Spiced carrot apple bundt cake with citrus brown butter glaze

 

Carrot cake or apple cake? That is the question.

And it’s a tough choice when both are near and dear to your heart.

Luckily, there’s no need to decide, because I’ve brought these two classics together in the form of this plump, golden bundt cake.

This beauty is flecked with golden shreds of carrot, studded with tender, sweet apple chunks and crisp toasted pecans, and infused with the rich nuttiness of browned butter, a panoply of warming spices, orange zest, brown sugar, and vanilla.
Oh, and no big deal or anything but it’s drizzled with a citrus browned butter glaze (I’m obsessed). This bundt is basically the dreamy, golden light of autumn wrapped up in cake form. But let’s not stop at autumn; I can see baking this one all winter long, too.

Fall baking means spices. Cinnamon, fresh and dried ginger, allspice, and nutmeg come together in this cake to create the most deliciously spiced crumb. And as a bonus, your kitchen will be filled with incredible aromas all day after baking this.

As with much of my baking, I developed this recipe to be gluten-free. And it is one of the best GF cakes I’ve ever made thanks to a recent discovery, the brilliant GF flour that is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour.

As the name implies, this flour is super simple to use: just include it as a one-for-one substitute for a recipe’s all-purpose flour and you’re good to go. I’ve worked with many different types of GF flours over the years, and this one is by far my favorite. I’ve been using it in all of my cakes lately with superb results all-around, and it has a reserved spot on my pantry’s baking shelf from now on.

This cake has a light, fluffy, springy and delicious crumb that’s moist without being dense or soggy. And honestly, you would never know – from a flavor or texture perspective – that it’s gluten-free. It’s just a wonderful cake that happens to be free of gluten – and isn’t that the way it should be?

 

As with most of my cakes, I incorporated some finely ground almond flour into the mix here. I really like the rustic flavor and texture that almond flour imparts, and also the extra protein and general wholesomeness that it adds to a cake.

Okay, let’s talk a little bit more about that heavenly browned butter glaze.

My opinion is that if we’re going to glaze a cake, we should glaze it like we mean it, and put some browned butter in there. This stuff is magic; it puts smiles on people’s faces.

For this version I added dark maple syrup for its woodsy, slightly smoky flavor, and orange zest for a bright, citrusy punch. Now we’re talking.

I love this kind of cake, because while it does contain flour and sugar it also has the goodness of carrots and apples and pecans and almond flour and health-supportive spices like cinnamon and ginger, which are great for digestion (and cinnamon actually helps regulate blood sugar levels, too). All in all, a rather balanced treat as far as sweets go.

This cake makes a fantastic dessert after a festive meal, but honestly my favorite way to enjoy it is in the late afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea. It’s the perfect snacking cake.

And I can also assure you from first-hand experience that a plump slice is delightful in the morning, particularly a slow, rainy weekend morning, accompanied by a strong cup of coffee. Followed, sensibly, by a balanced second breakfast of eggs and greens.

_________________

This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill, a company whose values I admire and whose high-quality products I adore and use in my cooking on a daily basis.

 

Spiced carrot apple bundt cake with citrus brown butter glaze

Makes one 10-inch bundt cake, serving 8 to 12; one-half recipe makes an 8×8-inch square cake. If you’d prefer to skip the glaze, a light dusting of powdered sugar right before serving is a beautiful finishing touch.Gluten-free

2 sticks (1 cup / 8 ounces) unsalted butter (plus more for greasing the pan)

1-3/4 cup (212 grams) light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 extra-large eggs

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (from approx. 2-inch piece of peeled ginger root)

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

2 cups (260 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour

1 cup (110 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Finely Ground Almond Flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon allspice

1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1-1/2 cups (150 grams) shredded carrot (about 3-4 medium sized carrots)

1-1/2 cups (174 grams) diced apple (about one and a half medium-sized apples, peeled and cored – I used honey crisps)

1/2 cup pecans (65 grams), toasted and roughly choppedfor the glaze:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons dark maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 to 3 tablespoons milk or cream

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zestPreheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 10-inch bundt pan with butter.

Melt 2 sticks of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow the butter to bubble and froth until lightly browned and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes (keeping a close eye on it so the butter doesn’t burn). Remove from heat and pour butter into a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer). Allow to cool to room temperature.

Add brown sugar to bowl with butter and mix with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) on low speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and mix until mixture is light and frothy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Mix in yogurt, vanilla extract, grated ginger, and orange zest.

In a separate bowl combine flours, baking powder and soda, salt, and dry spices. Whisk to combine.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Fold in carrot, apple, and pecans. Do not overmix.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. (If making an 8×8-inch cake, bake for 25 to 30 minutes.)

Remove cake from oven and cool in pan on a wire rack for about 1 hour. Invert onto rack and cool completely before glazing (see below).

To make the glaze, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until browned and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes, keeping a close eye on it so the butter doesn’t burn.

Pour butter into a mixing bowl, leaving behind the darkened milk solids at the bottom of the pan. Whisk in powdered sugar. Whisk in maple syrup and vanilla (the mixture will look like it is seizing up, but will thin out again when the milk is added).

Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the milk; if the glaze is still too thick, continue to whisk in milk 1 teaspoon at a time until it has a pourable consistency. Whisk in orange zest.

Drizzle glaze over cooled cake and allow to set for 30 minutes before serving.

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