My friend, Sharon, asked me if I could recommend a cake recipe for her granddaughter's 1st birthday on the 13th of April. Simple, right? Not so fast. It needs to be milk, soy, oat and wheat free due to sensitivities. Traditionally recognized wheat also includes varieties like spelt, kamut, farro, and durum and products made from wheat like bulgur and semolina, so these are all off-limits. If gluten is the culprit, then barley, rye, triticale, and oats* should be avoided, as well. *Oats are inherently gluten-free, but are frequently contaminated with wheat during growing or processing. Bob's Red Mill offers pure, uncontaminated oats that are labeled gluten-free. One option that Sharon has is to substitute a gluten-free flour milled from grain such as amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, montina (Indian rice grass), quinoa, rice, sorghum, teff, or wild rice for regular flour in one of her favorite cake recipes. Two other gluten-free flour options are almond flour and coconut flour. This afternoon, I tested a Carrot Cake Cupcakes recipe from Elanas Pantry made with almond flour that fits Sharon's criteria and is light, tender, nutritious, and yummy to boot! Traditional carrot cake is high calorie due to the high sugar and fat content. This version is mega healthy and tastes very much like the traditional version.
Spread with icing to transform into birthday party fare. Elanas Pantry's dairy-free Coconut Cream Frosting would be nice, I think (although it looks to be over-the-top sweet). I say just eat them plain or with a few pumpkin seeds, raw sunnies, or chopped nuts sprinkled on top of the batter before baking to add crunch and visual appeal. Now, they are perfectly appropriate breakfast fare.
Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes or Muffins
1 ½ 2 cups almond flour
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp oil
¼ cup agave nectar (I sometimes sub honey.)
1 ½ cups carrots, grated
½ cup pecans, chopped
I add in ¼ c raisins or dried cranberries and 1/4 c shredded
unsweetened coconut, too.
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl,
combine wet ingredients plus carrots and pecans (and raisins if using). Stir
wet ingredients into dry. Scoop batter into paper-lined cupcake pan. Bake at
325° for 18 to 22 minutes. (My oven took 25 to 27 minutes.) Cool to room
temperature and spread with cream cheese frosting or leave them plain jane. Makes 10 regular or 5 jumbo cupcakes or muffins.