I have a new obsession and it involves neither chocolate nor peanut butter – a revelation! This is a recipe I did not expect to ever create… I am the person who will always go for something chocolatey if given the option. Lemon, fruit and especially carrot cake never made my heart beat faster. Well, until now, that is…
Last week I did my best to make my boyfriend’s birthday special while both of us were working from home with no one to see and nowhere to go. In times like these, the small things count even more. One of the essential ingredients for the at-home-celebration was, of course, a birthday cake. And as his enthusiasm for chocolate and uber-indulgent desserts has bounds (unlike mine), I decided to perform the ultimate sacrifice: Bake a carrot cake. I was slightly sceptical of the endeavour, but felt good knowing I’d score some (chocolate-free) brownie points. The end result was beyond my wildest dreams: gorgeously spiced, flavourful, juicy cake with a wonderful 2 minute cashew butter icing I whipped up. I may have been even more surprised and excited than my boyfriend, after I took that first glorious bite. Over the next few days the iced carrot cake became my breakfast of choice, fuelling busy mornings and a sense of a newfound identify. (Ok, kidding on the last point, but it was pretty groundbreaking).
Long story short: I have been craving that carrot cake ever since I scarfed the last slice and I wanted more, but without all the sugar and refined flour from the recipes I’d googled. Today, I put my ideas to the test and created the healthy cousin of last week’s cake, and, it’s even better than the birthday version (my boyfriend’s words, but I agree 😉 ).
Healthy Vegan Carrot Cake with Easy Cashew Icing
Makes: 8-10 squares
- 150g flour (I used 125g wholemeal spelt + 25g light spelt)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda (or Natron in German)
- 1 tsp ground vanilla bean
- 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground ginger
- large pinch of salt
- 125g finely grated carrots
- ca. 40g raisins
- 40g pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup apple purée
- 200 ml mylk (I used oat mylk)
- 2-3 drops of apple cider vinegar
- 85g dates*
- 1 tbsp date syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 75g cashew butter
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- good pinch of ground vanilla bean
- ca. 3 tbsp mylk / until desired consistency reached (should be silky smooth, but not yet too runny)
- Preheat oven to 175°C (non-fan), with the baking tray already inside.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Separately combine and blend the wet ingredients.
- Fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and pour the batter into a loaf tin** lined with baking parchment.
- Bake for ca. 30 minutes (a toothpick should come out clean) and leave to cool in the tin.
- Prepare the icing by combining all ingredients and stirring with a spoon.
- Either ice the cake directly or (as I prefer it as long as it’s the two of us eating it:) slice into squares and ice individually before eating. The icing can be kept in the fridge for a few days.
* The dates must be soft. I use the Sukari pitted dates from Dattelmann (international website), which are gorgeously squidgy. I am not sponsored by them but have a discount code for 15% (I get EUR 10 for each order using my code). I have been using them for years and recommending to friends as the dates are great quality and I find it cheaper ordering from there than buying smaller packets in the store – especially as I eat dates pretty much every day. If your dates are dry try soaking them in hot water first and draining, before blending.
** My loaf tin is ca. 28 cm long and 10.5 cm wide. The cake ended up 3.5 cm in height. If your measurements vary make sure you adjust the baking time accordingly / keep a close eye on the cake while in the oven.
Decoration: I topped with some fresh grated carrot, but mainly for the added color. You can serve with the plain icing or top with e.g. pecans (normal or caramelized), edible flowers, grated orange zest, fresh berries, etc.
If you do try them, tag @blueberrysmiles22 on Instagram, so I can drool over your creations 🙂