Carrot Cake??? Mixing vegetables in baking may seem odd, Alan Davidson in ‘The Oxford Companion to Food’ tells us that carrots were used in European sweet cakes since the Middle Ages when other sweeteners were hard to find or just too expensive. In fact, carrots, along with beets, contain more sugar than most other vegetables which might explain their use in desserts.
Because carrots provided an inexpensive and easily available alternative to other sweeteners, their use was encouraged during the Second World War, at the time of rationing.
There are probably as many recipes for carrot cake as there are people who make it. Personally, I never follow a cake recipe, however, here is an easy carrot cake recipe that can easily be adapted. Experiment for an Easter or any celebration cake Makes 1 double-layer 9-inch round cake.
Easy and fool proof, absolutely to-die for!
Carrot Cake Ingredients
- 2 1/2 cups grated organic carrots Find the easiest way you can to grate them! A food processor makes for a fast and safe job – no grating of fingers!
- 2 1/2 cups organic apple juice
- 1 1/2 cup organic raisins or other dried vine fruit
- 2 cups Organic flour of choice – whole wheat (or use combination of flours eg buckwheat, millet and quinoa) spelt or a portion of organic coconut flour or more favourite is green banana flour
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
- 2 Organic eggs
- 4 Organic egg whites
- 1 tablespoon natural vanilla extract / sprinkle of organic vanilla powder
- 3/4 cup organic unsweetened applesauce / organic crushed pineapple
- 1/2 cup organic rolled grain (quinoa flakes / rolled oats – put through food processor)
- 2 tablespoons Baking powder (Aluminium Free Baking Powder). Baking Powder is a leavening agent that is, it makes your carrot cake rise. I make my carrot cake without adding baking powder and still get a good size cake
- 1 tablespoon organic ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Bring the carrots + 2 tablespoons apple juice slowly to boil in a medium saucepan.
- Lower heat and simmer until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Puree in a food processor until smooth.
- Add raisins and pulse until finely chopped. Let mixture cool.
- Combine flour, rolled grain, baking powder, + cinnamon and vanilla if using powder in a large mixing bowl.
- Add 1 1/4 cups apple juice, coconut oil, eggs, egg whites, and vanilla extract, and beat until mixed.
- Fold in the carrot puree and applesauce / crushed pineapple.
- Put the cake mixture into two lined, greased round cake tins.
- Bake until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- When cool, frost with Organic Cream Cheese Frosting if desired.
- Optional: The zest and juice of citrus – lime, lemon or orange add their own distinctive zing to the cake.
- Add a touch of herb – carrot cake with lemon thyme will not be forgotten.
- Ground organic almonds, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds or pepitas may be added to mixture with the carrots.
- Organic desiccated coconut adds a distinctive taste and texture to carrot cake.
- You can use the same nut, herb or citrus rind to decorate the topping. This cake works well with beetroot, or a combination of beetroot and carrot. Another option is to add grated zucchini / courgette.
- Grated courgette works well with grated beet – add organic carob or cocoa / cacao powder with the flour or organic chocolate chips to the final mixture.
- The cake is delish and sweet enough without a topping or just a smear of organic honey whilst still warm from the oven, however, most recipes agree on the topping: a mixture of cream cheese and icing sugar, sometimes with a little unsalted butter.
- Include a flavour of your choice (citrus juice and rind), beat it all together, adding a little organic milk if it’s too stiff and you’ve got a topping ready to spread on the cooled cake.
- Decorate with nuts, fruit, edible flowers, zest or leave simple.
Here are several Organic Cream Cheese Frosting options:
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Combine all ingredients and mix well with an electric mixer:
- 1 1/2 cups organic softened cream cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 Tablespoons maple syrup
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 175gm organic cream cheese
- 450gm organic powdered confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz Organic Cream Cheese
- 5 Tablespoons organic unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoons organic sour cream
- 1 Teaspoon organic Vanilla Extract / sprinkle of organic vanilla powder
- 1 1/2 Cups organic powdered confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)
- Using an electric mixer – blend cream cheese, add butter, sour cream, vanilla and mix well, slowly add icing sugar, mixer stopped).
- Then start the mixer to blending in. Do this 1/2 cup at a time until all the Powdered Sugar is blended in.
- Process 8oz organic cream cheese + 1 cup organic butter + honey to taste + lemon juice (1 or 2 lemons) + lemon peel.
- 60gms unsalted organic butter, softened + 1 teaspoon lemon rind + 1 teaspoon vanilla + 1 tablespoon organic icing sugar or honey…cream butter, lemon rind, vanilla and lemon juice, gradually beat in icing sugar until thick and smooth.
- Cream 310 gms organic butter + 2 1/4 cups organic icing sugar & beat 4 egg yolks (one at a time) & beat ½ cup mashed strawberries, add ¼ cup strawberries. Refrigerate until firm to spread.
- Cream 125 gms organic butter cubed and softened + 125 gms melted organic chocolate, Beat over ice until thick.
DIY Baking Powder
- 1/2 cup cream of tartar
- 4 tablespoons baking soda
- Sift through a fine strainer three or four times and store in an airtight container.
- Homemade baking powder can be stored for up to four weeks (make a half batch or smaller if you don’t use it much).