When I'm at university and baking for my housemates, I try to do things gluten free as often as possible so that everyone can eat what I've made. I've done a few flourless cakes, usually almond based, and they've worked well, but cakes using a gluten-free flour substitute are often a lot trickier to get right.
My parents came to visit me in Bath recently and on their way had found a packet mix for a gluten free carrot cake from Glebe Farm. This was ideal for a quick and easy gluten free cake- no messing around trying to get everything just right because it's already done for you. The mix contains xantham gum which is something I've come across a lot when looking for gluten free bakes but haven't ever used myself.
Making the cake was really simple. The packet comes with instructions- all I had to do was melt some margarine, whisk two eggs and grate two carrots. I then mixed everything together with the packet mix and put it in the oven for 25 minutes at 170°c. I used a slightly larger tin than recommended which is why my cake looks a bit shallow, but texture-wise it was perfect. Gluten free cakes can be a bit dry and crumbly, but this was exactly like a normal carrot cake- moist and ever so slightly sticky.
To make the icing, I followed the instructions on the packet but doubled all the ingredients because I like icing, and also because my cake had a larger surface than if I'd used the recommended tin size. So I used 70g margarine, 70g cream cheese and 350g of icing sugar. I whisked these together and then spread over the cake.
I also used some ready-to-roll royal icing to make the carrots to go on top. The packet doesn't have orange icing, but I rolled together the red and yellow to make orange. I started off with equal parts of red and yellow, but it ended up needing to be more like one part red to two parts yellow. I then used green icing as the leafy bit on top. I didn't mean to make quite so many carrots, but because of the amount of icing it took me to get the colour right, I had rather a lot to use up!
The cake tastes good as it is, but I think if I was to use this again I'd probably up the flavours a little bit with a bit more spice. The recipe also suggested adding in dried fruit and walnuts, which is something I would do next time too. Using this mix has inspired me to give baking a cake with gluten-free flour another chance- just so long as I add in a bit of xantham gum because I think this is what probably makes the biggest difference. I'd also think about trying some of their other mixes in future because this worked so well and was really quick as easy to make- sometimes a bit of cheating is ok!
Have you tried any cake mixes, gluten-free or otherwise? Any other tips for gluten free baking?