Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Low fat and (almost) gluten free carrot cake.

I'm doing well keeping off my weight loss, well done me! I want to keep it that way, but there is a slight problem, the majority of my baking books are laden with recipes that call for butter, which from my own calculations is 600 calories per 100 grams. So, a 220g Victoria sponge would have over 1200 calories just from butter, let alone any other ingredient! That's a lot of calories in a cake, we all know that, but before Christmas I would like to lose a few pounds or two so the majority of my future bakes will be from Harry Eastwood Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache baking book. Now Harry has done a wonderful thing here, using vegetables such as carrot, courgettes and beetroots and use them instead of calorific butter and oil.
The recipes in the book are laid out according to colour and cakes are called unusual names and a story given to each cake e.g "chocolate heartache cake or coffee and walnut courage cake" but if you get past the faffiness then this book is a sure winner. It does take some getting used to, and I had to buy a food processor to ensure I could blend my beetroot for chocolate beetroot brownies properly but everything is low fat.
The cake and recipe I share with you is carrot cake, which Harry describes as "the great aunt of all the cakes in this book" t uses no oil and instead the ingredients are: rice flour, pecans, orange juice, carrots, sultanas, brown sugar and so you can have a couple of slices without feeling too guilty.
For the gluten free element the cake stipulates to 150g white rice flour. I have used all rice flour before in one of the LA cupcakes from this book but was unconvinced as it left a nutty texture that was not . So now when I bake from this book I use 1/4 rice flour and the rest self raising flour.
Here is how my low fat carrot cake turned out, which is only 350 calories per slice:
Carrot cake
I think considering it is low fat the cake turned out and tasted really well.

Slice of carrot cake

I did not follow the method for cake step-by-step as I was quite pushed for time. I first started by soaking the sultanas with orange juice..... but thought I'd grater the carrots as well (I never had the patience to grater finely).
sultanas, orange juice and carrots

I then decided to omit the suggested pecans, which would have to be toasted in the oven and instead used walnuts.

I then whisked the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes and then added the grated carrots and sultanas.
Egg and sugar mixture
Finally, I mixed the rice and self-raising flour, ground almonds, cinnamon and baking powder together and combined with the other ingredients using a whisk.
Ground almond mixture
Carrot cake mixture
I divided the mixture between two tins and left to cook for 1 hour.
Carrot cakes in tins
After an hour I left the mixture to cool and made the butter icing.
Carrot cakes baked

The recipe suggests the use of a cream-cheese frosting, but as I had no cream cheese I replaced the cream cheese with butter and made a butter icing (my favourite).
For 350 calories a slice, this recipe will be made time and time again.

Ingredients - my adaptations are in red.
1 orange (I used orange juice)
150g sultans
80g pecans, roughly chopped (I used walnuts)
3 medium eggs
160g light muscovado sugar
280g scrubbed and finely grated carrot
150g white rice flour (I used 45 g white rice flour, 105g self-raising flour)
80g ground almonds
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing
35g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
200g icing sugar
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
35g cream cheese

You will need
two 18cm - diameter x 5cm- deep - loose bottomed tins.

1) Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3 and grease the bottom and sides of the tin. Cut two circles of baking parchment and the same size as the base of tins and use them to line the bases. Grease again.
2) Finely grate the zest of the orange on to a plate and set it aside, then squeeze the orange and soak the sultans in the juice whilst you make up the rest of the recipe.
3) Toast the pecans in the oven whilst you get the rest of the ingredients ready. They shouldn't have time to burn, but set a timer for 10 minutes. Or just use whatever nuts you fancy a la moi and don't bother to toast in the oven!
4) Whisk the eggs and sugar for a full 5 minutes until pale coffee coloured. Add the grated and orange zest before beating again briefly to incorporate.
5) Finally, mix the flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, baking powder, vanilla extract and salt together with the help of the whisk untill all the ingredients are combined.
6) Add the sultanas, along with any orange juice left in the bowl and toasted pecans. Mix with a spatula until they are dotted around.
7) Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins. Place them in the middle of the oven for 1 hour.
8) Remove the cakes from the oven, unmould, turn out  on to wire rack and leave to cool completely, otherwise the icing will run off.
9) To make the cream-cheese icing, whisk the butter for a minute until light and softened. Next, add 100g of the icing sugar to the butter and whisk to a fine breadcrumb consistency. Add the lime juice and whisk again to a paste
10) When you reach this stage, add the cream cheese and the zest of the lime, as well as the remaining icing sugar. Beat by hand with a wooden spoon to combine. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before icing the cold cake.

I am entering this to Made with Love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior. This is a blogging challenge that uses no transfat, perservatives and food dyes Take a look at the fabulous fresh food entries. Yum x



  1. This sounds delicious and I'm always curious about swapping out traditional ingredients for gluten-free or low-fat alternatives. It looks like the carrot cake will be very moist and the use of orange is intriguing... Thanks so much for sharing with Made with Love Mondays and welcome to the series! Just for future reference, please keep in mind that artificially colored candies are not allowed by the challenge if they include food dyes or high fructose corn syrup (even if just used as decorations)...

  2. Oh ok, I didn't realise. I will make sure next time I enter there won't be artificial coloured sweets :-) x

  3. We're on the same page... I just baked a delicious carrot cake! :) Yours looks yummy! :)

  4. these carrots cakes look really delicious!!

  5. Nice work, I have also baked this cake and love this book! I found it when I was calorie counting and I lost 12kg and have kept it off... the beetroot brownies are the best!

    Well done x

  6. Thanks Laura, I have recently made the coconut cake from her book and I have book marked the Christmas cupcakes and the coconut and blueberry slice to bake next. Yum x


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