carrot cake – vegan

9th November 2017

There are two ways to serve this cake. The first, for a special occasion and serving it with decadent cashew cream, the second, without the cream and giving it a warm earthiness by sprinkling the top of the cake with 2 extra tablespoons sesame seeds and the roughly chopped raw walnuts before baking. Both ways are delicious.

As a general rule, all nuts are heating. In Ayurveda, it is recommended to eat sparingly, especially cashews as they provoke Pitta and because of their thought-provoking qualities can disturb the sleep and meditation.

sesame-seeded carrot cake

Inspired by the much-loved Spice Cake.

The cardamom adds a rich warmth, so it is important to grind your own as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense. 

cashew cream 

1 cup/140g cashew, soaked for 4 hours or overnight

¼ cup coconut cream (the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk)

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 vanilla bean

2 – 4 Tbsp maple syrup

ingredients for the cake 

2 Tbsp sesame seeds – for sprinkling inside the greased pan

½ cup/50g walnuts – for garnishing

2 cups/210g tightly packed grated carrots (approx 2 medium)

dry ingredients 

1 cup/120g whole-wheat flour

1 cup/120g unbleached white flour

2 tsp baking powder

1½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 heaped tsp cardamom powder

2 heaped tsp ground cinnamon powder

wet ingredients 

½ cup/125ml melted coconut oil/mild-tasting olive oil

1 cup/250ml maple syrup (can replace with 1 cup/180g brown sugar )

¼ cup/45g brown/coconut sugar.

½ cup/125ml hulled tahini paste

½ cup/250ml soy/almond milk

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

½ cup/80g golden sultanas/raisins

prepare the cashew cream 

1.  For the cream, soak the cashews for at least 4 hours or overnight in cold water.

2.  Drain, rinse and place in a high-speed blender.

3.  Split the vanilla bean down its length, scrape the seeds into the blender, along with the coconut cream, coconut oil and maple syrup, blend until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust the amount of maple syrup.

4.  Transfer the cream to a bowl, cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.

prepare the cake 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Oil a 9-inch springform pan or a baking dish with oil. Sprinkle the sesame seeds around the sides and bottom of the pan.

2.  Spread the walnuts on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.  While they are still warm, rub the nuts gently in a towel to remove the skins.  Inevitably there will be some skins that refuse to peel away, but no matter.  Roughly chop, and set aside.

3.  Wash the carrots and grate either using a box grater or your food processor (using the smaller grater attachment). Set aside.

4.  In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients –  flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine.

5.  In another medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients – oil, maple syrup, sugar, tahini, soy/almond milk and vinegar. Whisk until the wet ingredients are emulsified.

6.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, whisking together just until all the dry ingredients are absorbed. The batter will be quite wet.

7.  Stir in the grated carrot and sultanas, fold gently with a spatula to combine.

8.  Pour the batter into the oiled pan and place in the oven. Bake about 50 – 60 minutes, or until the cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. If the top looks like it’s getting dark, but the inside needs more time, cover loosely with aluminium foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

9.  When the cake is completely cool and you are ready to serve. Spread the cashew cream evenly over the top of the cake. Decorate the cake with the toasted walnuts and long strips of carrot peel. To keep the carrot strips from discolouring, toss in a little lemon juice before placing on the cake.

Serve within a few hours of frosting otherwise, it is best to keep the cake refrigerated or to frost only when ready to serve.

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