Carrot Cake – Refined Sugar and Gluten-Free

The classic carrot cake has been given a makeover to become a deliciously spiced refined sugar and gluten-free beauty.

triple layer carrot cake with organge cream cheese frosting decorated with gold sugar balls

Carrot cake has to be one of my all-time favourite cakes, well alongside the good old Victoria sponge perhaps. My go-to recipe was a Paul Hollywood one, as I love the spice quantity and use of pecans instead of the traditional walnuts.

However, in this recipe, I wanted to make it refined sugar-free and gluten-free which was a little bit of a challenge. But through making a few swaps and lots of tasty trials and mostly errors, I think I have finally come up with a carrot cake recipe that doesn’t make you feel as if you have swapped out any of the key ingredients.

This carrot cake has a delicate orange flavour, complimented by the warmth of the different spices. These flavours are then offset by the deliciously zesty cream cheese frosting making it quite hard to stop at just one slice.

The recipe below is for one 1 layer of sponge and 1 layer of cream cheese so just double or triple it depending on the size of the cake you want to make.

Note on sweeteners

In this recipe, I have used Sukrin Gold as a substitute for soft brown sugar as it works really well with the spices and orange. A brown sugar substitute has a slightly more mellow flavour. It also uses a white sweetener, I suggest Xylitol or erythritol. Both are a 1:1 substitute for sugar and work brilliantly in cakes.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sweeteners and the quantities in sweet recipes. It may take a few attempts to find your preference as we all have a different palate.

What you will need to make this Carrot cake:

  • Gluten-free flour
    • I use a Doves farm white self-raising flour
  • Almond flour/ground almonds
    • Add an extra nutty flavour and are a great no carb-count option
  • Spices
    • A combination of cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice gives this cake a wonderful warmth
  • Baking powder
    • I use Gluten-free
    • Essential for adding air and lightness into your bakes
  • Bicarbonate of soda
    • an alkali that is used to raise  full-flavoured cakes
  • Pecans
    • A switch from the usual walnuts
    • Adds a rich buttery flavour
  • Orange
    • Adds a wonderful zesty kick and compliments the spices
  • Sweeteners
    • Xylitol or erythritol
    • Brown sugar alternative, I use Sukrin gold or NKD living Erythritol Gold
    • see notes above on Sweeteners
  • Eggs
    • A key component to any bake and should be free-range
  • Sunflower/vegetable oil
    • using oil instead of butter makes this cake super moist
  • Carrots
    • Well, you can’t have a carrot cake without carrots!
  • Full fat cream cheese
    • I find there can be a big difference in the quality of cream cheese
    • You may need to try a few before you find the one you like
  • Butter
    • Essential for the smoothest of frostings

Diabetes Note

This cake is a wonderful low carb-count option. Because of the use of almond flour and sugar alternatives, the overall carb count is dramatically reduced.

We have found making some switches to reduce the carb count can help to avoid some of those dreaded blood glucose spikes.

Through trial and error, we in fact have found that we do not need to give insulin for this cake . However, when considering your carb counting requirements, you know best on deciding what aspects of this recipe to count.

Refined Sugar and Gluten-Free Spiced Carrot Cake

Refined Sugar and Gluten-Free Spiced Carrot Cake

The classic carrot cake has been given a makeover to become a deliciously spiced refined sugar and gluten-free beauty.

0 from 0 votes
Course: Sweet TreatsDifficulty: Moderate
Servings

1

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

45

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

5

minutes

Ingredients

  • 75 g gluten-free flour

  • 75 g ground almonds

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • 50 g pecans, halved

  • 1/2 grated zest of an orange

  • 100 g xylitol or erythritol

  • 50 g brown sugar alternative (see notes)

  • 150 g coarsely grated carrots

  • 2 large free range eggs

  • 75 ml vegetable oil

  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 50 g butter

  • 100 g full-fat cream cheese

  • 50 g powdered erythritol

  • 1/2 zest of an orange

Directions for the carrot cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line the base of a 20cm/8in springform cake tin with baking parchment.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large bowl and mix.
  • Then add the sugar, orange zest, pecans and grated carrots and stir well until all combined.
  • In a sperate bowl, mix together the beaten eggs and oil and add to the dry mix and combine well.
  • Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 45 mins ( although start checking from 35 mins) or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave the cakes to cool on a cooling rack for around 5-10 minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely before adding the frosting.
  • Directions for the cream cheese frosting
  • Whisk the butter until it is smooth and creamy.
  • Add the cream cheese, powdered sweetener and orange zest and whisk gently until you have a nice smooth creamy frosting.
    Be careful to not over whisk though!
  • Once the cake is completely cool spread the icing generously on top.

Tips and Notes

  • The recipe is for one 1 layer of sponge and 1 layer of cream cheese so just double or triple it depending on the size of the cake you want to make.
  • Diabetes Note – This cake is a wonderful low carb-count option. Because of the use of almond flour and sugar alternatives, the overall carb count is dramatically reduced.

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