Ok, so I know it’s been ages since I’ve posted to the blog (life’s crazy), BUT, I have some cake for you today so I hope you can forgive me (thanks guys).
Carrot cake can sometimes get a bad rep. Maybe it’s too sickeningly sweet, overly garden-y tasting or is simply bland, overshadowed by globs of sticky sweet cream cheese frosting. No one wants any of that, so let’s give this simple and rustic cake a second chance.
I’ve adapted my recipe from the amazing Isa Chandra (her vegan recipes are way too awesome, please check them out). And guys, this cake is LOADED.
Bland would never be an appropriate adjective. The thick batter is stuffed to the brim with grated carrots, coconut shavings, raisins and chopped walnuts. It’s amazing and delicious chaos.
After baking, it’s subtly domed on the top and fills the kitchen with those classic carrot cake smells: cinnamon, nutmeg, aromatic carrots and sweetness from maple syrup and pineapple juice. It took all the strength I had not to just eat it warm from the pan.
Now, the cake could just be eaten like this, but what pairs so magically with carrot cake? How about some creamy frosting? Even better, how about a frosting that’s simply made with cashews? Um, heck yes.
A few dollops of frosting later and there you have it. The cake is moist and soft, flecked with chewy raisins and coconut. The frosting pairs perfectly, elevating the cake with a creamy sweetness. I totally ate a few spoonfuls of the frosting too…
Carrot Cake with Creamy Frosting
For the cake: (adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)
1 cup pineapple juice
0.5 cups melted coconut oil
0.66 cup sugar
0.33 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1.33 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
0.75 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
0.5 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 cup walnuts, chopped
0.25 cup raisins
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups grated carrot (about 3 medium carrots)
For the frosting: (adapted from Love and Lemons)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
0.25 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other unsweetened non dairy milk)
0.25 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice
0.5 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 6 or 8 inch cake pans and line bottom with parchment.
2. Whisk pineapple juice, oil, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Sift in flours, powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk until smooth.
3. Gently fold in walnuts, raisins, coconut and grated carrot.
4. Divide batter into the two pans. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the cakes pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove and transfer to a wire cooling rack.
5. To make the frosting: add all ingredients to a blender, blending until very smooth. Chill for at least 30 minutes before frosting.
6. When frosting is set and cake is cooled, spread a layer of frosting between the two layers and another on top. Slice and serve.