Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Okay, so this one is kind of cheating. The ingredients and quantities are exactly the same as the carrot cake cupcakes I made a few weeks ago. I was asked to make a birthday cake for my friend Craig, who is a coeliac (allergic to gluten.) This is only the second time I've baked with gluten free flour so I did a test cake just to make sure it worked. It came out really well! The cake itself is also dairy free, unless you are intolerant to eggs, I know some are. The cream cheese frosting, however, is not!

Ingredients:
For the cakes
175g dark brown sugar
200g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
150ml oil (sunflower or vegetable)
2 eggs
200g carrots, grated
a handful of nuts, to decorate (any nuts will do!)

For the icing:
50g butter, softened
150g soft cheese
200g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 (160 fan.) Grease and line a 7 inch cake tin with grease proof paper. 
2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice, cinnamon and orange zest. Add the oil and eggs and mix until combined. Add the grated carrots and mix again.
3. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour. Cool on a wire rack before icing.
4. While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Cream the butter until it is soft. Add the cream cheese and whisk to combine. Add the vanilla extract and the icing sugar, bit by bit, until you have your desired consistency.
5. Spread some of the cream cheese frosting on top of the cake once it has cooled completely. Finely chop a handful of nuts (I used hazelnuts) and sprinkle on top to decorate.

Really happy with how this bake turned out in the end. The baking time was a real estimate as the mixture stayed liquid in the middle for a long time. I ended up having to cover the tin in foil after around 25 minutes to prevent it from browning too much. Both my test cake and Craig's actual birthday cake worked really well! Very happy with my gluten free experiment! And Happy Birthday Craig! 

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