous cake a few times in the past but I've never ever told you how to make - I love conventional supermarket birthday cakes with their normal sponge, jam and butter icing, and garish fondant icing , but alas I am a Coeliac so normal birthday cakes are a no, no. As a result my mum searched for years for a yummy cake I could enjoy on special occasions until we found this recipe on the Nigella forums - a sweet fruity cake, creamy luscious icing what it not to love. This is an American recipe hence the use of cups but I've translated the ingredients for my UK readers :)

Mother Berta's Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake
3 Medium Sized Carrots Peeled
2 Cups All Purpose Flour (I used Dove Farm Plain Gluten Free Flour and 1 tsp Xanthan Gum but for non Coeliacs you could use normal Plain Flour)
2 Cups Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Cinnamon (or to taste)
1 Cup Corn Oil
3 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
2 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (or Pecans)
1 Cup Dessicated Coconut
3/4 Cup Crushed Pineapple (or Pineapple Pieces) Drained
1 Cup Raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting
4oz Cream Cheese
3 tbs Softened Butter
1 1/2 Cups Icing Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla (or to taste)
1 tbs Lemon Juice


1. Dice 2 of the carrots and place in a pan of boiling water and cook until tender. Drain and then puree in a food processor or blender, or mash with a fork - set aside to cool - meanwhile grate the remaining carrot and put it in a small bowl

2)Preheat your oven to 350˚F / 180˚C - grease and line a 9x13 inch square cake tin (as shown later with a collar)

3 Using a large bowl, sieve in your, flour, baking powder, (Xanthan Gum if using) the sugar, and your cinnamon. Add the oil, beaten eggs and the vanilla and mix well

4)Fold in the carrot puree, the grated carrot, the nuts, the raisins, the coconut, and the pineapple - Your finished cake mix should be a soft dropping consistency - if its too stiff you could add an extra small egg

5)Pour your mix into your cake tin smoothing out the top

6)Bake until a skewer comes out clean the original recipe said this should be about an hour but we sometimes find it takes a bit longer - if you think the top is getting a bit brown cover with greaseproof and turn the oven down

7) Cool the cake in the cake tin for at least 10 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack

8) When the cake is cool you can start the cream cheese icing- mix the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl. Sieve in the icing sugar and mix together, then add the vanilla and slowly add the lemon juice to taste. Don't panic the mixture may be a bit sloppy just add more icing sugar and put it in the fridge for a bit. Then ice the cake - It may not look that great but it will taste it and the icing does set a bit in an hour or so.

9) Enjoy :)

Hints and Tips

* Both the cake and icing can be adjusted to taste, more or less cinnamon and vanilla in the cake, and more or less vanilla and lemon in the icing - experiment!
* The original recipe says walnuts but they can be a bit bitter so I use pecans which I prefer - you could also use almonds or any other nut you prefer
* The original recipe also uses raisins but you can add whatever dried fruit you prefer - In these pics we used some raisins and some luxury dried fruit mix from Holland & Barrett which contains raisins, cherries, dried pineapple and papaya
* You needn't ice this cake if you don't want to - it's really moist and would also make a good pudding
* You can also double the icing if you really like cream cheese frosting - we often do yum:)
* The cake also freezes really well both iced and plain
* You can also make this into cupcakes or muffins obviously altering the cooking time etc.

Hope this was useful - it is a gorgeous cake which is super rich and moist - in fact I might go and get some out of the freezer now x :)


  1. Looks so yummy, i love carrot cake too xx

  2. Mmmmmmm great recipe. I'm currently trying to plan egg free bakes for my son's birthday party (he has an allergy) and your gluten free recipes always give me hope that he can have a 'normal' cake.


  3. Looks great, don't think mine would turn out like that, though!

  4. Mmmm this looks yummy, and the cup measurements will make it so much easier, thanks for sharing x

  5. I love carrot cake thanks for sharing the recipe


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