Carrot Cake

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Carrot cake. Love it. But the oil, the sugar, the gobs of cream cheese frosting–not so much. I’m not saying this is the healthiest cake in the world, but it is free of refined sugar and wheat flour. It is also small in stature, hopefully encouraging the notion of a reasonable piece of something as opposed to a slab…

This recipe was also my first attempt at using aquafaba–the viscous liquid left behind in a can of beans. Certainly not the sexiest ingredient in the world, but it has proven a miraculous substitute for eggs in vegan cooking. I love the idea of using every bit of something, so making use of bean water was right up my alley. Aquafaba starts out as a funky yellow liquid, but when whipped it blooms into an odor-free, lily-white fluffy substance similar to meringue.

I found the cake to be good on its own, so you can skip the frosting if you like. You can also use fewer dates if you want to cut the sweetness.

Carrot Cake (serves six)

1/2 cup (120ml) almond flour
1/4 cup (60ml) coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) ground ginger
Pinch or two of nutmeg
Pinch or two of ground cloves
1 cup (240ml) shredded carrots, tightly packed (about 2 medium carrots)
1/2 cup (120ml) walnuts, toasted and chopped fine with a few larger chunks
3 oz. (90g) pitted medjool dates
1/4 cup (60ml) hot water
2-14 oz. (398ml) cans worth of aquafaba (garbanzos are best)
1/4 cup (60ml) coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon (5ml)  vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5ml) apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

Grease a 7-8-inch pan and line with a round of parchment or waxed paper. If you want to make things really easy on yourself, use a non-stick springform pan.

Preheat oven to 350F/175C degrees.

In a large bowl combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Whisk until combined and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the dates into a paste. In a small bowl combine with the hot water and set aside.

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, whip the aquafaba until thick and foamy, similar to soft peak egg whites.

In the bowl with the flour mixture, add the dates and water, coconut oil, vanilla, carrots, and vinegar and mix until well combined. Fold in the whipped aquafaba.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. It will be very thick.

Bake on the middle rack for 1 hour. Check at 30 minutes. If the top is getting too dark, cover with foil.

Let cool completely before running a knife around the edges and removing from the pan. The cake is extremely delicate so be gentle.

For the Frosting:

1-16 oz. (453g) tub of yogurt
1 Tbsp. (15ml) liquid sweetener of choice (I used coconut palm syrup)
Splash of vanilla

Strain the yogurt through cheesecloth overnight until you have something the consistency of cream cheese. You will have about half a cup or 120ml.

Add the sweetener and vanilla and mix well. If you’re not frosting the cake right away, keep the frosting refrigerated.

I split the cake in two and lifted the top off with a large spatula, frosting it in the middle and on top. But you can leave it whole and have all the frosting on top. Frosting it around the sides would be tricky because it is a delicate cake and will likely break apart.

Keep leftovers in the refrigerator.

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