I debated whether or not to share this recipe with you. I really love the cake. I had a large number of testers, too. Many were not gluten-free and a few were. Overall, there was a resounding thumbs up from most who tried it. However, I was not thrilled with the fact that the cake was a little crumbly, maybe a bit too moist.
I had one tester who felt it could be more dense and maybe include some nuts. However, most of my testers said it was delicious and they were surprised how moist it was considering the cake was gluten-free. There is none of the after taste or off-putting flavors you often get with gluten-free desserts either.
My internship in the test kitchen at Bon Appetit Magazine definitely made me even more of a perfectionist when it comes to recipe-testing and writing. Every day, there was a tasting where as few as 6 and as many as 10 senior food editors, writers, photographers, etc. would come and weigh in on the dishes we prepared in the kitchen. I remembered thinking each one’s opinions and feedback were largely based on subjective factors such as their palates and often their emotional connections with food. Carrot cake is an emotional food for some and definitely inspires strong opinions based on one’s expectation of how it should taste. I’m often careful with foods like this as well as traditional ethnic dishes.
I’d like you to test this recipe and tell me what YOU think. In the end, I found myself continuing to eat and enjoy the cake so I decided to share the recipe with you as is. You can add some pecans or almonds if you like. Who knows, maybe I’ll play around with the recipe a bit more in the future and update it. In the meantime, I can definitely recommend this for those of you who have may have been missing carrot cake. I tested the recipe a couple of times and found it was best made a day in advance. Also, there is a big thick layer of cream cheese frosting on top. When is that ever a bad thing? So good! Enjoy!
- 2½ c gluten-free flour blend*, plus more for pan
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1½ cup vegetable oil
- 1¾ cup sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup fresh minced pineapple
- 2½ cups fresh grated carrots (about 1½ large or 4 small carrots)
- ¼ cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- Vanilla sugar for garnish (optional)
- ½ pound cream cheese at room temperature
- 1½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- *GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR BLEND (This recipe yields 3 cups. You should make at least that amount or even double it and store the remainder in an airtight container for future use):
- 2 cups white rice flour
- ⅔ cup potato starch
- ⅓ cup tapioca flour
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour bottom and sides of a 9X13 cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and kosher salt in a mixing bowl
- Beat sugar, oil and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer until light yellow and then add the vanilla extract
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat together until well combined
- Fold in the pineapple, carrots, raisins and nuts, if you are including them
- Pour into baking pan, lift and slam pan against the counter a couple of times to ensure batter is spread out evenly and bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract
- When cake is completely cooled, spread frosting on top and sides.