Carrot cake is one of my absolute favorites but I never feel too good after indulging in the real thing. For years I've been on the look out for a healthier, more digestion-friendly version and with my raw treats kick in full gear, I decided to stop looking and to make a variation myself!
This recipe calls on the natural sweetness of carrots and dates, as well as the healthy fats of nuts and the soluble fibre of gluten free oats. The first time I made this cake, I made it in the form of simple sheet cake with "frosting" and cut the pieces into squares, but for the second go I made a traditional style layer cake, filling and all. Both ways are easy to prepare so take your pick!
For the cake:
- 2 cups finely grated carrots, squeezed (approximately 8)
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (quinoa or rice flakes also work)
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups Medjool or soft dates, pitted
- 3/4 cup dried coconut
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
- A pinch of salt
For the cream:
- 1 cup raw cashew, soaked for at least four hours if possible
- 3 Tb lemon juice
- 2 Tb water (only if nuts are not soaked)
- 1 tsp Spiced Golden Milk Blend (or simple turmeric powder)
- 1 1/2 Tb maple syrup
- 1 Tb coconut oil
For the topping (optional):
- 2 Tb toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 1/2 Tb finely diced crystalized ginger
- 1 Tb shredded coconut flakes
1. Begin by grating your carrots on the smaller side of a box grater. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the grated carrots. (You will end up with quite a lot of carrot juice, which you can save for a smoothie bowl or to add to soup.) Once the carrots have been squeezed dry, measure them until you have about 2 cups.
2. In a food processor, or high speed blender, grind the oats until they begin to make a coarse flour. Set the mixture aside.
3. Next, grind the walnuts until they begin to turn into a flour, but not so much that they turn into nut butter (that's another recipe). Mix into the oat mixture along with the coconut, spices, and salt.
4. Next, add the carrots and dates to the food processor/blender, and mix until the dates become well chopped. You may need to do this step in batches.
5. Once the dates are chopped, combine the wet mixture to the coconut at oat mixture. Mix well to combine.
6. To make a cake press half the mixture in a small 6 or 8 inch pan which has been lined with cling film. Remove and repeat with the other half. Set this mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up.
7. While the cakes chill, combine all the ingredients for the cream in a high speed blender. If you haven't had time to soak the nuts, add the extra water. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the amount of lemon or spice if needed.
8. Once the two cake have set up, they are ready to ice with the cashew lemon cream. Use 1/3 of the cream to sandwich the two cakes together and ice the top with the remaining cream. Once iced garnished with pumpkin seeds, chopped crystallized ginger and/or coconut.
This recipe serves 12.