Happy First Sunday in Advent, everyone. Today I don’t have another Christmas cookie recipe for you, but one of my favorite cakes of all times, which is carrot cake. As long as I can remember, it was my go-to recipe in the form of muffins during fall and winter and I just love the dense, gooey texture and the hint of cinnamon in it. Topped off with some cream cheese frosting, this sweet treat is pure indulgence. And given the fact that one of the most popular veggies is hiding away in the name, it may or may not be easily consumed for breakfast and, if you turn a blind eye on it, regarded as one out of your five-a-day. I mean, we can’t deny the many good nutrients that come with carrots, right?
A few weeks back I had a conversation with some of my friends, who eat a vegan diet for quite some time, which gave me the final kick to try out a vegan cake for the first time (I once tried a banana bread last year, not sure if that also counts). Even though I also increasingly include vegan meals in my meal plan, this mostly happens accidentally. I try to cut down on any animal products, but I currently don’t want to restrict myself to a certain diet. While I experience it as quite easy to cook vegan without having to make any cut-backs regarding taste, I still had my doubts when it comes to baking. I don’t know about you, but even if I would not have been that skeptical, it was mostly the long ingredients lists on recipes that hindered me to finally give it a try.
However, in the end curiosity prevailed over skepticism and the result was a carrot cake that couldn’t have been any better and has approved the very critical test of various family members. Even deep-rooted omnivores wouldn’t have thought the cake was vegan and were convinced they were eating cheese frosting. The icing also was the part I was most curious about. I’ve already heard about cashew nuts serving as a replacement for cream cheese or cheeses in general (for instance here), but I honestly could not believe that it would come that close to the original taste.
Carrot cake with cashew frosting (vegan)
makes one 26 cm springform pan
For the batter:
- 150 g flour (I took all-purpose flour, but I guess spelt flour would even add more nutty flavor to it)
- 100 g ground almonds
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 150 g Medjool dates
- 2 tbsp flax seeds dissolved in 6 tbsp water
- 100 ml sunflower oil
- 160 g apple puree
- 1 banana
- 250 g rasped carrots
- 60 g walnuts
For the frosting:
- 170 g cashew nuts
- 50 g fluid coconut oil
- 40 ml almond milk
- 6 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- zest from 1 lemon
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Mix all dry ingredients (flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger) in a large mixing bowl.
- As a next step, pit the dates and put them, together with the flax seed mixture, oil, apple sauce and banana in a blender and blend until it becomes a homogenous sauce.
- Then mix it with the dry ingredients and gently fold in the rasped carrots and chopped walnuts.
- Bake the cake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes (toothpick test!).
- While the cake is in the oven, cook the cashews for about 10 minutes in boiling water in a pan, then drain them.
- In a blender, mix them with the coconut oil, almond milk, lemon juice, maple syrup and the zest of one lemon until the texture is smooth and creamy.
- Top-off the (cooled down) cake with the cashew frosting and decorate with some nuts if you want.
Since I’m quite happy with how this vegan carrot cake turned out and the fact that vegan baking turned out much easier than expected, I wonder where the journey will lead and will probably share some more experiments with you. Did you already give vegan baking a try? I’m curious about your stories! Hope you have a good start into the week.