I was asked to make a gluten free carrot cake for a good friends 30th birthday party and combined housewarming. Most of my friends love a good carrot cake, but I wanted to do something a little different and so I made these Gluten Free Carrot & Walnut Trees. Also, I always find that a massive cake can be a bit daunting, no one wants to be the first to cut into it. So instead, I made some mini towers OR trees as I like to call them. If you would like them a little taller just double the recipe so you can make 4 tier versions. Lush.
On a side note, as these are gluten free they can be slightly crumbly when you’re trying to spread the cream cheese frosting and NO ONE wants crumbs in their frosting #Obvs so….. little trick alert Once you’ve cut them into your mini circles, spread a small amount of cream cheese on top of all of them, chill them in the fridge until firm and then pop the rest on top. Genius! :)
Makes 7 “trees”
Ingredients for Gluten Free Carrot & Walnut Trees
120g gluten free flour (sifted)
80g ground almonds
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
120g unsalted butter (room temperature)
200g caster sugar
20g vegetable oil
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
250g grated carrots (which is about 4 medium carrots)
50g crushed walnuts (plus a tablespoon or two extra for decorating)
for the frosting
280g icing sugar (sifted)
1tsp vanilla extract
125g cold cream cheese
Line a 12×8 baking sheet with baking paper
A 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter (or top of a glass if you don’t have one!)
Preheat oven to 180oC
1) In a medium bowl mix together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
2) In a large bowl whisk together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy* (*see tips and tricks page number 6 for perfect technique!), then whisk in the veg oil, followed by the already slightly beaten eggs until everything is nicely combined. Now pop in the grated carrot and walnuts, fold in with a wooden spoon until everything is evenly coated and mixed.
3) Pour half the dry ingredients bowl into the wet ingredients bowl and fold together slowly, do not over mix, now tip in the rest and fold again, but only until everything is just combined.
4) Pour this mixture into your prepared baking tin* (*See tips and tricks page number 8 for a good, even method) and pop on the middle shelf of the oven for about 30 mins, it will brown lightly on top and a skewer inserted will come out clean once it’s cooked through. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. DO NOT attempt to cut this while it is hot/warm. Please don’t put yourself through that.
For the cream cheese frosting
1) In a medium bowl whisk together the icing sugar and butter, once mixed add the vanilla extract and whisk again.
2) Now add the cream cheese and whisk on a high speed for a minute or so, then turn the whisk down to a slightly slower speed and keep going for about another 5 mins. Keep your eye on it though as it will quickly become runny if you whisk it for too long. Set aside.
To assemble your trees
1) Once your cake layer is completely cool, pop it onto a cutting board and use your cookie cutter to cut the circles out. From this size you should be able to get 14 circles.
2) Spoon or pipe a layer of cream cheese on top of one circle, then place another circle on top of this. Spoon/pipe another layer of cream cheese on top of that circle, sprinkle with crushed walnuts and a little dusting of cinnamon. Repeat. Eat.