10 March 2010

Best Vegan Carrot Cake Ever!

This recipe started out as a highly eggy one with buttermilk, but I did my magic with food chemistry and turned it into a truly tasty vegan delight. I topped it with a tweaked version of the BabyCakes Bakery cookbook vanilla frosting that was much more like coconut frosting because I used coconut milk instead of soymilk.

I'd made the cake to test it for future birthday cakes (especially mine, next week!), and brought it to a big party to try it out on my friends. They loved it, rushing the table for it as soon as I unveiled the thing. Prior to bringing the cake to the party, my friend Rosie and I tried two small pieces. We nearly kept the cake to ourselves, it was that good.

The cake is super-moist and spiced delightfully. The house smelled like a combination of cardamom and gingerbread for two days! I prefer currants over raisins because they don't interfere with the flavor of the cake (like raisins sometimes can). It's definitely not low calorie, but high in good fats and fiber. This will definitely be the one I bake for Mom's birthday in August. She's going to LOVE it.

Caveat about the frosting -- because it gets a bit melty at room temperature, prior to serving the cake, chill it for about 10 minutes to keep it firm without drying out the cake. The coconut frosting is an ideal match for this carrot cake because it's creamy and light, while the cake is spiced up about 3 notches.

Overall, the cake doesn't take long to make, but the frosting needs time to firm up. I actually had to run it through the food processor again before frosting the cake, so it had a whipped texture rather than a smooth one. It really reminded me of the coconut milk ice cream I've been having lately, without being overly sweet.

Because I hadn't made one in a while, I made a short movie of the making of the frosting and the cake (below). Go easy on me, I'm a bit out of practice. ;D Following the movie is the recipe. The recipe for the frosting is here, but watch the movie first for my alterations.

Best Carrot Cake Ever!
Yields two 8-in. rounds of cakey goodness.

4 teaspoons flaxmeal
4 tablespoons water
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup coconut flour (sifted)
2 teaspoons baking powder (sifted)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 generous teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup currants
1 cup walnuts (chopped, or as I do it, beaten with a mallet)
6 cups coarsely grated carrots

1. Mix the flaxmeal with the water in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients until well incorporated.
3. Combine all the wet ingredients and mix well.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 passes, until just moistened.
5. Fold in the currants and walnuts.
6. Fold in the carrots until they are well distributed in the batter.
7. Generously oil (Smart Balance buttery spread does really well here) and flour the pans and preheat the oven to 335 degrees F.
8. Split the batter between the two pans and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until a bamboo tester comes out clean.
9. Let cool for 1 hour in the pans, then turn out the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.
10. Frost the cakes and show 'em off before enjoying!


Catherine said...

oooohhh . . . carrot cake is my all-time favorite! I've never thought to try it with coconut frosting, for some insane reason. Sounds fantastic.

Courtney said...

Yum--thank you! Carrot cake is a family favorite, so I am sure this will come in handy for future get-togethers and birthdays :-) And speaking of Birthdays--happy early birthday to you!! I hope you will be doing something fun and that you don't have to bake your own cake?


Deb Schiff said...

Thank you Ladies!

Courtney, I typically make my own cakes because unless I get in to NYC to BabyCakes Bakery, I won't be eating any due to my food sensitivities. :) No bother. I love to bake.

Laura said...

This cake looks fantastic! I love that you added flaxseed.

Jen said...

Great job on the video. The cake looks really yummy.

Michelle said...

How interesting that your cake uses coconut milk! That's so genius, it's almost like this is a pina colada cake. MMMM sounds so delicious and looks.. INSANE would be the appropriate word to describe it. hehehe

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Michelle! Now, if I added some pineapple to it the cake would be a pina colada cake. I actually wanted to do the pineapple bit, but was afraid it might throw off the balance. Maybe I'll do some experimenting and see how it goes.

Ginamarie - Mom to Dane said...

Deb- what are your thoughts on using coconut oil instead of olive oil? Would it throw off the taste of the carrot?? If so, maybe using almond milk instead of coconut milk, so it's not-so-coconutty?

I like to use coconut oil, when I can, but wanted to get your thoughts since you've tasted this cake.

Deb Schiff said...

Hi Ginamarie,

Thanks for your question. Since there's already coconut flour and coconut milk in it (even if you use another milk), there will be a bit of coconut flavor to it. However, the spices go a long way in this recipe to make it spicy-carroty more than coconutty -- especially if your spices are fresh or you grind them yourself. I'd recommend also using some nutmeg since it hides all kinds of things well.

As far as using coconut oil, because it behaves so much like butter (solid at room temperature), you'll need to beat it with the agave nectar first (like creaming butter and sugar), then blend in the other liquid ingredients.

I am very interested in hearing about your results. Please come back and let me know. Best of luck!