Sunday, 6 October 2013

Carrot, pistachio and coconut cake (gluten-free)

Carrot pistachio and coconut cake (gluten free) with an orange blossom drizzle icing and topped with chopped pistachios and orange zest
Flicking through this month’s Good Food magazine, this cake caught my eye. A few friends and colleagues are coeliac and so I’m always on the look-out for good gluten-free recipes: this one looked really unusual and tasty.

Having decided to make this, and made sure that I had all the ingredients, I realised that I don’t own the 24cm cake tin that the recipe demanded. I decided to go with it anyway and split the mixture between 2 20cm sandwich tins. The cakes were obviously smaller and a little thinner than the original, but generally completely fine.

This cake was lovely and easy to make – a quick blitz in the stand mixer to froth up the eggs and sugar and then gradually add in the rest of the ingredients. It did take much longer than the suggested hour to cook though – I think it took about an hour and a half in the end, but my oven always bakes slowly so I have suggested 1 hour 15 minutes.

The Good Food recipe suggested serving the cake with rose scented double cream. However, I was taking this into work and so wanted to pretty it up a bit! I decided to flavour my icing with orange blossom water as I felt that it would complement the other flavours, but you could also use rose water and then top with crystallised rose petals rather than the orange zest – which could look really pretty.

I loved this cake! It was really unusual and had a lovely flavour and moist texture. I love the flavour of coconut but I’m not usually sure about desiccated coconut as the texture can be a bit dry and claggy. However, the rest of this cake was so moist that this was not a problem. I’ll definitely be making this again!

Carrot, pistachio and coconut cake


  1. 3 large eggs
  2. 200g golden castor sugar
  3. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 200g ground almonds
  5. 100g desiccated coconut
  6. 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  7. 140g butter, melted
  8. 2 large carrots, grated
  9. 100g pistachios, roughly chopped or pulsed in a mini processor

To ice:

  1. 1 - 2 tsp orange blossom water
  2. 100g icing sugar
  3. Zest of one orange
  4. Chopped pistachios

Or serve with:

  1. 300ml double cream
  2. 2 tblsp icing sugar
  3. A few drops of rose water


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
  2. Line one 24cm cake tin, or 2 20cm cake tins.
  3. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a stand mixer until frothy.
  4. Stir in the ground almonds, coconut and cinnamon.
  5. Stir in the melted butter.
  6. Add the grated carrots and pistachios and stir until all ingredients are evenly combined.
  7. Pour the mixture into the tin/s and place in pre-heated oven.
  8. Bake for approximately 1 hr 15 minutes (check after an hour), or until cake is firm and golden on top.
  9. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool in the tin for at least 4 hours.

To ice

  1. When cool, mix the orange blossom water with the icing sugar.
  2. Add extra water until the icing is smooth and pipeable.
  3. Place the icing in a piping bag and drizzle over the cake.
  4. Scatter over the chopped pistachios and the orange zest. 

Or to serve with scented cream:

  1. Tip the cream, icing sugar and rose water into a mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk to soft peaks. 

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