Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tropical Carrot Cake

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Have you eaten your share of carrots today? If not, no worries! This Tropical Carrot Cake will help you take care of that. Springtime usually has me craving carrot cake more than any other time of year. Perhaps its the many images of the Easter Bunny and carrots that tend to float around in retail stores. Nonetheless, I love carrot cake and made some individual bundt cakes and cupcakes for Easter. Tender and sweet spice cake with bits of fresh grated carrots, juicy pineapple and plump golden raisins are in every bite to satisfy any sweet tooth. And because it's chockfull of fruits and carrots, it's healthy right?!...

I think I've given up on prepared gluten free baked goods, with a few exceptions. For the most part, the cakes and cookies come up heavy, dense and dry. I'm sure fellow gluten free folks know exactly what I mean! But when I made this cake for my non-gluten free guests at Easter, they could not believe it was gluten free. It's so moist, tender and has the perfect consistency as the gluten laden counterpart. Even days later, the cake and cupcakes held up!

What's important is to ensure there is enough moisture in the cake if you're making it gluten free. I added crushed pineapple and reduced the amount of oil called for in the original recipe. The pineapple added a nice touch of sweetness and allowed me to make it healthy by taking out a half cup of oil. The recipe makes enough for 1 9inch layer cake, 22-24 cupcakes or 1 large bundt cake. My baking pans are still packed away from my move a few months ago but I managed to use my mini bundt and muffin pan to bake these cakes. Carrot cake never tasted so good... and I'm going to have to make this again soon!


Tropical Carrot Cake
recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour {280 grams GF flour blend + 1 teaspoon xanthan gum}
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup finely grated peeled carrots
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides, bundt pan, mini bundt pan or lined muffin tin.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture.

Stir in carrots, chopped pecans and raisins.
Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans.

For cakes - about 45 minutes.
For cupcakes - about 13-15 minutes.

Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)


Frosting:
4 cups powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.
Using icing spatula, spread frosting over sides and top of cake/cupcakes. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold or at room temperature.

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