Beetroot & orange loaf cake with cream cheese icing

‘Are you sure you didn’t forget and just use normal flour?’ my sister asked with a mouthful of beetroot & orange loaf cake. And that my friends, is what every gluten-free baker wants to hear: I can’t believe it’s not gluten! Believe it. 

Beetroot & orange loaf cake gets better with age: this particular one lived to the sprightly old age of three days. I can’t imagine this cake ever living much beyond this however, it’s far too delicious for it’s own good. 

Beetroot & orange loaf cake with cream cheese icing

Adapted from recipes by Lucky Peach and Sally Holland.

For the cake:

4 free-range eggs

3/4 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar (or regular soft brown sugar)

1 cup of a lightly flavoured oil, such as rice bran or canola

1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

1 & 1/4 cups of gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon baking powder (check it’s gluten-free if that’s a concern for you)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle

zest of two oranges

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup ground almonds

2 cups of grated raw beetroot (about one large beetroot) 

Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a loaf tin (mine measures 13 x 24 x 7cm) or a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper. A good tip for lining a loaf tin is to tear off an over-sized sheet of baking paper and place it under a running tap while you crease it up with your hands. Shake off the excess water and then dry the paper with a tea towel. The baking paper will now be malleable and easy to mould to fit your tin.

Using a stand mixer or a set of electric beaters beat the eggs, caster and brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda over top of the creamed mixture and gently fold through to combine. Add the ground coriander seeds, orange zest, salt, ground almonds, and grated beetroot and gently these fold into the creamed mixture until thoroughly combined.

Pour mixture into your prepared tin, smooth off the top and bake for about an hour, maybe slightly longer, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake on a cooling rack to cool down completely before you ice it – if it’s remotely oven-warm you’ll end up with a cream cheese icing moat around your cake. 

For the cream cheese icing:

125g cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups icing sugar, sifted

finely grated zest of an orange

Leave the cream cheese out on the bench for half an hour to soften it up. Using a food processor, stand-mixer or set of electric beaters beat the cream cheese until smooth and lump-free. Add the icing sugar and orange zest and beat until well-combined. Refrigerate the icing for an hour so that it thickens before you ice the cake. 

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