Sunday 7 December 2014

2 Amazing Gluten Free Carrot Cakes when Out & About

My favourite cake of all time has to be carrot cake. I adore the different textures and flavours you get in each bite. The spices, the moist carrot, the bite from the carrot and/or nuts and raisins and the creamy cream cheese topping. You can’t beat it.

In my 4 years of being coeliac I’ve never yet found or been offered a gluten free carrot cake. Normally its lemon drizzle cake or chocolate brownie and although these are both fine, they get a bit boring after a while. So image my delight when this week I have sampled 2 gluten free carrot cakes in a mere 3 days – ah bliss!

Carrot Cake 1
I’ve had a few days off this past week and spent them visiting family and catching up with old friends. My mum wanted to take me out for coffee and cake and suggested a little tea shop she had heard good things about called Martha’s Vintage Tearoom in Shefford. I looked at their website and facebook but couldn’t see any mention of gluten free. I decided to give them a call and was pleased when they said they would make sure to have something for me when I called in the next day.

It’s a cute little place hidden just off the main high street in Shefford. We were shown to our table which was set with napkins and pretty mismatched vintage china which is so in fashion these days. The tables and chairs were set amongst a range of gifty things and done up in a festive Christmas theme which was nice.

We were given tea menus and I asked about gluten free cakes, expecting a shop bought brownie, so imagine my delight when I was offered a choice of home made gluten free chocolate cake or carrot cake. I looked at my mum in excitement, carrot cake….carrot cake!!!

Of course I had the carrot cake and when it arrived it looked so delicious and ‘normal’ that I got them to check it was really gluten free. It was a generous slice and you could still see little flecks of carrot throughout and it was nicely spiced. The cream cheese frosting was sweet and creamy and scattered with chopped walnuts. It was delicious, a perfect unexpected treat.

My mum went for a slice of coffee & walnut which is one of her favourites. They only had 3 cakes on offer that day so the fact we both got to enjoy our favourite cake was amazing.

They tea selection was also good and I went for an apple & pear tea which was lovely and fruity. The ideal drink on a cold frosty morning. The shop is a bit hidden away, but if you are in the area I’d recommend seeking them out.

Carrot Cake 2
On Friday I found myself in London with 60 minutes to spare before catching a train. I decided to wander off to Wholefoods and indulge in some full on food browsing. One of the first things to greet you as you walk in the door is the fresh bread selection and the counters of delicate cakes and pastries. I can’t help but look and drool over them all. I was pleased to discover that Wholefoods have expanded their gluten free offering and had a small selection of cakes, breads and puddings at one end. Unfortunately, all very very pricy! They had some ‘normal’ 6-7inch cakes for sale at around £6 each. At the end of the row I spotted they also had about 4 gluten free cakes, which looked very tempting. I considered maybe treating myself to one until I read the price tag £19.95. WHAT! Ekk, no way was a cake worth that. I know gluten free is more expensive to produce, but surly not that much!

Moving swiftly away I spotted a range of mini individual cakes, these too were a little pricy at £4 each for one of those tiny individual 2-bite muffin trays. Hmm, still a bit steep. I then spotted a range of muffins scattered haphazardly onto a shelf in no order at all. These were gluten free and dairy free and much more sensibly priced at £2 each. I went over to inspect and had a fun time playing lucky dip with the muffin flavours. I was delighted to come across one called Carrot & Apple…mine!

It looked moist, dark and sticky and screamed – “eat me I’m delicious” so naturally into the basket it went. I then had to dash for the train and couldn’t wait to get home to try the muffin, so ate it on the train.

Wow, this muffin was epic. I’m not sure I’ve ever described a food as epic before, but that is the word that crossed my mind as I ate it.

It had a moist, sticky, nobly top that had risen and spilled over the top of the paper liner, just like a proper muffin should. Breaking off a piece I could see it was packed with shreds of carrot, chunks of date and spices.

It felt a little dense and slightly dry when breaking off a piece, but the minute I put it into my mouth and started to chew the flakes of carrot and apple released their moisture and it became wonderfully moist and soft. I loved how it wasn’t very sweet, you could really taste the sweetness from the carrot, apple and dates itself and the muffin was based on brown rice flour rather than white, which also added to the wholesomeness of it – in the best way.

I got a few funny looks from the man in the business suit across from me, for taking multiple pictures of a muffin, but I didn’t care. This was an epic muffin. It was made by a company I haven’t heard of before called CraYve’s. From their website they appear to be a small London based company, but I’m going to keep my eye out for them in future. I can’t wait to try some of their other cakes.

Who knew carrot cakes could be like buses, none for 4 years and then 2 come along at once. Both different, but both amazing. What’s your favourite cake? Do you know anywhere else to get gluten free carrot cake that I could try? Now I’ve had a taste, I’m hungry for more!


Johanna GGG said...

This might be the first time that carrot cakes have been described as buses but in such a great way - they both sound like lovely experiences of discovering carrot cake - love the tea room - wish we had more cafes like that around me

Gluten Free Alchemist said...

Wow..... You really lucked out there didn't you?! Both look and sound amazing. For me, carrot cake has to have cream cheese icing so I think the first one would win my vote. But if you considered the second one 'epic' then maybe I need to change my perception?

Choclette said...

And there was me thinking apple cake was your favourite!

Glad you found something other than a brownie to eat. I love brownies, but would get bored of them quite quickly if that;'s all there was to eat. The cafes I've gone to in Cornwall all seem to have interesting GF cakes, so maybe you need to come on holiday down here.

Kelly Michelle said...

Ok I seriously need to meet you the next time you're visiting Bedfordshire! I now have two cake shops on my radar thanks to you young lady - need to go and try them and I definitely want carrot cake now - yummo! xx

Katie said...

Hi Kelly,
I'm back in Bedfordshire for the moment, so if you fancy meeting for some gluten free cake munching then just say the word :)