Thursday, March 11, 2010


The athletes pulled into my driveway with horn honking on Saturday afternoon. Even when they are in a car they seem to be running. They had already stopped twice on the way to my house to explore Santa Barbara and then the outlet malls here in Camarillo. A straight-through drive would be unthinkable and a little to dull for them.

After hugs and hellos and introductions, the bags started coming out of the car. Oh no, not just little overnight bags - coolers, pillows, stretching equipment and water packs the likes I've never seen. Samantha and her friend Katherine made about 3 trips in and out to gather it all. They planned way ahead for the 25km and 50km runs they were doing on Sunday in the mountains above Malibu. Food and water during distance runs up 5000 feet is serious stuff. Truthfully it makes me a little dizzy thinking of the oxygen deficit at 5000 feet. I'm a sea level gal.

My friend Samantha is one of the founders of the Central Coast Triathlon Club. We have been friends since the late 80s and have had many adventures, some we will keep to ourselves. Her adventure into running and triathlons I do not share. I'm a hiker and beginning runner. Her go-getter attitude is wonderful to be around.

One adventure we share is a gluten-free diet. I've got something for you, she said, and handed me the April/May issue of Living Without, a magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities. While she ran around getting settled, I had my nose in the magazine. It's a gold mine of information and recipes. I knew I'd be making the carrot cake for today's blog.

Before you can make the carrot cake you need to mix up a batch of
Betsy's Gluten-Free Baking Mix:
makes 7 1/2 cups

3 3/4 cups garbanzo bean flour
2 1/4 cups potato starch (NOT potato flour)
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch or flour

Measure the flours into a large container with an airtight lid. Stir very well with a wire whisk until evenly incorporated and no white spots remain. Then seal the container and shake it vigorously for 1 minute

Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.

Easy enough. I admit that I didn't do the shaking. Stirring thoroughly seemed sufficient to me. And I had only 3 cups of garbanzo bean flour so I added 3/4 cup almond flour to the mix. Maybe it's why my muffins sank in the centers. They are still delicious.

Moist Carrot Cake
serves 8-10
I made muffins - 2 dozen - you could say I served 24.
very rich without the frosting they suggest - forget the frosting

2 cups Betsy's Baking Mix
1 Tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1//3 cup canola oil ( I used safflower oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease three 8 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Then lightly grease the parchment paper
OR put paper liners in 2 - one-dozen cupcake pans.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the baking mix, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, xanthan gum and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine the water and flaxseed meal and allow to thicken for 3 to 5 minutes.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and oil. Add in the vanilla and then the flaxseed mixture and beat for 1 minute. Stir in the dry ingredients and then fold in the shredded carrots and the raisins.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans (or cupcake papers), smooth the tops with a knife and bake for 30 minutes or until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.

6. Let the cakes cool completely in their pans on a cooling rack. This is where I head out the door for my one hour power walk. I am not one who waits. Turn the cakes out of the pans and remove the parchment paper. Now you frost it. No thanks, it makes my big toe hurt to think of all that sugar.

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