Two and a half years ago, my husband and I started piecing together that our then 8-year old son reacted negatively to gluten. After weighing the options of having him run through a slew of non-exact testing or eliminate gluten from his diet, we decided on the latter.
For over two years, my oldest was on a gluten-free diet. At the start of this year, my husband and I decided that it was time for our son to go through testing for Celiac’s Disease. Next year, he’ll start middle school, and he’s now old enough to understand the purpose of the tests. In the fall, we started taking a monthly drive to see a pediatric gastroenterologist whose practice is about two hours away. Due to the progression of the tests, and, finally his endoscopy, we made the trip three times this month alone! It’s been a lot to say the least.
Well, long story short little did we know that all this investigating for our son would lead to my husband’s gluten issues surfacing. My husband has had to eliminate gluten from his diet too, because it looks like he probably has Celiac’s Disease.
Well, this wife’s heart aches, because he takes such good care of himself. He watches what he eats, he works out, and he even takes supplements. It was a total shock to find out that he could be sick too. Armed with this newfound knowledge, he didn’t waste any time “going” gluten free. As I mentioned before, our home has been predominately gluten free for over two years now, so making the switch was as easy as deciding to do it.
However, the timing couldn’t be worse, as he found out this information two weeks before his birthday. This man, who takes uber care of himself only eats cake once a year–on his birthday, of course. This wouldn’t be such a hard adjustment, if he would eat normal cake, but no, he loves carrot cake.
All of my baker friends out there know that this is a particularly challenging cake to replicate, since there are so many elements that build its flavor.
Honestly, I felt defeated before I even got started, because I was sure this was going to end badly (as so many of my first time GF recipes do). I took a look at my go-to recipe for Carrot Cake from the 2004 Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl. Could I just substitute Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour in place of the recipes flour? I took a couple of days to ponder this, because honestly: I HATE WASTING FOOD and MONEY. When I fail at a recipe, I really beat myself up. (My chickens are usually happy, but, quite honestly, I’d rather the humans in the house enjoy the treats over them.)
As I thought about the recipe, I wondered what could go wrong with the cake if I just substituted the flour. As my GF Tribe knows, it could be too grainy, it could fall apart, it could taste kind weird, and the list goes on… With carrot cake, there are so many flavors to pull from, that I wasn’t too concerned about the cake tasting blah. I was concerned that it would be dry and grainy though. Recently, I have figured out how to make moist cupcakes that are impossible to keep in my house, because they get devoured so quickly. The trick is super simple… I use a banana and cut down on the other sugar in the recipe. So far, no one has noticed the banana. They are too busy inhaling the goodies. So, I figured it was worth a shot in this recipe too. I also used another moistening trick that my father-in-law figured out by accident, use sesame oil. Now, because of the depth of the flavor and the price, I only use a fraction of this oil and supplement with vegetable oil (from Wegmans) to make up the difference.
Well, I took a chance on these substitutions and something amazing happened! I was able to convert my traditional carrot cake recipe, with a few modifications, to this new Ultimate Gluten Free version. 😊😍😊😍 I’m tooting my horn here, friends, it tastes amazing!
Last week we had a dinner party for my husband, and everyone loved the cake, even the non-gluten freers wanted seconds. My heart is full that I was able to replicate one of my hubby’s favorites and still give him a ton of birthday love. #glutenfree #gffamily #gfrecipes 🎂💕🎂
So, here’s what I did. Please remember to check all of your labels to ensure the ingredients are gluten free. Most of these items are naturally gluten free, but it is worth a double check . If you are cooking this for someone who has Celiac Disease, they might need you to use separate cookware, utensils, and prep areas to ensure that there is no cross contamination. Good luck and please let me know in the comments below how it turns out for you.
Ultimate Gluten Free Carrot Cake
- 2 cups Bob’s GF 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 banana ripe
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup sesame oil https://amzn.to/2XugwLQ
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups finely grated carrots (~3/4 pound)
- 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple drained
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
For Frosting & Finishing
- 2 pkgs (8 oz) cream cheese softened
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted
- 3/4 cup pecans
- 2 9X2 inch round cake pans
To Make the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Put a rack in the center of the oven. Grease and flour two 9-inch pans.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together to make sure everything is incorporated. Set aside.
- On low level, using a stand mixer or hand mixer cream together the ripe banana (yes, use a brown one) and the sugar until it is a smooth, gooey liquid.
- Keeping the mixer level on low, add the eggs, sesame oil, vegetable oil, vanilla, carrots, pecans, coconut, and pineapple and mix well.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients while the mixer continues to mix. Push down the sides as the batter creeps up the edges to make sure all of the ingredients are mixed together.
- Take the bowl containing the batter off of the mixer and fold it a few times. Then divide the batter evenly and pour it into the 9-inch pans.
- Bake on the center rack for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes in the pans. Run a knife around the edge of the pans and invert on a wire rack to cool completely.
Frosting and Finishing the Cake:
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer set on medium-high, beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until it’s a fluffy consistency similar to whipped cream.
- Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar.
- Place cake layer bottom-side up on the cake plate. Spread some frosting on top of this layer. Make sure to cover the whole layer. Then place the remaining layer right-side up on top and spread the rest of the frosting all over the cake.
- Taking small handfuls of the pecans set aside for frosting, press them into the frosting around the sides of the cake.