Carrot cake is a tradition in my family, as my mother used to prepare it every year in the week before Easter. But I decided to make the traditional recipe more sophisticated: raw, vegan and sugar-free carrot cake.
We were in Bucharest this year for Easter, and things changed so much. First, my mother did not prepare anymore the carrot cake, but she was trying to prepare so many delicious things, so she forgot totally about the cake. I was happy to see my family and old friends I did not see for a very long time. But we realized they changed, and we changed as well. We are not the same people we were last time we met. Meeting the family and friends was overwhelming and I wanted to spend more time with them, to rediscover again each other.
We saw places which were so familiar to us a few years ago but now have changed. We took our daughter to the park and let her play at the playgrounds she used to play daily almost 6 years ago. She did not remember much, but I did.
I remember one day when she was still a baby, we were going out in the same park we were now. I always had some snacks with me and happened that day I brought some carrot cake. This was quite often one of our choices for snack or dessert 🙂 We were in the park and opened the snack box and gave Ilinca a piece of cake, which she was eating happily. The other kids started to stare at her as she was enjoying so much her cake, so they were asking their moms to eat, but their meals were not so appealing anymore (I guess this is always the case 🙂 ). So by the end, we all shared the carrot cake. That carrot cake was a recipe I develop myself, with orange zest and nutmeg, dried fruits, pecan nuts and a lot of vanilla. Next day when we met again, the mothers were asking me the recipe for the carrot cake, and they were very curious to find out what was inside the cake that tasted so good 🙂 I get the same question from my daughter these days…and my answer is always the same…is my secret ingredient…yes mummy, I know…you always put love in your cakes…so she knows my secret now 😉
So here I am still today, with this obsession about the carrot cake, thinking about how to prepare a carrot cake which is moist and sweet, and with warm spices and vanilla…hmmm…why not a raw vegan sugar-free carrot cake?!
This is a raw and vegan dessert that comes together pretty simply once the cashews are soaked for at least 4 hours. All you need is a good blender…mine got broken recently so I prepare the carrot cake in my food processor which still turned out ok. I used the pecan nuts in the cake and let few for decoration, but feel free to reserve all for the top. Also, the ratio for the cashew frosting to cake is 1:1.
List of ingredients:
2 carrots (approx 160g both)
35g dried pineapple
2tbs gluten free oat flour (you can substitute with almond flour or buckwheat flour)
10 pecan nuts
1 tbs orange zest
1 ts orange juice
1 ts ground ginger
2tbs coconut oil
6 pecan nuts
½ ts cinnamon
¼ ts vanilla extract
¼ ts nutmeg
200g cashew, soaked for at least 4h
1 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs coconut oil
4 tbs raw honey/ agave syrup/ maple syrup
1 ts orange zest
¼ ts vanilla extract
¼ ts salt
Line an 7 inch round pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a blender (or food processor if you blender is broken…like mine 🙁 ), combine the soaked and drained cashews, raw honey /agave syrup/ maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Blend on high speed until you have a smooth and creamy consistency (if using the food processor, you can expect to still have some chunks, but is still delicious). With the motor running slowly, lift off the top of the blender/ food processor and drizzle the coconut oil in slowly. Once you have a homogenous mixture, turn off the machine and add the orange zest. Cover the frosting with cling film and allow the frosting to firm up in the refrigerator for about at least 1 hour. If you are in a hurry, place it in the freezer for 30 min and do not forget to mix it every 10 min.
In a food processor, pulse the dates, and dried fruits with the orange juice until you have a chunky paste. Scrape the paste into a large bowl. Add the oats flour (almond or buckwheat…as you prefer), coconut oil, spices, salt, orange zest and grated carrots. Mix it up with a spatula or your hands until everything is evenly mixed. Press this cake mixture into the parchment lined pan until you’ve achieved an even thickness. Cover it up and place in the fridge until you’re ready to frost it.
Spread the frosting on top of the cake and garnish it with pecan nuts, orange zest, or whatever you like. Let the cake set up all nice in the fridge for about 1 hour. Lift the cake by grabbing the parchment overhang. Place it on a nice round plate and enjoy it for breakfast, with friends, or just for you late in the night. Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for maximum 5 days. Or you can keep it in the freezer up to 2 months.
In case you fancy more about a vegan carrot cake, I am thinking next for carrot pancakes or carrot cookies. How does that sound?