Gluten Free Mini Carrot Cakes
Carrot cake is often the left out middle sibling of all the cakes. Usually forgotten and not given enough attention. NOT ANYMORE! These mini carrot cakes will satisfy all your dessert needs. Soft, fluffy, spiced, nutty with an extra creamy cream cheese frosting. These cakes are the absolute perfect spring dessert.
These mini carrot cakes are perfect for 2-3 people to share. You can also make them days ahead of time! They are just so cute and adorable, who wouldn't be in awe by these beautiful mini creations.
They are also less scary to make than one normal sized cake. If you are a bit of a beginner with cake decorating, then this is a good place to start.
The ingredient list may look long but if you are regularly baking gluten free, then you will most likely have all of these items already in your kitchen.
Making the cake batter is pretty standard but does require a lot of bowls so be prepared to do a few dishes.
1 bowl for the sugars and butter
1 bowl for the shredded carrots, toasted pecans, and golden raisins
1 bowl for the dry ingredients: flours, baking soda/powder, spices
Be advised that the batter is on the thick side. This is good. Because we are baking with fresh un-cooked carrots, there will be quite a lot of water that will release while baking, making your cake wonderfully soft and moist.
The batter before adding the carrots- SO THICK!
Here is the batter when adding the carrot mixture
Normally when making just one cake you need to weigh out the batter and evenly distribute it to the different baking pans. You get to skip that step here. Just spread it evenly onto a baking sheet with parchment paper that has been sprayed with non-stick baking spray.
Plop it on the tray, spread out evenly, then bake
You really need to make sure this cake is fully cooled before going onto the next step. The next step is really easy and also kid friendly. You are basically just taking a cookie cutter and cutting out as many circles of cake as possible. It is up to you how large or small you want your mini cakes to be. My cakes were about 3 inches (7.5cm) in diameter. I cut a total of 12 circles making 6 complete cakes.
In the picture above you can see how I piped on my layer of cream cheese frosting. I used a Wilton 1A (large open circular piping tip) to pipe dollops of frosting. If your cake is even the slightest bit warm, the cream cheese frosting will start to melt. To make the decorating go faster as well as make your life easier, once you cut out all your circles of cake, places the cake circles in the refrigerator for 1 hour. When the cakes are cold they do not crumble as much. This will make decorating SO much easier.
Needless to say, I was in a rush and didn't do that step. I didn't place my cake circles into the refrigerator before applying my crumb coat. If you are a beginner, a crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting that goes all around your cake. It is supposed to be thin and smooth so that it can trap in any loose crumbs.
Nope I just went and applied my frosting to my cake, which wasn't warm, but wasn't cold either. My frosting was messy to say the least and it was hard to smooth out.
I slowed down and placed my cakes into the refrigerator. This hardened my frosting and made it incredibly easy to smooth on the next layer of frosting. Once I applied my second layer of frosting, I put all my cakes back into the refrigerator to set. I then took two small bowls and put about 1-2 Tablespoons of frosting into each, own bowl I colored orange and the other light green.
How cute are those little frosting carrots?!?
Cream cheese frosting can be tricky and isn't as easy as a standard American buttercream but it sure is delicious. It has a hint of tartness that overpowers the sweetness of the powdered sugar. Because of the dairy in cream cheese, it will not fully harden like butter. Once your frosting is piped on, you can set the cakes back into the refrigerator to set while you chop up more pecans. You do not have to toast this batch. Once ruffly chopped, use your hands or an off-set spatula to apply the nuts to the bottom 1/4 of the cake, creating a board of chopped pecans all along the bottom.
Whatever you do and for whomever you makes these cakes, make sure to save one just for yourself.
Spring is here!
If you need a step by step tutorial on how to make stable and easy to pipe cream cheese frosting, check back to one of my previous recipes. My Bacon Cupcake recipe has pictures and videos with what to expect when making cream cheese frosting. The process is a bit longer and more complicated than standard American Buttercream, but totally worth it! Here is the link below.
Step by Step Instructions on Cream Cheese Frosting
What is amazing about this recipe is that it creates one large layer for a sheet cake. If you wanted, you could double the recipe and spread it onto two baking pans. Put the cream cheese frosting in the middle and voila, you have a large carrot cake sheet cake. Instead of doubling the recipe you could multiply it by 1.5 and divide the cake into two 8in or 9in cake pans. Make sure to double the cream cheese frosting recipe or make the cream cheese frosting in two batches.
8in Carrot Cake
However, if you do make the mini carrot cakes then you are left with all this extra cake from the cut outs. Hmmm.... what to do with the extra cake? Break off a piece, sit down, have a cup of coffee and take a break. Well yes of course. But you can also freeze the extra cake until you have a reason to use it. A week later I used the extra cake to make carrot cake macarons. Yes, I even filled my macarons with a small piece of the carrot cake!!
You just have to lightly smush the macaron together, smooth off the sides and OMG these macarons are heavenly!
I may of gone a little overboard with my baking this past week. But I truly do love carrot cake and so does my family. My oldest daughter loves carrot cake so much that she asked me to make it for her 6th birthday. I was so hesitant at first, thinking that the other kids wouldn't like it. I was shocked to see that every kid cleaned their plate. They all said it was the absolute best carrot cake they had ever had. The even complimented my daughter, telling her how cool it was to have a carrot cake and not a standard chocolate cake or boring vanilla confetti cake like all the other kids.