Long time no blog! My apologies, I’ve been travelling and sciencing.
In August we went to the USA for two weeks to attend the wedding of a good friend. We spent our time in Boston, New York and Maine. It was wonderful to get a holiday, to catch up with family and friends, and to get a taste of the warm weather again! It was so hot in New York and Boston, however there was a freak hail storm in Boston while we were there, which was really weird. For every American lamentation of a disappearing summer I had to hide a smug grin; while their summer dwindles it warms up on our side of the globe. Mwah ha ha! It was interesting to experience American food (well, North Eastern food)… we totally indulged: donuts, burgers, buffalo wings, ice cream, lobster, hot dogs, pretzels, pizza, bagels etc. I must confess, however, that it was good to come home and resume a more balanced diet… my gut did not approve of the way we ate there!
I also recently spent a weekend in Melbourne with my Mum and Nana, visiting my lovely cousin who has been living there for almost two years. The Melbourne food scene is something else… it’s all so decadent and gourmet. Nothing is simple… everything has some odd flourish. For example at brunch one day my mum got crayfish in an ash roll (which is a brioche bun with charcoal dust), I got chilli scrambled eggs with cured Flinders Island wallaby, and my cousin got a hot cake which was amazingly decorated with flowers and nuts and fruit. It was delicious, but perhaps in some cases a bit pretentious (like… charcoal dust? Seriously?). However I was definitely inspired to try a few things back in my kitchen at home! It was also so nice to spend some quality time with the ladies in my family!
So, I have been baking recently but I haven’t been disciplined enough to sit down and write about about it. So, to get back into the swing of it, here is a tasty gluten-free carrot cake I made before we went on our holiday. It was based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but I subbed the apple for crushed tinned pineapple because my husband is allergic to apples (Yes! So annoying!) and because pineapple adds a lovely moisture to carrot cakes. You only need half a 432g tin, so you can freeze the rest for next time.
Gluten-free Carrot Cake
For the cake:
- 225g gluten-free all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 125g brown sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 200g tinned crushed pineapple + juice
- 200g grated carrots (about 4 medium-sized carrots)
- 1/2 cup sultanas (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
For the icing:
- 75 g butter, softened
- 100g icing sugar
- zest of one orange
- 75g cream cheese
- handful of crushed walnuts (optional)
- a few strands of thinly grated carrot (optional)
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC, fan-bake. Grease a 20cm cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Dust the sides with gluten-free flour.
- In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the sugar and oil and mix to combine.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, spices and salt and fold through.
- Add in the pineapple with juice, grated carrot, sultanas and walnuts. Mix to combine.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing:
- Beat together the butter, icing sugar and most of the orange zest until pale and smooth. Add in the cream cheese and beat until smooth.
- When the cake has cooled, ice with cream cheese icing. Garnish with walnuts, orange zest, and a few thin strands of carrot, if desired.