My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Italian Flourless Carrot Cake (Gluten Free)

Italian Flourless Carrot Cake. This recipe has an explosion of fresh flavors. My German cousin was visiting with his family and his wife, Christine was talking about this lovely gluten free cake that she thought I might enjoy. She said she had made it for a dinner party and they really liked it. She was kind enough to share the recipe with me. It is one of those easy recipes that you don't need a lot of different ingredients and no mixer required. It is simple, easy, and the fresh flavors just pop in your mouth. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this recipe.

I will say that my husband is a bit of a dessert snob. He pretty much only eats chocolate desserts. However, he went back for seconds on this one! I did add shredded coconut to my cake although the original recipe didn't call for it. The first time I made the cake I shredded the carrots real fine. The second time I made the cake, I used store bought shredded carrots that were a little more coarse. Both worked fine although I thought the ones that I freshly shredded had a lot more flavor in the cake. I think in the future I will only use freshly shredded carrots for the extra flavor. I also added a teaspoon of almond baking emulsion instead of the vanilla extract the first time I baked it and I added the vanilla extract the second time I baked it. (Although both were good, we preferred the little bit of almond baking emulsion flavor better!) You can also swap out the sugar for honey. I have done it both ways and they are both great. The original recipe calls for pine nuts on top but I used pumpkin seeds this time and I have also used slivered almonds. It just dresses up the top of the cake a little bit although you can leave them off or sprinkle with shredded coconut instead. It is such a flexible cake! You can also add raisins and or chopped nuts to the batter if you like it in your carrot cake. I chose to just add some shredded coconut and keep it simple. I also like to bake this batter in cupcake papers since it is convenient for a quick snack or "on-the-go" breakfast. I figure this is healthy enough to be considered a breakfast muffin! ;) You can add ground cinnamon or other spices if you prefer. I just kept it simple and liked it that way. I didn't want the cinnamon to over power the flavor of the carrots. (If you are planning on doubling the cake recipe & frosting this cake with layers then I would leave the pine nuts or pumpkin seeds off the top).

Italian Flourless Carrot Cake Recipe:
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded or grated, about 1 cup (it can be a heaping cup)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar or honey (I usually use non-gmo unbleached sugar if I am using sugar)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (you can substitute vegetable oil, canola oil or coconut oil)
  • 3 large eggs (if your eggs are small, add 1 extra egg)
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespooons finely ground almonds (also called almond meal). If you have a nut allergy then you can substitute gluten free flour instead.
  • 1/2 lemon, finely grated lemon zest & juice. Make sure you don't get any seeds in the batter!
  • 1 tsp. almond baking emulsion or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (it can be sweetened or unsweetened), optional
  • 1/4 cup of golden raisins, optional (I did not add them since my guests didn't like raisins). Just make sure your raisins are nice and juicy. If not, soak them in hot water for about 5 minutes so they are plump and juicy. You don't want hard, chewy raisins in your cake!
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180C). I lined the bottom of my 9" spring form pan with parchment paper for easy removal. If you are using pine nuts, lightly toast them in a skillet or oven until they turn golden if you want them toasted on top of the cake. I used pre-cooked pumpkin seeds on mine today so I didn't have to toast mine first. Grate the carrots (or you can use a food processor if you have one. I just shredded mine by hands because I thought it was a hassle to drag out my food processor for just 2 carrots). If you don't have a hand grater or food processor, you can use a vegetable peeler or the back of a knife to scrape/shred the carrots. You just need the carrots in thin pieces so it cooks and the flavor is released. You don't want hard chunks of carrots in your cake. Whisk the sugar and oil until creamy and well mixed. Add the vanilla or almond flavor. Fold in the ground almonds (or gluten free flour), coconut (optional), lemon zest & juice and raisins (optional). Spoon into the prepared 9" spring form pan or muffin cups. Sprinkle with your pine nuts or pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds. (You can use sunflower seeds as well).  Bake 9" pan approximately 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Bake muffin cups approximately 18-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. (The toothpick may be slightly sticky but that is okay as long as it isn't runny batter). Let the cake cool for at least 20 minutes before you remove it from the spring form pan or else it might crack or fall apart. Serve with whipping cream or ice cream (vanilla or butter pecan ice cream is really good with this).

Grating my carrots by hand

I used these pumpkin seeds on top of my cake

I used this brand of honey in place of the sugar in my muffins. Turned out great.

I like using these thick paper cup cake liners. They don't need a special pan. Photo taken before baking.

Photo of muffins coming out of the oven.
Up close view of the cake baked in 9" spring form pan
Up close view of the inside of the muffin. I used store bought shredded carrots for this batch. I prefer the more intense flavor and texture of the hand shredded carrots better. My pieces were much smaller & more flavorful than the store bought version.

I hope you enjoy this very easy, simple and delicious recipe. It makes a great brunch or after dinner dessert recipe. It tastes like you spent a lot of time on this recipe but it is actually quite simple to make. I like the muffins for quick "on the go" breakfasts (they freeze great too) or for parties because they don't require plates and forks....just your hands since they are already in muffin cups. I really like the heavy duty cardboard style cup cake/muffin liners since they are sturdy and don't require a muffin pan to bake them. I can squeeze a bunch of muffins on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven all at once. I scored a 24 pack of the heavy duty cardboard style at the 99cent store. Keep your eyes open for these great little cup cake liners. Once you use won't want to go back to the paper liners! However, I will admit that I am a bit thrifty so I will not pay $4 for a pack of these liners. I love them but only if I can score them at a bargain!

Enjoy a cold evening with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy a slice of this simple, casual cake or muffin!

Gluten Free Casually

1 comment:

  1. You can leave the pumpkin seeds off the top and frost with cream cheese frosting instead if you prefer a more traditional carrot cake. The flavors in this is really fresh and it is very moist! We just love it! Besides, with all the healthy ingredients in can justify eating it for breakfast!