Would you agree that Carrot Cake is an all-time favourite, just the mention of it seems to make people weak at the knees! I also find Coffee and Walnut Cake has that same effect on people. How odd that cakes can illicit such reactions?
I have a theory, it’s to do with childhood memories. Even if, as kids, people didn’t eat cakes such as Carrot Cake or Coffee and Walnut cake, many still have memories of afternoon tea over Nans and the smells of fresh baking. Food can be the most powerful transporter into our memories and this is exactly why you need to make this recipe for your family so you can begin the process all over gain and create those nostalgic food memories.
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Why do we put carrot in cakes?
There are two main reasons I could could find during the course of my research to answer the question; why do we put carrot in cakes?
The first dates back 500 and more years. During this long history sugar prices fluctuated exponentially and so the poorer bakers and families had to find alternative ways to sweeten their bakes. Carrots are the sweetest of root vegetables without an over powering flavour, such as parsnip.
The second reason is for the moisture in the carrot. Adding the root vegetable makes bakes much more dense but deliciously moist at the same time. Of course, in gluten free baking we could all do with adding a bit of moisture into our lives!
There is a third reason, but this is more of a Millennial issue. We need to be eating 5-8 pieces of fruit and veg a day so this is a great way of hiding veggies in baked goods.
How do I make a one-bowl cake?
I love cake mixtures that you shove in one bowl and stir, it’s satisfying on many levels not to mention less washing up!
The simplest way to make a one-bowl cake is measure out all your dry ingredients first and mix with a whisk to combine. The add your measured wet ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon – that’s it.
In the case of this Carrot Cake, you include the grated carrot and pineapple pieces as being wet ingredients and add therse last.
Does this Carrot Cake store well?
The other wonderful thing about this cake is it lasts longer, I can make this on Monday and it’s still moist and fresh on Wednesday, if indeed it lasts that long, which it often doesn’t.
Due to the high levels of moisture in this Carrot Cake you may find that it gets a bit ‘sweaty’ in a Tupperware container so I’d recommend a metal tin on this occasion or even on the worksurface with a cake net over it.
Can I make this Carrot Cake vegan too?
I have tried to make this cake egg and dairy free by swapping the dairy ingredients for non and dairy and using flaxseed eggs. It didn’t work. So to save you the bother of experimenting and failing, I did the hard work for you and came up with a tried and tested Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe.
Of course you could make this just dairy free as the cake is naturally dairy free anyway and you could opt to make a dairy free buttercream or simply dust with icing sugar.
Do I have to add pineapple to carrot cake?
In a word, No! You do not have to add pineapple to a carrot cake, I happen to add it because my husband prefer the pineapple version. Again this is down to his experiences and childhood memories. Little side note, I was told that the pineapple in this bake was a bit too chunky for his liking! I used an own brand tin of pineapple chunks that came out as tiny chunks so I didn’t feel the need to blitz them in the processor quickly. So if I use chunks again I’ll cut them in half again to make them the size of my middle fingernail.
Typically you add crushed pineapple but this seems to be on the supermarket shelves less and less these days. I’ve heard of people referring to this cake as Hummingbird Cake when it has pineapple in it but that’s not technically true. This is a hybrid between a Carrot Cake and a Hummingbird Cake.
Carrot Cakes can often be found with raisins in them instead of pineapple, whilst the Hummingbird Cake uses banana instead of carrot and pineapple.
Could you just leave the pineapple out? Yes but like the grated carrot it adds moisture so if you did take out the pineapple, consider replacing with sultanas or raisins and adding a splash of milk to the mixture to get a wet dropping consistency.
Other gluten free recipes to inspire you
One Bowl Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe
If you make it and like the recipe I would be eternally grateful if you popped back and commented leaving a star rating as this will tell search engines that this recipe is worth checking out and others will get to find it in searches.
Gluten Free Carrot Cake
- 300 g gluten free self raising flour
- 250 g soft dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 100 ml oil (I use vegetable or sunflower)
- 4 egg(s)
- 250 g finely grated carrots approx. 2 large carrots
- 400 g crushed pineapple drained (keep the juice)
- 60 g butter softened
- 60 g cream cheese
- 200 g icing/confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp pineapple juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl and stir with a whisk to combine
- Next add the wet ingredients; the oil, eggs, pineapple, carrots and get stuck in and stir with a big wooden spoon – that's it!
- The mixture will be very wet and sloppy, don't fear, it's supposed to be like that.Pour into two prepared round cake tins (it works out approx. 700g mixture per tin) and bake in an oven on 180°C | 160°C fan | 350°F | Gas 4 for 35mins.
- Once the cake has a soft bounce to the touch and a wooden toothpick comes out clean you can remove from the oven. Wait for cake to completely cool.
To make the icing
- To make icing add all the ingredients to a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Using half the icing spread over one cake, then sandwich both sponges together and use the remaining icing to spread over the top of the cake.
- On this occasion I decorated with some crushed pecans, it's entirely up to you what you decorate the top of the cake with.
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