[Photograph: @sstiavetti]

For a few years, when I was trying to figure out the source of some health problems, I decided to go gluten-free. And when I stopped eating foods containing gluten, a lot of the problems cleared up. I enjoyed this lifestyle until I disappeared off to Europe for a few months. How could I not eat pizza in Naples? Fideo in Spain? Pastry in Paris? I caved and started selectively eating the treats I felt epitomized the culinary culture of an area. And you know what? I was fine.

I ate this way for three solid months without a problem. And then I came back to the United States, where I noticed that a lot of my old discomforts were returning. I'm not sure if the wheat flour in Europe is different enough from US flour that my body would tolerate one and not the other, but I'm debating cutting out gluten again to see what's what. The human body sure is complicated, isn't it?

As part of this experiment, I'm revisiting some of my old favorite gluten-free recipes. Like this carrot cake.

Carrot cake is one of those lovely desserts that always makes me feel like a queen. Something about the rich, dense layers and the uber-creamy icing are almost always swoon-worthy, causing even the most recalcitrant sugar-opponent to buckle under a cloud of cinnamon and cream cheese. This particular recipe, even though it's gluten-free, is a superlative carrot cake experience. The lofty, tender crumb does nothing to tattle on its wheat-free status—if you didn't tell your guests, they might never know.

This recipe was adapted from a fabulous book called Gluten Free Baking Classics. If you at all love to bake with gluten-free ingredients, I highly recommend it.

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Gluten-Free Carrot Cake »

About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.

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