Obviously, I'm all about easy. I was cruising around Albertson's a couple of days ago looking for cupcake liners (which, by the way, they didn't have and it totally burst my cupcake-craving bubble), and noticed a brand-spanking-new display of all gluten-free baking mixes, flours, and snacks. Yes! At the bottom of the display were a couple of Simply Organic mixes that I hadn't seen anywhere before. Seeing as how I was planning to bake up a carrot cake from scratch, I opted for the unbelievably easy Carrot Cake Mix instead. Lazy? Yep. That's how I roll.
I was almost doubly lazy and started to buy a can of the ever-delicious Betty Crocker icing (I might have kept it in the mini-fridge and eaten it straight out of the can in college...but I'm not confessing), especially since they just announced recently that their icings were gluten-free, but after reading the ingredient list and seeing all the chemicals and corn syrup, I opted to make cream cheese icing from scratch. SO glad I did.
Here's the finished product:
This cake was DELICIOUS. In fact, my brother and his best friend came to visit over the weekend and I served it to them without telling them it was gluten-free and they loved it. They didn't believe it when I told them. The cake is super moist, and the icing is divinely rich.
I followed the instructions on the cake mix box exactly (even down to the cooking time), except for one thing: instead of using a cup of shredded carrots, I used a cup of carrot baby food. It's much easier than grating the carrots (no chance of grating a finger), and the cleanup is a cinch. Plus, it adds a little more moisture to the cake, and there are no carrot lumps.
I made the icing from the Cream Cheese Icing recipe in my absolute favorite cookbook, The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. I've had a copy of this cookbook in my possession as long as I can remember. It's such a good staple cookbook. Anyway, here's the recipe (for one cake or 12 cupcakes):
- 4 oz cream cheese (half a package), softened (I used low-fat and it turned out great)
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups powdered sugar
Beat together (on medium speed) the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until combined and creamy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time while beating, and continue until it gets to spreading consistency. Make sure fully combined.
After that, I just scooped out the icing and placed spoonfuls onto the top of the (cooled) cake, then spread it around. So easy...but it tastes like you worked all day!
I made this cake on Friday night...and it's now Sunday night and there's one piece left. I think it was a hit.