Friday, 11 May 2007

Gluten Free Carrot Cake (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)

The day after the day the Grim Reaper leant over your shoulder, and watched you struggle to save your child’s life, is a day to celebrate. The day after his fetid breath filled your nostrils and he raised his scythe in readiness, is a day to forget the chores and to buy ice-cream. As you try to erase the residual shock and hold that child tight, it’s a day to go to the beach. Or just sit down and play the games they want, all day.

I have three girls. Only one of them has the distinction of being an older and a younger sister. She is the one I was struggling to save.

She was a tiny dot, born at 36 weeks weighing 1.96kg (4.3 pounds). They told me she would go to the SCBU, they told me I wouldn’t be able to breast-feed her, they told me she might not be very well at all. They reckoned without my feisty girl. Although her tiny, furled up body seemed too small to be in this world, she drank the first drink of formula they forced on her, then turned to me for more. She had no intention of going to the SCBU. She has an iron will.

At 6 months we bought her a soft little teddy. She grabbed it from us and has still not let go. She kissed and chewed and sucked the teddy; it is now a shadow of its former self. As soon as my baby could talk she christened the teddy, ‘Bear bear’. We all love Bear Bear, he is the seventh member of our family.

At 25 months she had her brush with death. During an afternoon with friends, a grown-up game of ball got a bit close and a grown-up fell on top of her with all his weight. She had been eating cake. As they passed her to me, the warning bells were chiming very loudly.

Her teeth were bared like a wild animal’s. Her eyes were open but they had rolled up inside her head, I could only see the whites. She was rigid. She wasn’t breathing. I called her name and her eyes rolled back and drilled into me. Her pupils were dilated to maximum and her eyes were like deep black holes. Then she went limp in my arms.

They say that in moments of extreme danger, time slows down. I concur.
My baby was choking and the ambulance was not going to get there in time. They don't tell you that when a jaw is locked shut you cannot prise it open and therefore you can't clear the airways. It took long agonising minutes before she would breathe again, and it was much much later in hospital that she came out of the subsequent deep sleep and was my little girl again. The terror of brain damage could finally leave.

Amazingly, the doctor told me that at her age she could have done six minutes underwater in a swimming pool, and not have sustained brain damage. It's a comforting thought but I think perhaps I won't be putting his theory to the test. Please, know your basic first aid.

My girl has always loved carrots. From carrot purée to carrot sticks through carrot salad to carrot cake, she loves it all. ‘I will always be able to see in the dark Mummy because I eat so many carrots.’

Bear Bear and Carrot Cake are two of her favourite things. She is one of my three favourite girls.

Bear Bear's Carrot Cake

175g grated carrots
1 medium apple
75g brown rice flour
75g maize flour1.5tsp gluten-free baking powder125g sugar
2 tbsps ground linseeds (grind whole linseeds in a blender, sooo easy)
3tbsps rice milk
2 tsp cinnamon
a good scraping of whole nutmeg or 0.25tsp
50g raisins
70ml vegetable oil

For the icing:100g dairy-free spread (here's one)175g gluten-free icing sugar (here's one)
1 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, Gas mark 4
  • Line a 19cm x 19cm tin with baking parchment
  • Mix the linseeds with the rice milk and set aside
  • Grate the carrots and peel, core and finely grate the apple
  • Put the sugar, linseed mix and oil into a large mixing bowl and beat together using a wooden spoon
  • Add the apple, carrot and raisins. Grate half of the lemon zest and half the orange zest into the bowl, and mix everything together
  • Add the maize flour, rice flour, baking powder and spices and mix everything agin
  • Scrape into the tin and level off using the back of the spoon
  • Place in the oven for approximately 25 minutes. Depending on your oven, it may take shorter or longer, start checking after about 12 minutes. The cake is cooked when it is firm and slightly springy. The top may look a little cracked which is not a problem
  • Remove the cake from the oven and leave it in the tin to cool
  • For the icing: Put the dairy-free spread into a large mixing bowl and sieve in the icing sugar. Beat it all together. When smooth, add the lemon juice. The icing is quite loose, you might want to add a little more sugar if you see fit
  • When the cake is cold spread the icing over the top. Grate the remaining orange and lemon zest over the top to make it look pretty
  • I like to keep this cake in the fridge, but perhaps cold carrot cake is weird for you. Do what you think is best. :-)
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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lady macleod said...

Harrowing! Just harrowing. I have one of those tales as well, it involved my not-killing a young intern. As yours, we too had a happy ending.

Thank you for sharing your experience. I passed your link to my daughter for receipes.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Oh Pig, I had my heart in my mouth reading that one. Oh God!

Oh, and I adore carrot cake!

Drunk Mummy said...

Oh Pig - you've done it again. I've gone all funny, that whole kiddy thing is so precious. But it could also be that its very late and I have drunk more than a skinful.

spymum said...

Oh Pig, my fingers are all trembly as I write this. Give her (and Bear Bear) an internet hug for me.

Great recipe - I adore carrot cake cold!

Dianne said...

Arrrgggghhhh! What a terrible experience, my heart was in my mouth as I read it. Nice recipe too


Brom said...

Agreed with Lady Mac. Thanks for sharing that. Life is so delicate, yet we take it so for granted.

The Good Woman said...

I marvel at the way you can find a recipe for all occasions - even those as frightening as this. Your number 2 sounds like a real fighter. And to think she can see in the dark too!

lady macleod said...

13 May 2007

Just want to say Happy Mother's Day to you!

beta mum said...

God, how scary. I haven't had such a moment yet, but there's still plenty of time.
Stitches in a grim Spanish clinic set up for drunken after-hours punch-ups has been the worst so far.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Lady M x2, it ranks with one of the worst moments so far...thank-you for passing on link. Mother's that US Mother's Day? I should cash in, I've already done French and English Mother's Day...why not US one as well?!

M&M, it was rather scary, but the carrot cake makes up for it...

Drunk Mummy, hello love, hope your head wasn't bad after your skinful. The kiddy thing is so precious and so vulnerable...still thinking about poor little McCann girl.

Spymum, have passed on the hug, thank-you. I think C.Cake is best cold, but someone questioned that, it's all a matter of taste!

Dianne, thanks for reading, enjoy the cake if you ever have a minute to make it, what with those pancakes you're rustling up!

Brom, it's weird how life almost hangs by a thread, and only when it's about to break do you realise how flimsy the whole thing is.

TGW, number 2 is certainly a force with which to reckon...i'm already fretting about her teenage years

Beta Mum, well we haven't had stitches yet, that sounds painful, and overseas stitching too? That sounds alarming!

Durban Mom said...

Oui Pig,
I always log on for a laugh amoungst other things, you caught me out with that story, but once again written so so well.
Carrot cake is a favourite, TKS

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Durban Mom, hello! are you from the beautiful Durban in South Africa where the rolling waves are as high as houses?! That's how i remember them, that and RJ's steak house....! So thrilled that you log on for a you have a blog? tried to visit back but couldn't get to your blog!

Hamand said...

I made this carrot cake a few days ago and it went down exceptionally well, especially with my hyper energetic 3 year old who's jumping on me as I type this, wanting to use the PC. I was amazed that it lasted so long as well - three days and it was still beautifully fresh, moist and spongy. Excellent recipe, thank you very much! Agh, the baby's attacking me, got to run.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Hamand, hello, how great to hear you made the cake and it passed muster with your 3 year old!!! Children are the harshest critics...and the worst wreckers of PC's, watch out for that!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your lovely site, it seems very rare these days to find a site with such soul. I felt an instant pick me up from the love and energy you put in. Thanks

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Anonymous, very belatedly your comment has shown up on my blog, so very belatedly I am saying, thank-you very much. I don't know what to say apart from that, but feel very flattered!

Kristina said...

Oh! The cake is a triumph! I am becoming a legend in the GF, EF and DF kitchen due to your wonderous recipes! Thanks so much for the amazing recipes and the sometimes sniffle inducing blogs.

disa said...


Jessica said...

Pig, I don't have any linseeds in the house at the moment, what could i use instead.. normal egg replacer? Thanks :)

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Hi Jessica, yes, normal egg replacer should work and you could throw in a mashed banana as well, although it's probably not essential. Good luck!

Amy said...

Pig, you're a life saver! I have been looking for a carrot cake recipe thats gluten and egg free for soooo long, and have thrown away most of the one's i've tried. But this is just divine!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Amy, why thank-you my dear! This and the courgette cake are two of my happiest recipes! And WHEN will the publishing world realise I'm a life saver?!
Pig x

Hannah said...

Oh Pig! All hail Pig!
My rainy Sunday morning has been restored by making this (again, for the thousandth time), in mini muffin trays, for my mini-pips. Made the courgette & choc ones too. Too much veg to use & it's beautifully hidden in these recipes :-)
Thank you Pig, for a brilliant 'go to' recipe for the last 3.5yrs xx