Sep 27, 2018
Classic Carrot Cake ~ grain-free, oil-free and plant-based!
Wow! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that I finally, finally, FINALLY nailed this recipe. I feel like calling this “Carrot Cake: Take 3,455” … because that’s how many trials and errors I seem to have endured. I have posted a raw carrot cake recipe, and that one was wonderful in its own right, but it’s simply not the same as a genuine, classic carrot cake.
I’m all about texture when creating baked goods, and it just wasn’t happening. Carrot cakes usually call for TONS of oil. That’s probably why I had such a hard time. But I finally did it. A prefect crumb, not too dense, not too sticky, not heavy at all and NO OIL. Yay! And the timing couldn’t have been better since I was asked to bake this wonderful dessert for a dear friend’s birthday.
One of the most important factors in getting that rise and texture just right is the particle size of the dry ingredients, so make sure to chop the walnuts pretty small and use the finest grater setting for your carrots. In keeping with that particle size, I also opted for currants instead of raisins, but raisins would be fine, too.
So here it is! What may arguably be the perfect, plant-based, oil-free carrot cake.
A decorative and scrumptious tradition, made oil-free and plant based!
- 1½ cups light buckwheat flour (see notes)
- 1 cup tightly packed almond flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups finely grated carrots
- 1/2 cup raisins or currants (I used currants)
- 1 cup chopped raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or other minimally processed, granulated sweetener)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, plant based milk (I used soy)
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 TBS ground flaxseed + 1/4 of the orange juice listed above
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked at least 5 hours
- 1- 1½ cups water
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla bean powder or extract or a couple of drops of orange oil flavoring
- 3 TBS maple syrup or sweetener of your choice
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Combine the 2 tablespoons of flax meal with 1/4 cup of the orange juice and set aside.
- Line 2 round 8-inch cake pans with wax paper or parchment (I use wax paper, cut to match the size of the bottoms of the pans and also use just a touch of cooking spray oil both beneath and above the paper for ease of unmolding after baking)
- Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine. NOTE: it's important to separate all of the carrot shreds so they aren't sticking together.
- Combine all of the remaining wet ingredients except the flax mixture and stir well, adding the flax mixture last and stirring gently.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans as best you can and smooth the tops with a spatula.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool for about 20 minutes, then turn the pans upside down onto wire racks to unmold. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, simply blend all ingredients in a high powered blender. Add bits of water at a time, as you don't want the mixture to become too thin. You may need more water than is mentioned above, it really depends on how long your cashews have soaked.
- Blend until smooth.
- REFRIGERATE, covered, for several hours before using as it will firm up as it cools and be easier to use.
- Decorate as you like! I used candied pineapple, chopped pistachios, dried rose petals/buds and fresh marigold flowers (yes they are edible, just make sure they are organic if purchasing)
I prefer to use LIGHT buckwheat flour in this cake, though you could certainly use regular buckwheat, but it would change the color considerably. I find mine on Amazon, available from one or two sellers. Alternately, you could certainly use wheat or spelt flour. I just prefer to keep mine gluten-free. But don't use the GF mixes, they won't work. Trust me, I've tried so many kinds of flours. Enjoy!