When I was a child we went out for dinner quite a bit. My dad likes to joke that my mom’s favourite thing to make for dinner is reservations…and it’s quite true. And I can relate – the apple certainly doesn’t fall far from the tree in this case!
In our family we love our desserts and we were always excited to check out the dessert menu at our restaurant of choice. No matter how many chocolate brownies or pecan pies or caramel sundaes were on the menu, my mom was famous for consistently ordering the carrot cake.
“Huh?! Carrot cake?!” my sister and I would scoff. How on earth could something made with carrots ever be even remotely as yummy as piles of chocolate or a mountain of ice cream? But she was unwavering in her choice despite our good-natured ribbing.
I have to admit that as my taste buds matured I did develop an affinity for a good old-fashioned carrot cake every now and again. But don’t let the name fool you – despite a helping of nutritious carrots most conventional carrot cakes are made with tons of butter, refined sugar and eggs.
So I set out to veganize this dessert – cream cheese icing and all. And the end result was pretty darn awesome if I do say so myself. I subbed out the butter and eggs for coconut oil and unsweetened apple sauce, the refined sugar for maple sugar and I used gluten-free flour in place of regular AP flour and a ridiculously moist and delicious dessert was born.
The kids liked it plain but the frosting takes it to the next level (although I did use 2 cups of organic powdered sugar in the frosting so it’s not as nutritionally sound as the cake itself). You could also add raisins and/or nuts if you like additions to your cake but I made mine without to avoid watching the kids pick the “bits” out of their dessert.
So after all this time, I finally get it….carrot cake rocks! This one is for you mom!
Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream “Cheeze” Frosting (adapted from Peas And Thank You, Sarah Matheny)
8 carrots, steamed and pureed
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup soy milk
1 cup maple sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free AP Baking Flour
1/2 tsp xanthum gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins or chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 8 x 8 square cake pan with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, cream together pureed carrots, coconut oil, applesauce, milk, sugar and vanilla with an electric hand mixer on low until well blended.
In a smaller bowl, combine flour, xanthum gum, baking powder, soda, salt and spices. Add a little at a time to the wet mixture until batter is smooth. Fold in raisins or nuts if desired.
Spread mixture in a pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
Cream Cheeze Icing
3 tbsp coconut oil at room temperature
4 ounces of Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese
2 cups organic powdered sugar (or icing sugar)
Whip ingredients together with a hand mixer. Frost cake when it is completely cool. Store any uneaten cake and frosting in the fridge. Enjoy!