Carrot & Quinoa Bar Cakes with Maple ‘Cream Cheese’ Frosting

These delicious cakes are very easy to make. They are not overly sweet and the warm spices of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg give a wonderful subtle flavour. This cake is quite healthy as I’ve used some ‘wholemeal’ flours, along with almond and coconut flours in my blend, and the quinoa flakes really boosts the nutritional value. The walnuts give a lovely crunch, which contrasts nicely to the soft juicy sultanas. I chose to use coconut oil for the fat, because of its health properties.

It was an overcast day when I decided to make and photograph the step-by-step pictures for this recipe, which is why there’s such a colour variance in the photographs. It was very frustrating indeed, setting up the camera and then waiting for the sun to peek out from behind the clouds, and I had to quickly take the shot before the sun disappeared again. So I may reshoot some of the photos at a later date when the weather becomes less overcast.

The obvious choice for the frosting would be to use a cream cheese style frosting, so I went in search of an easy recipe. However, most of the recipes I found required soy cream cheese as the base, and I’m personally not a fan of soy products, so I kept searching. The other method I found was to use soaked nuts, either cashew or macadamia nuts, but the nuts needed to be soaked overnight before use. This was not ideal, as I needed to frost them now.

So, I decided to do a little experimenting of my own. I know cream cheese gives a subtle tang, so starting with a standard icing sugar frosting, I added a ¼ teaspoon at a time of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Now I know it sounds very odd to add salt to the frosting too, but it really does make all the difference to the flavour. The texture of this cream cheese frosting is quite soft, but not runny, and is balanced with sweet, sour and salty elements, which compliments these cakes perfectly.

For accurate cup measurements, I sift the icing sugar before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.

Recipe Update: I have changed the icing sugar I use in the frosting from pure icing sugar to soft icing sugar. This created a thicker frosting, which can be used immediately, instead of having to pop it in the refrigerate to allow it to firm up.

Makes 8 large bar cakes

128g (4.5 ounces or 1 cup) coconut sugar
44g (1.6 ounces or ⅓ cup) white rice flour
36g (1.3 ounces or ¼ cup) brown rice flour
36g (1.3 ounces or ¼ cup) sorghum flour
32g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) tapioca starch
28g (1.0 ounces or ¼ cup) almond flour/meal
24g (0.8 ounces or 3 tablespoons) coconut flour
1 tablespoon (15ml) ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons (10ml) ground ginger
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon (5ml) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon (5ml) xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon (3.75ml) salt
180ml (¾ cup) coconut oil, melted and cooled
60ml (¼ cup) pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5ml) lemon juice
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Stir Through
95g (3.3 ounces or 1 cup) quinoa flakes
110g (3.9 ounces or 1 cup) grated carrot, firmly packed
64g (2.3 ounces or approx. a slightly heaped ½ cup) roughly chopped walnuts
44g (1.6 ounces or a scant ⅓ cup) sultanas
210g (7.4 ounces or 1½ cups) soft icing sugar, sifted (I use this brand)
55g (1.9 ounces or 4 tablespoons) gluten and dairy free butter
1½ tablespoons (22.5ml) pure maple syrup
¾ teaspoon (3.75ml) apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) lemon juice
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) pure vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon (0.625ml) salt

Preheat the oven to 160C and grease an 8 bar loaf cake tin with coconut oil.

Sift together the dry ingredients, before stirring through the quinoa flakes.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice and the eggs. Stir until well combined. The batter is thick and sticky.

Step 1

Now stir through the grated carrots, roughly chopped walnuts and the sultanas.

Step 2

Add enough batter to ¾ fill each bar cake and smooth over the surface with the back of a spoon.

Step 3

Bake the cakes for approximately 20-22 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a wire rack, to cool completely.

Step 4

To make the frosting, add all the ingredients to a bowl and using a handheld mixer, beat until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

Step 5

Use approximately 2 slightly heaped tablespoons of frosting for each cake. I used a small palette knife to spread the frosting over the cake before making soft swirls patterns.

Step 6

Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse

Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.

Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 320F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8

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