Gluten-Free Carrot Bundt Cake
I don’t know about yours, but my Easter Bunny happens to be gluten intolerant. I learned that the hard way when for years he didn’t eat the cookies I left out for him. Each year comes and goes; the treats left behind, untouched, while the milk was completely gone. I’d lay them out by the Easter plant that I decorated with colored eggs and chocolate candy….wait….that’s not right. I’m getting my holidays mixed up. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Silly Jonathan. Cookies are for kids. Bunny rabbits don’t eat cookies!” And do you know why that is? Because most cookies have flour in it. Ergo, they must be gluten intolerant. It is the only explanation as to why bunnies don’t eat cookies. So this year I’ve decided to get smart by making a gluten-free cake for my furry Easter friend. Maybe, just maybe, this year will be the year he eats the dessert I leave out for him, so he can get energy to deliver Easter baskets for all to enjoy. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for an Easter miracle.
All kidding aside, I’ve been promising you all more gluten-free desserts on this here blog. So here it is. Or rather, here one is. I thought a carrot cake would tie in perfectly with the upcoming holiday, regardless if you celebrate it or not. I know that Easter tends to be a religious holiday, but you don’t have to be religious to enjoy the seasonal treats that spring up during this time of year. If you don’t care for gluten-free desserts, have no fear, my blog isn’t becoming a gluten-free blog. I still very much enjoy making and posting and gorging on ridiculous amounts of crusty, golden brown, gluten-rich breads. I’m just taking a break to show my appreciation for those fans who are indeed gluten intolerant. I’m trying to expand my horizons and reach out to as many people as possible. I don’t have any special dietary restrictions—as you all may know by now with my penchant for all foods—but I do have to admit this is a really good cake. You don’t have to have celiac disease to appreciate the awesomeness of this recipe.
Growing up, Easter was always a big event at my house. My mom would go all out for my sisters and I. Even now as adults we still go through with our Annual Easter Egg Hunt, and there may or may not still be some baskets filled with goodies for us. If you thought that four grown adults could be civilized while searching for plastic eggs filled with prizes, you are very much mistaken. We get extremely vicious when searching for these eggs. Fighting hard to find the most we possibly can. Hair is pulled, clothes are ripped, siblings are pushed to the floor. Stealing, cheating and sneakiness are traits that are possessed for the day (and that’s just my middle sister, she’s very competitive). We demolish the house looking for eggs that mom has so cleverly hidden. We enjoy the occasional egg filled with chocolate Easter candy here and there, but what we’re really yearning for are the eggs stuffed with the major prizes. Frozen yogurt gift certificates, lottery scratchers and of course money. Those are the treasures that make the black eyes and bruises worth it. Of course at the end of the day we all sit down as a family and enjoy a pleasant meal together. One of us happier than the others because we were fortunate enough to find the perfect eggs. That my friends is Easter in my house and has been for as long as I can remember.
We start by raiding the spice cabinet and grabbing a bunch of delicious carrot cake-y spices.
We’re going to mix all the dry ingredients first. You know my aversion to sifting right? I’m too lazy to sift my dry ingredients so I normally just whisk them. I usually tell you that you can be lazy like me or you can sift. This is the one time I’m going to tell you that you cannot sift at all. We’re going to be using almond “flour” which is just ground up almonds. It tends to be coarse so it won’t go through a sieve, sorry for those of you that love to sift. Insert evil laugh here_________________ . (It should be something like this “Muahahahaha”). I finally came up with a recipe where we can all be lazy together.
So grab a large bowl and a whisk.
To that, you are going to add the almond flour and potato starch.
Now for those of you who are gluten-free baking pros you’ll know where to get a hold of these two products. For those of you who don’t, you may or may not have a little trouble finding them. Most big supermarkets now carry these products. I found mine at a regular super market chain in the baking aisle. The brand that I got was “Bob’s Red Mill.” That brand in particular seems to be in most supermarkets nowadays and is fairly popular.
To that let’s add some spices.
Whenever I think of carrot cake, multiple spices come to mind. I feel like it’s just a given. An unspoken rule, whenever you make a carrot cake you need some sort of spice in there. In this case multiple spices.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, and ginger to be exact.
I’m also throwing in some salt and baking powder.
**Note: Read your baking powder container carefully, not all are gluten-free. Usually it will say it on the label. But if not, look at the ingredients to be sure. Some brands use a wheat product in it, which will make it not gluten-free.**
So those are all the dry ingredients. We’re not adding any more. That’s it. No we’re not adding any all-purpose flour or cake flour. This is a flourless cake. That’s the point of the recipe. I was actually reaching for the flour at one point, out of habit. But nope, no flour Jon.
Give it all a whisk or a mix or a stir or a blend until evenly combined.
People always have this misconception that gluten-free baked goods are bland and dry and nasty. I don’t know what sorts of gluten-free treats they are eating because let me tell you the one’s I’ve tried have been amazing. It’s all about adding flavor whenever possible. We’ve done that with the spices and now we’ll add a little citrus.
Nothing too crazy, just a bit of orange zest. It’ll be that zip in the background telling you how great this cake will be.
You want only the zest of the fruit. Which means just grate the orange skin part. Do not grate into the lighter-in-color pith underneath as that can be bitter causing your cake to become bitter itself. Don’t let that happen to you.
Add the zest to the dry ingredients and then turn your attention to the carrots. Which as we all know is the main ingredient in this whole post.
Do rabbits even eat carrots? I’ve never owned one or known anyone who has so I don’t know. I feel like it’s just a tale we’re told or have picked up thanks to Bugs Bunny always chomping on one saying “What’s up Doc?” I mean after all I did base this post around carrots because of Easter and bunnies and what not, but I’m not even 100% sure that they do eat carrots.
This just in: rabbits do like carrots but it isn’t the best thing for them to eat because it may cause digestive problems. Some rabbits will not even eat carrots. We’ve been lied to!! By the way, I may or may not have just googled that. The things we can find on the internets. You’ll be surprised how many people actually wondered the exact same question. It’s nice to know I’m not the only crazy one out there.
There you go, we’ve all learned something new today. Not all rabbits like carrots and we really shouldn’t be feeding them carrots to begin with. The more we know.
Okay, I’ve digressed quite a bit. Let’s turn our attention to this now-faulty Easter post. Peel the carrots.
You need about two cups of loosely packed shredded carrots. That’s about 3 to 4 medium sized carrots.
That seems about right. I used four carrots and it was a little over two cups. I added it all to the batter. No harm done.
Cut off the tips and ends of the carrots and using a box grater, give them a shred.
You can do this with a food processor if you’d like. I normally would have but it seemed rather silly to dirty the food processor for four little carrots.
I started to think of the whole process. I’d have to take out the processor, find the grating attachment, assemble it, grate the carrots, empty the bowl, clean out the bowl and attachment and lid, and wait for it to dry, then put everything away.
I could just whip out the box grater, shred, clean and put away. BOOM. I weighed my options and took the easy road.
Add the shredded carrots to the dry ingredients as well and give it all a mix.
It should be evenly incorporated.
I know it looks like there’s more carrots than dry ingredients. Don’t worry.
Okay set this off to the side.
Let’s add a couple eggs to a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Turn on the mixer and begin to beat.
Slowly stream-in the granulated sugar.
Cream together on high for a few minutes.
About 4-5 minutes until they become thick and pale in color.
It will take a while for the eggs and sugar to get thick. Don’t get impatient.
Keep mixing on high until you think it’s ready and then continue to beat after that, to make sure.
The whole process should take about 5 to 7 minutes.
See?! It’s pale and thick. It’s like magic. Cue the ooooooooohs and aaaaaaaaahs.
It’s not really magic, I think it’s just science. I’m not a scientist so I won’t even try to explain the entire process of chemicals reacting. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
Add the reserved dry ingredients to this mixture.
Gently mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated.
You do not, DO NOT, want to over mix this.
Okay, the first part of our batter is done.
Either transfer this mixture to another large bowl or replace with a clean mixing bowl, if you have extra mixing bowls that it.
The next step is very crucial to this cake. You need a clean and dry mixing bowl.
You also need three eggs at room temperature. We’re going to whip up egg whites, so let’s separate some eggs shall we?
For the sake of this post I’m using an egg separator because I only have two hands to shoot and separate.
If I wasn’t photographing and both my hands were free, I’d just juggle the egg between the egg shells to separate it.
**Note: Make sure NO egg yolk or shell is in the whites. If there are, your whites will never whip up. If some have gotten into the whites, don’t worry, just use one of the egg shell halves to scoop it out. Works every time.”
Before we start whipping we need to do a little extra step.
Combine the vanilla and vinegar together. Why are we adding vinegar? Because it helps stabilize the whites. That’s important. Again, science talk, makes my head hurt. Just add it.
So combine the two and set aside for later. We’ll add it to the whipped whites when we add the sugar.
Start whisking on low until the whites begin to froth and expand.
Then raise the speed to high and whip for a few minutes.
Continue to whip the whites until they are semi-thick and small bubbles have formed all throughout the surface.
At this point you can add the sugar and vanilla/vinegar mixture. Slowly stream them in.
Continue the whisking and whipping until the egg whites become glossy and stiff peaks form.
Just like magic (but not really damn that science) the egg whites will transform.
You’ll know they are ready when you lift up the whisk and the egg whites stand up without falling.
Don’t mind that overexposed area up at the top left hand corner of the photography. It bugs me, but it was the only shot I got. Oops.
Okay, remember our reserved batter from earlier?
Well now we are going to gently, and ever-so-carefully, fold in the whites into that batter.
Do it in three additions. Plop a bit of the whipped egg whites into the batter and using a rubber spatula scrape from underneath and bring it up to the top. Folding, that’s all we’re doing here. Nothing fancy. Anyone can do it.
I’ll show you, it’s rather easy. Just DO NOT over mix or whip or beat or stir at this point. You’ll deflate the whites and your cake wont be soft and spongy and moist. It will be dry and dense and flat. The Easter Bunny for sure won’t touch it then.
After all the egg whites have been folded in, you will have a light and wonderful cake batter.
It should look like this and if you followed my instructions it will look like this.
We’re making this cake into a bundt cake so guess what…we’re going to need a bundt pan.
You can make it into cupcakes or into an 8-inch circle pan, you’ll probably need two of those though.
But I highly recommend the bundt alternative, because that’s how I wrote it.
The tricky thing about bundt pans is greasing it. You spent all this time making a wonderful cake batter and the last thing you want is for the cake to stick to the pan and not come out. That would be a tragedy. SO the best way to go about this tedious process is by using cooking spray.
Spray the pan liberally with it.
Do not flour the pan because this is a gluten-free cake and flouring the pan will render our efforts ineffective. Don’t judge, yours truly just about floured it. Old habits die hard.
Good thing I remembered not to.
If you spray it liberally, the cake will come out just fine after it’s baked and cooled.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. It should be golden brown on top as well.
Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool down completely.
Run a knife along the sides and center of the cake and pan to ensure it doesn’t stick.
Once completely cool (And I do mean COMPLETELY cooled) you can invert the cake onto a plate or plater or cake stand.
Look at that wonderful gluten-free creation we just made.
How can the Easter Bunny resist that?
If you’re gluten-intolerant you can thank me now……NO WAIT….
Now, you can thank me.
But if you’re like me and don’t suffer from celiac disease or you do have a tolerance for gluten, you can still thank me because you won’t miss the flour one bit. It’s very bit as delicious as it’s floured counterpart.
The cake isn’t finished yet. No not at all. We need a glaze of some sort.
It wouldn’t be carrot cake without cream cheese frosting. This is more of a cream cheese glaze. It’s lighter this way.
What?! The Easter Bunny is watching his figure.
In a large bowl with powdered sugar, add the cream cheese.
Add the vanilla extract.
Squeeze in some fresh orange juice. It will tie in perfectly with the orange zest in the cake. Plus we did just use the zest of that orange earlier and we don’t want this fruit to go to waste.
Whisk all the ingredients until completely smooth.
Spoon the glaze over the bundt cake.
Allow the glaze to set for a few minutes before cutting.
And presto, just like that, the cake is finished. Ready for Easter.
Seriously, can you think of something better to have for dessert on Easter Sunday?
I think it’s a smart dessert to serve. It’s light and health(ier) than most other carrot cakes so those watching their figure will love this cake. The rich glaze will make those of us who don’t care about such things happy and content. It’s a win-win for everyone.
What makes this cake healthier?
Well, If you noticed there is no butter or oil in this cake. The potato starch really helps keep this cake moist. The lack of flour and the fact that we used ground up almonds, which as we all know is a good source of goodness for our bodies, takes this cake to a whole new level.
In a household full of gluten-eaters no one even noticed or realized this was a gluten-free cake. I think we have ourselves a winner here.
Whatever your Easter traditions are, whether you even celebrate this holiday or not, you must give this gluten-free treat a try. I’m not a gluten-free pro at all and I’m not sure I even know all the proper information for it, but I’m learning along the way. I hope you’ll learn with me. Stay tuned for more recipes soon to come. It’ll be a while though because let’s be honest I already miss flour. Enjoy!
Gluten-Free Carrot Bundt Cake
This recipe can easily be made into cupcakes, or in a tube pan, mini bundt cakes, or divided between two 8-inch circle pans. It’s the perfect treat for Easter. Whether you practice a gluten-free lifestyle or not, you won’t even be able to tell the difference. Happy Easter!
yield: 1, 9-inch bundt cake
- 2 cups almond flour
- ½ cup potato starch
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon all-spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded carrots (3 to 4 medium carrots)
- 2 large eggs, plus 3 egg whites (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch bundt pan with cooking spray, set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine the almond flour, potato starch, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, all-spice, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the shredded carrots and set aside.
3. In a bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add two eggs. Begin to whip the eggs as you carefully stream in 1 cup of granulated sugar. Mix on high for about 5 minutes until the mixture becomes pale in color and thick. Add the dry ingredients from earlier and mix until just combined.
4. Place the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and whisk on low until they become frothy, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, vanilla extract and vinegar. Raise the speed to high and continue to whip until the egg whites become glossy and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 6 to 8 minutes more.
5. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter in three additions. Be very careful to not over-mix the cake batter at this point. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake springs back when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and allow to cool down completely. Run a knife along the edge of the cake, don’t forget about the center, to loosen it up. Make sure the pan is completely and totally cooled before trying to invert the cake. If you get impatient the cake will stick to the pan. Once completely cooled invert onto a platter or serving dish or cake stand.
6. To make the glaze, whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cake and allow it to rest for a bit to set. Cut and serve. Enjoy!