Have you ever made your own birthday cake? I think it is perfectly acceptable to bake yourself a cake, especially if you enjoy baking or are craving something specific.
This year, all I wanted was a carrot cake with maple cream frosting. Once I got that combination stuck in my head, there was no going back. Moist, lightly spiced carrot cake with a thick layer of rich, maple cream cheese frosting...birthday cake perfection.
I made it gluten-free and my dad still ate a slice. At first I thought he was just being nice, since it was my birthday and all, but then he also had a slice for breakfast and dessert the next day. I'd say this cake was a winner, and I couldn't have had a better birthday!
Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Serving size: 2 layer, 9 inch cake
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free flour blend (such as Cup4Cup which includes xanthan gum)*
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups finely grated carrots
Maple cream cheese frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, chilled
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar. sifted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. maple flavoring (to taste)
(*Note: All-purpose flour can be substituted for the gluten-free flour blend, if desired. Omit the Greek yogurt if using all-purpose flour.)
To prepare the cake, preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease two 9 inch round baking pans with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper. Lightly dust the sides with flour.
In a large bowl, whisk the oil, sugar, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla together until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda together. Stir into the wet ingredients until well blended. Mix in the carrots.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (Note: Watch the cakes carefully because the final baking time may vary based on the type of pans and/or flour used.)
Let the cakes cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare the frosting, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the chilled cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar, starting on low speed and increasing to medium speed, until a smooth frosting forms. Beat in the vanilla and maple extracts.
Fill and frost the cake with the maple cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Source: cake adapted from King Arthur, frosting a Much Kneaded original
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