It's been a while now since our household turned gluten and dairy free, and the thing that's been a definite struggle is being able to bake cakes and biscuits that both resemble and taste like cakes with no substitutions and don't cost the earth with the addition of medjool dates etc that most vegan bakers seem to adore. However lately, thank god, something seems to have switched in my brain and I've been able to bake a variety of delectable desserts that are gluten and dairy free! Praise the gods for they can be merciful. And with that short introduction, on to the recipe for this gorgeously moist carrot cake, stuffed with juicy sultanas and topped with a delicious cinnamon buttercream icing. I used this recipe from BBC Good Food as a starting point, and adapted it for my own use.
- 200g Rice Flour (I found a 1.5kg bag in the world food section of Sainsburys)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (make sure it's gluten free)
- 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 200g sugar
- 2 eggs (or substitute an egg replacement such as Organ No Egg)
- 120g sultanas
- 270g grated carrots
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 140g dairy free butter (I used Vitalite)
- 50g chopped mixed nuts (optional)
FOR THE ICING
- 50g dairy free butter
- 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 150g icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180C (fan oven), and measure out all your ingredients for the cake. I measured the butter and sugar into the main bowl I would be using, the sultanas and carrots into a separate bowl, the cinnamon, flour, raising agents, and xanthan gum into another bowl, and lightly beat the eggs in one more bowl.
- Cream together the butter and sugar using a stand mixer, electric whisk, or just your basic wooden spoon and elbow grease until light and fluffy. (At this point I do like to sample some just to make sure, there's something about butter and sugar I just love!)
- Add in to the fluffy butter and sugar mixture all of the sultanas and carrots and give the mixture a good old mix to coat the only healthy ingredients in delicious sticky buttery sugar. Your arteries may not thank you, but I promise your tastebuds and stomach will.
- Once the mixture is combined, add in the eggs, or egg replacer, and mix together once again. The mixture should start to become a lot smoother and less stuck together and doughy. If you use an egg replacer, check the instructions to make sure you're using the correct quantities to replace 2 eggs to ensure the mixture binds together correctly.
- Now it is time to add in the dry ingredients, or the floury cinnamony mixture. Do this a little at a time and make sure everything is fully combined together so you don't end up with little flour pockets in your cake. And be careful when using an electric mixer! This is a delicate operation, and unless you operate with utmost care flour will end up everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
- Combine the nuts into the mixture, and your cake is ready to bake. Lightly grease some form of bakable receptacle (I used a loaf tin), and line the bottom with parchment paper. Do NOT skip this step, it's vital in ensuring you get a cake you can instagram and be proud of. Then pour the cake mixture into the tin and bake for about an hour, or until you can stab a skewer into the middle and it comes out clean.
- When your cake has baked and cooled, combine the ingredients for the icing in a bowl. Icing sugar will no doubt go everywhere at this point. It's what icing sugar does, accept that fact and move on.
- Spread the icing over the top of your cake, make it look pretty, add a sprinkle of chopped nuts if you wish, and serve!
I hope you enjoy this recipe, and look out for more in the coming weeks!