A few years back I bought The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. When I was looking through it at the store I found a recipe for a 3-layer Carrot Cake that looked divine. Basically, no raisins, and it had coconut, pineapple, & pecans with a buttermilk glaze & cream cheese frosting. Your mouth is watering already, I know. This has become a favorite dessert of ours, however, we generally only make it when company comes or when we have a party since it is so rich that we shouldn't eat the whole thing (even though we could & have). This is my husband's favorite treat after Banana Cream Pie and he wants it all the time so I thought I could make it for Valentine's. Well Friday turned out to be a bad pregnancy day so no cake. So I decided to make it for today and invite company over to share.
Before my daughter was diagnosed with Celiacs it was also one of her favorite desserts and I have kept saying (for the past 2 years) I am going to make a GF version. However, she doesn't need a 9" 3-layer cake and, frankly, I wasn't going to try it out and find out it didn't work on a cake that size. Added to this, my MIL gave us the beautiful small cake stand the cake is pictured with above that I have tried to figure out how to use outside of just putting a cupcake in it. So I have been looking for small cake pans that I could adapt the recipe and make a smaller version with not much luck. My sister recently suggested Ramekins and I thought that was brilliant, however, I haven't bought them yet so I baked the cake in an 11"x7" pan and then cut the "layers" out using one of those disposable baby bowls as a guide. Anyway, the cake turned out delicious and moist, and honestly, I couldn't tell the difference between the two. So here is the newly adapted Carrot Cake. This makes an approx 3-layer 4"-5" cake. I have a few notes, denoted with an asterisks with a few extra hints, including high-altitude directions I found I had to use when we moved to the mountains and a suggestion of what to do with the leftover pieces if you cut "layers" from an 11"x7" pan.
Carrot Cake Supreme
adapted from a recipe in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook This is 1/3 of the recipe so if you want a 9" cake you would 3x's the recipe.
2/3 C GF Flour blend (I used rice)
1/2 tsp baking soda
heaping 1/8 tsp salt
heaping 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
heaping 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 large egg
2/3 C sugar
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 C buttermilk*
2/3 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 C grated carrot**
1/3 of an 8-oz can crushed pineapple, drained (approx 1/2 C in a drained can)
1/2 C flaked coconut
1/3 C chopped pecans
Buttermilk Glaze (recipe below)
Rich Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
1. Grease 3 ramekins or an 11x7 baking dish. Line with wax paper. Lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set aside.
2. Stir flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and xanthan gum* together. Beat eggs with sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk*, and vanilla until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot, pineapple, coconut, and pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan(s).
3. Bake at 350-degrees for 25 to 30 minutes for and 11x7 pan and for ramekins I would try 15-20 but keep an eye on them*** or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
4. While the cake is baking make the Buttermilk Glaze (recipe below). Once the cake is out of the oven, drizzle the warm glaze evenly over warm cake layers; cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, inverting layers. Peel off wax paper; invert again (a plate is useful for this) glaze side up. Some of the cake will most likely stick to whatever you use to invert the cake back right side up unless you grease it and even then a little might stick still. Cool completely on wire racks.
5. If using an 11x7 pan cut 3 circles from the cake using a small bowl or a piece of paper cut to the size you need to get 3 "layers". Refrigerate extra layers. ****
6. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. You will want to do a "crumb coat" if you are using cut circles as opposed to ramekins. Chill the crumb coat for about 30 minutes to an hour and frost the rest of the way.
Chill cake several hours before slicing (I usually make this the day before it will be served). Store in refrigerator or if it is winter and it is cold enough, in the garage.
*I use dry buttermilk, and use 1 Tbsp dry buttermilk added with dry ingredients then 1/4 C water
**I grate them finely and then the carrots just melt into the cake. A little hint: If you want to you can grate a lot of carrots and freeze them in the right amount for the cake. Then when you want to make the cake you just pull the bag out of the freezer, allow it to defrost (warm water from the sink over the bag works great) then make the cake. If you freeze them as a thin layer instead of a glob they will defrost faster.
***We are at a high altitude and when we moved here from the South the cake always fell. So after some experimentation I found if I simply raised the temperature to 375-degrees and then cooked the regular cake for 15-20 minutes minutes it cake out perfect. I used the same amount of time to cook the 11x7 pan and if I had ramekins I would try 10-15 and check it when it smells like cake. I have to admit this is my best way of telling when a cake or bread is done.
****I am thinking the extra would make a great Trifle. Just add Cheesecake pudding. YUM! I am buying some tomorrow!
1/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 T buttermilk*
2 1/2 T butter or margarine
1/3 T light corn syrup
1/3 tsp vanilla
Bring sugar, soda, buttermilk, butter, and corn syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan (it bubbles a lot) over medium heat. Boil 4 minutes, stirring constantly until glaze is golden.
Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla (I often forget the vanilla). Cool slightly.
*If using dried buttermilk, mix the powder with the sugar before adding it to the other ingredients.
Rich Cream Cheese Frosting
5-oz cream cheese, softened
6 oz butter, softened
1 2/3 C powdered sugar, sifted (I never sift --too much work)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Beat cream cheese and butter together at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. If you really like nuts, you can add chopped pecans to the frosting.