Nov 30, 2013

Almond Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (Gluten-free)

carrot, cake, gluten-free, almond, sweets, cream cheese, frosting

I love Carrot Cake!!! Do you? I love it so much that it was actually our wedding cake - yes, inside all that fondant is this moist and scrumptious carrot cake.... I preferred it over the chocolate cake that was suggested by our cake maker. Truth be told I don't remember anymore, what the taste was like during the wedding....I am sure it was good as I loved it when I had a taste test but I was too excited about everything that was going on during the wedding day that I probably just got one bite of it - perhaps even done for the sake of having a wedding photo showing I was eating the cake....or something like that. Nonetheless, my love for the Carrot cake didn't end with my wedding cake. I still often order it when I am in Starbucks or other cafes. I did attempt once to make it but I can't remember now how it fared 'cause this was nearly 10 years ago, just after we were married. Perhaps it was bad that I never made another one.

Well, it's been 10 years since we had gotten married - Nov. 22, 2003 so I thought it was time to make some delicious Carrot Cake. However, since hubby is doing gluten-free, I decided to try a gluten-free version of Carrot Cake, with trepidation as I was totally unsure of how it will turn out. Oh, am I so glad that I made it. To be honest, I think it's even better than the regular white flour version. It is so moist and flavorful and the cake even after a day or two - retains the moisture - and, in fact, improves its flavor as it ages. Wow! I added some spices for extra flavor and they were a perfect complement to the creamy, cheesy frosting! I honestly think this is the best Carrot Cake I've had in years, I surprised even myself. The only comment hubby had (apart from totally enjoying it, too!) was to add some raisins next time. Since this was a first time experiment I thought I'll do it plain and basic first though after the first trial I fully agree that adding raisins would totally put this over the top. Since it's already made of almond flour - I didn't add any more nuts but feel free to do so when you make this - some extra crunch in there certainly can only make it better, right? So, please enjoy this gluten-free Almond Carrot Cake! I sure hope that you will enjoy this as much the whole family did. :-)


1/2 cup gluten-free Flour* (like King Arthur's)
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
4 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups Sugar
1-2 Tablespoons Maple syrup
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups grated Carrots
2 cups ground Almonds

For the frosting:

8 oz (1 block) Cream Cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup Confectioner's (Icing) Sugar
2 teaspoons fresh Lemon juice

Handy Tools:  mixing bowls, electric mixer


Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter an 8 x 8 square baking pan/dish. Line it with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

Beat the egg yolks, sugar and maple syrup until thick and creamy. You may occasionally have to scrape the sides of the bowl. Stir in the lemon zest.

Transfer the egg mixture to another large bowl. Stir in the grated carrots, ground almonds and gluten-free flour mixture.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. In two batches, fold in the egg whites into the carrot mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan/dish. 

Bake the cake for about 1 hour or until top is golden and springs back when you press it lightly. 

Let the cake stand for about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

In the meantime, make the frosting. 

For the frosting:

Beat the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually stir in the icing/confectioner's sugar and the lemon juice. Mix just until everything is combined and has reached a smooth consistency.

When the cake has fully cooled, frost it. Generously spread the frosting all over the cake. You may have a few tablespoons left-over. The photo shows quite a thick frosting and I took the liberty of making it that way since the cake is pretty thick and since it's also gluten-free - quite dense. The light and fluffy, creamy frosting provides a great contrast of textures and flavors and so the cake warranted a thicker frosting, at least in our opinion. Feel free to halve the recipe if you prefer a slightly thinner frosting.  

Gluten-free Almond Carrot Cake Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

The cake is great to eat on the first day but it gets even better as the days pass so I suggest make this at least a day ahead. Once you have iced the cake, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 4 days, assuming it lasts that long...I seriously doubt it. :-D Please enjoy.

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Nov 28, 2013

Spiced Molasses Cookies

I used to be not a fan at all of spiced cookies. It's not because I think they have a funny taste or anything like that but because of sheer unfamiliarity. I guess Filipino cuisine, though it has its sweet side, does not have many cookies perfumed or flavored with sweet spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. But since this is a quintessential winter and/or holiday cookie, I thought I ought to give it another try. I don't like a cookie though that's super heavy on ginger taste (though I love ginger and often use it in cooking - for savory food mostly though!). Just not my cup of tea. But when I saw that this cookie has pretty much an even distribution of spices, I thought why not?

Nov 26, 2013

Everything Thanksgiving - Recipes, Decor, Crafts, Ideas and so much more!

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. It is indeed one of the most looked-forward to holidays of the year and understandably, the preparation leading to the day itself can be quite stressful sometimes if not enough planning is done. So to help some of you decide on what to do or serve for Thanksgiving, here are some helpful ideas - from what decor to use, tips on hosting, crafts to make and what glorious food to serve. I have so enjoyed researching about all these and I hope you find it quite handy for your Thanksgiving preparation. Enjoy! 

Nov 23, 2013

South African Bobotie

In 2007, we had the privilege of living in South Africa for a few months. We were previously in this beautiful country way back in 2004 for our honeymoon in Cape Town. We absolutely loved our time there. How can we ever forget this country? It has so much to offer.....majestic scenery like that of Table Mountain.....

Nov 21, 2013

Cranberry Orange Bread with Lemon Glaze

Cranberry season has finally arrived! Now I am getting a bit excited because I know that the Christmas holidays are just around the corner. I can even tune in to one radio station where we live and there I can hear Christmas songs already as they have started playing Christmas carols since November 1. Yes, you read it right. I know you may think it's a little early to play Christmas carols in November - after all there's still Thanksgiving to celebrate before the Christmas season, but for me it's no problem at all.

Nov 19, 2013

Foodport 2013 - Taste of Food from Around the World

In Manila Spoon we feature international cuisines all the time. I am so delighted to invite you all to the upcoming FOODPORT 2013, a food fair showcasing a great variety of gustatory delights from around the globe. This event is sponsored by the University of the Philippines Industrial Engineering Club (UP IE Club). It is for a good cause as the proceeds will benefit the UP IE Scholarship Fund which in turn helps out bright but underprivileged students get a college education from the Philippines' premiere university. As a UP graduate and Iskolar ng Bayan, I wholeheartedly support this cause. 

Nov 16, 2013

Coconut Cherry and Chocolate Bars

Once a month we have a Fellowship Dinner at our church. That means we are requested to bring a salad or appetizer, a main dish and some dessert. Oftentimes, I focus more on doing the main dish as I often try to make a Filipino dish which depending on the recipe can require some prep time. It is during this time when I wish to make a simple dessert that won't compete for attention with the main dish. So I did some google search and looked for a dessert that uses a cake mix, after all I already had one on hand, it was just a case of what do I do with it.

Nov 14, 2013

How to Save Recipes and Get Amazing Deals from ZipList

Good news dear readers!!! I have recently partnered with Ziplist. That means saving your recipes is now so easy and truly convenient! This tool works not only for recipes from Manila Spoon but to all your other favorite food sites and blogs. It's like a one-stop place where you can collate all your favorite recipes. How amazing is that?


Nov 12, 2013

Creamy Chicken Sopas (Filipino Chicken Macaroni Soup)

I have so many sweet memories of this Creamy Chicken Sopas that my mom always made, perhaps at least once a week. My siblings and I often requested for this and our mom always readily acceded.  We have eaten this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and yes, even as a snack. There's just something so comforting about a creamy soup. This is even more craved for during the monsoon season when it rains all over the archipelago much like we crave for Champorado when it's cold and gloomy. For flavoring, I add a little patis/fish sauce to the broth. For me that's the one that gives it that special flavor. There are so many versions of chicken macaroni soup but add some patis (fish sauce) and you truly make it extra special!

Nov 9, 2013

Kiwi and Walnut Upside Down Cake

I have made my own share of Upside Down Cakes (Cranberry and Mango-Raspberry Cakes) and I love each of them. Moist, buttery and sweet-tangy, these cakes truly posses the kind of flavors I look for in a cake. I thought I'd be happy with these two fruit versions already but then I thought I wonder if I could actually make a version using Kiwi fruits. To be honest, I have never eaten a Kiwi cake before so I wasn't sure if this will work at all. I have often used Kiwi for smoothies and just as a snack - raw - but I have never thought of actually baking with it.

Nov 7, 2013

Beef Caldereta (Kaldereta sa Gata) - Beef Chunks Stewed in Coconut Milk

Creamy, nutty, spicy and delicious! This tasty beef stew is comfort food at its best - BEEF KALDERETA #caldereta #kaldereta

Kaldereta belongs to the category of comfort food in the Philippines. It is a favorite dish that is often served in weddings, birthday parties, certainly Fiestas and other special occasions. Like many other Filipino dishes, it has some Spanish influence particularly in its name which originated from the Spanish word - caldera/caldero - which means "cauldron." It's a tomato-based stew as many other Spanish-influenced dishes in the Philippines are, but the Filipinos gave it a unique twist by adding either liver spread, coconut milk, peanut butter and sometimes cheese for extra flavor. It is traditionally made with goats meat but more often the beef version is the most popular one though depending on one's diet and preference you can also find "kaldereta" made with chicken or pork. Others like it spicy, while others prefer it creamy or just more tomatoey. 

Nov 5, 2013

Baked Eggs with Herbs and Tomatoes

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It's been awhile since I wrote a breakfast post which is funny because I have quite a few recipes for breakfast that I haven't blogged yet. I thought that for today's post, it's got to be breakfast. Last weekend we made this easy and scrumptious Baked Eggs with Herbs and Tomatoes for brunch. I love that it is such a versatile recipe --- you can vary the tastes by flavoring this very simple tomato sauce with some spices like curry or chili powder, or by adding pesto instead, or using a variety of herbs like basil, parsley or cilantro/coriander perhaps. The sky is the limit! For brunch, serve this with some crusty bread that you can use to mop up the sauce. :-D
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