This carrot cake is an old recipe that I’ve changed over the years. It used to be made with eggs, white sugar and white bleached flour; I’ve since replaced these with healthier and plant-based alternatives.
Please note that I am not saying that eggs are not good for you. Eggs, especially the kind from hens raised on pasture and fed omega-3 grains, are part of a healthy diet when consumed the right way. My husband and I eat eggs, but not every day. However, I have one daughter who doesn’t eat eggs at all and that is one reason why I changed this recipe. I wrote a post on eggs and cholesterol and if you’re interested, you can read it here.
Excluding or reducing meat and animal by-products in your diet may not only be important for your health, but it also helps reduce the environmental impact on the planet. Plant-based diets require fewer resources, especially water and fossil fuel, and can significantly boost the planet’s ability to fight climate change.
Made with lots of grated carrots, oats and whole wheat flour, the cake featured here is packed with fibre and vitamins. It’s also sweetened with 100% apple sauce, maple syrup and fresh dates. If you don’t like dates, no worries, you cannot taste them — they just give a natural sweetness and moisture to the cake. Great for dessert or a mid-day snack, a serving can also be enjoyed at breakfast.
The frosting is made with raw macadamia and cashew nuts. Rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy fats, the ingredients are whipped together in a high speed blender and you get this amazing creamy-smooth frosting that spreads like silk. It also holds well. And, there’s no need to add any icing sugar since the maple syrup combined with the nuts will make it sweet enough. As an option, you can add a pinch or two of cinnamon.
Plant-based carrot cake
Oven: 180°C / 350°F
Cake: one 24X31cm (9X12 inches) rectangular pan -or- two 24cm (9.5 inches) round pans.
The batter also makes great muffins (24 muffins). See below for the instructions.
- 1 cup natural rolled oats
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (for cakes and rustic pastries)
- 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) salt
- 1-2 tsps ground cinnamon
- 2 tsps baking soda
- 1 tablespoon (tbsp) baking powder
- ½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped small
- 12 fresh medjool dates, pitted
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup light oil, such as canola, vegetable or grape seed oil
- 1 cup apple sauce, unsweetened
- 4 cups grated carrots
Put the pitted dates into a small bowl and cover them with hot tap water. Set these aside to soften.
Put the rolled oats into the bowl of your small blender or NutriBullet. Lightly blend/process the oats for a few seconds to get a flour that isn’t too powdery nor too crumbly/flaky. Transfer the oat flour into a medium-size bowl and add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix with a fork and set aside.
Drain the dates and discard the water. Add the softened dates to your blender or NutriBullet bowl. Then add the maple syrup and oil and purée until you get a creamy-thick mixture. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and add the apple sauce and whisk by hand until the mixture is fully blended.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well with a solid fork or a whisk.
Add the grated carrots and fold/mix them into the batter.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan(s) and spread evenly.
Bake on middle rack in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before spreading the frosting.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING MUFFINS (makes 24 muffins):
Preheat oven at 190°C / 375°F. Spoon the batter into the muffin wells lined with parchment cups and bake on middle rack for 25 minutes. When done, let them cool. I don’t frost the muffins. They are perfect as is and great for breakfast or snack. Stored them in a covered container in fridge. They also freeze well.
If you prefer, you can make a classic cream cheese frosting. I made this one with raw macadamia nuts and cashews.
Here are the ingredients:
- 1 cup raw macadamia nuts + 1 cup raw cashews, soaked together in cold water for at least 2 hours
- ½ cup almond milk
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup 100% maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons (tbsp) light oil, such as grape seed, canola or vegetable oil
- 2 tbsps lemon juice
- Option: a pinch or two of ground cinnamon (omit if you already added cinnamon in the cake batter)
When the nuts have soaked and are soft, strain the water and rinse them under cold tap water with a meshed sieve. Transfer nuts into a high-speed blender and add all the remaining frosting ingredients. Blend on low speed gradually increasing to high until creamy-smooth. If need be, stop the motor and use your plunger or large spoon to move the mixture around and start again. This may take several minutes, depending on your blender blade and motor.
Frost the cake.
Cover and store the cake in the refrigerator. It will keep for several days.