Everybody love carrot cake at least this is what it appears, often found on the menus in English cafe’s and tearooms. Moist layers and indulgent frosting, what is there not to like? The internet is filled with traditional recipies and this is why I decided to put together this twist that shares the basic ingredients but gives a different experience to our palate.
Not long ago me and my husband visited a wonderful cat cafe not far from where we live.
The owners rescue cats whom may otherwise never get another chance at being homed, and they use the cafe and the profits to reinvest into caring for the cats. They are free to roam and do as they please; if they want to be alone they can simply slip off upstairs for a quiet moment away from people, they are not forced to be with the patrons in any way.
Yet as we sat there drinking our coffee and eating our carrot cake all of which was of course vegan, we were continually surrounded by these furry little beauties who simply liked the company of people and who liked the attention.
For this carrot cake version I wanted to play with different textures whilst avoiding using crunchy nuts in the sponge because I personally don’t like having crunchy bits in a soft moist sponge. I instead wanted something milder, that’s why I decided to use dark chocolate chips, specifically in the frosting, so they don’t melt during baking, but they stay crunchy and will melt in the mouth.
Oh yes, and that’s exactly what they do!
The sponge is also enriched with some grounded almonds for extra texture and omegas, and finely chopped dates, to add another layer of sweetness along with brown sugar, golden syrup, and carrots, which will make your tastebuds party!
Frosting is really up to you, it indeed adds some more sweetness but I assure you, that the cake can be totally enjoyed by itself plain as just a sponge or instead with some lemon/orange warm custard.
It’s a lovely base that I really recommend you to try.
…for the sponge…
400 gr Carrots
200 gr All Purpose Flour
120 gr Wholemeal Spelt Flour
130 gr Brown Sugar
100 gr Vegan Butter
80 gr Ground Almonds
50 gr Golden Syrup
50 gr Dates
30 gr Tapioca Flour (or Corn Starch)
30 gr Dark Chocolate Chips (make sure they’re vegan since they still might contain milk)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Orange Extract (or Zest)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Lemon (Zest and Juice)
…for the frosting…
100 gr Cashew Nuts (soaked overnight or for at least 3 hours)
1 can full Fat Coconut Milk (refrigerated overnight)
4 tbs Icing Sugar
1/2 ts Vanilla Extract
Preheat the oven at 180° C.
Blend the nuts with a splash of plant based milk (as much as it’s needed in order to achieve a very smooth yet firm creamy texure).
Add the icing sugar to the cashew cream and some vanilla extract.
Scoop out the solid bit from the coconut tin, making sure to leave out all the water.
Combine the coconut cream to the mixture. Whish until smooth and fluffy.
– for step-by-step gallery click on this link –
With a food processer (or manually) finely grate the carrots, add the juice of 1 lemon, mix thoroughly and set aside.
Roughly chop the dates and set them aside as well.
Melt the butter then combine all the remaning ingredients into a food processer, then blend together.
Don’t worry, it is normal at this stage having a crumble-like dough instead of a smooth one. It will achieve the perfect texture once the carrot are added.
With a spatula corporate the carrots (with their juices) and the chopped dates to the dough, then fill 2 18cm rounded trays with half of the dough each.
Bake for 30 minutes or until after piercing it with a skewer it comes out clean and dry).
Allow to cool completely.
Remove the top of the sponge with a sharp long knife.
Place the first sponge (bottom down) on a plate.
Scoop over 1/3 of the frosting then sprinkle the chocolate chips.
Cover with the second sponge (bottom up).
Spread a generous layer of frosting on top and make sure to cover all sides.
I wanted mine to have a “rustic” finish, naked-cake-style with just a little piping work on top. In the center we have some carrot rose made with a vegetable sharpener that I find very useful to prepare veggies for salads or decoration in general.
Allow to cool at least a couple of hours before serving.
As previously mentioned you can avoid making the frosting, or you can use a store-bought one if that’s easier for you. The sponge it is also very tasty without it.