Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Serves 10 - 12

175g gluten-free self raising flour
175g gluten-free oat flour
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
2 teaspoons mixed spice
225g light brown sugar
100g dairy free margarine, melted
1 tablespoon white vinegar
250 – 300ml plant-based milk
100g carrot, peeled and grated
60g raisins

for the Topping 
50g dairy-free margarine
60g icing sugar
200g dairy-free cream cheese
zest of 1 – 2 oranges

alternative topping

150g dairy-free margarine
600g icing sugar
zest 1 – 2 oranges

Line an 8 inch cake tin with baking parchment. Preheat oven to 180°c / 160°c fan oven / gas mark 4.

Weigh the gluten-free plain flour, gluten-free oat flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Stir together then sift at least twice to fully distribute the baking powder. Alternatively blend together in a food processor. Stir in the light brown sugar.

Melt the dairy-free margarine. Add the plant-based milk and vinegar. Stir into the dry ingredients. It should be the consistency of a smooth thick batter.

Stir in the grated carrot and raisins.

Pour into the cake tin and bake for about 30 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a plate then onto a cooling wire so it cools the right way up ( The sponge could break in half if you leave it to cool upside down).

For the topping – when the cake has cooled, beat the dairy-free margarine together with the icing sugar. This is easier if you use a food mixer with a beater attachment or use a hand held mixer. Add the dairy-free cream cheese and beat until smooth. Mix in the orange zest. Spread over the cake with a palette knife. Store the finished cake in the fridge.

If using the alternative recipe –

Mix the icing sugar into the dairy-free margarine, a little at a time. Do not overbeat the mixture or it may split. Stir in a few drops of cooled boiled water until it reaches the required consistency. Add the orange zest.
This is a lot of icing sugar. If you use less icing sugar to margarine, the mixture may split. Add a little extra flavouring to this buttercream. *see note.

Spread onto the top and sides of the cake with a pallet knife.

In all recipes requiring self-raising gluten-free flour, I advise stirring the flours together with the gluten-free baking powder then sift at least twice to fully distribute the baking powder. Alternatively blend together in a food processor.

Gluten free cakes are crumblier than other cakes but taste just as good. To cut neat slices, dip a serrated knife in hot water and wipe clean between slices.

You can make your own gluten-free oat flour by blending gluten-free oats in a food processor until fine. This may not turn out as fine as shop bought but is not as expensive.

For dairy-free buttercream: Most dairy-free margarine is quite soft. You will need to add four times as much icing sugar to the dairy-free margarine or it will split. I like to use Naturli block margarine as it is a firmer margarine. You only need twice as much icing sugar to this block margarine. It is a lot tastier and doesn’t contain palm oil.

Tip: whenever someone in my household eats an orange, first I finely grate the zest into a tub that I keep in my freezer. I then use this for recipes such as this buttercream.

If the cake is a little stodgy, add a little extra plant-based milk next time you make it.