This plant based adaptation of the classic carrot cake sends citrus juices permeating the sweetness of carrots. The input from you is minimal. Culinary self esteem – and festive spirit – never came at so low an emotional cost.
What you will need – (for a 2 layer 9 inch cake)
For the carrot cake –
- Olive oil – 1/2 cup
- Brown sugar – 1/2 cup
- Flax eggs – 2 (2 tbsp flaxseed powder mixed with 5 tbsp water)
- Carrots – 3 large (2 cups when grated)
- Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
- Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
- Zest of a whole orange
- Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
- Baking powder – 1 tsp
- Baking soda – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
- Walnuts – 1/3 cup, chopped
- Golden sultanas – 1/3 cup
- Dried Cranberries – 1/3 cup (optional)
For Plant-based Cream Cheese –
- Raw Cashews – 1 1/2 cups (225g) (soaked in hot water for 1 hour)
- Lemon Juice – 2 Tbsp
- Coconut Cream – 1/2 cup (120ml)
- Salt – 1 tsp
- White Vinegar – 1/4 tsp
For Plant-based Cream Cheese Frosting –
- Vegan Cream Cheese (from above) – 225g
- Vegan Butter – 1/4 cup (56g)
- Powdered Sugar – 2/3 – 1 cup (65-120g) (adjust as per your preference of sweetness)
- Vanilla Extract – 1/2 tsp
You will need 1 x 9-inch round cake tin
- To make your vegan cream cheese, soak the raw cashews in hot water for 1 hour. Then drain the cashews and add to a blender jug with the lemon juice, coconut cream, salt and white vinegar. Blend until you have a smooth texture. Transfer the cream cheese from the blender to a storage container.
- Mix flaxseed powder with water and keep aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180℃. Grease your cake tin with oil and lightly dust with flour and keep aside.
- Meanwhile, grate the carrots in a processor (for ease) or with a coarse grater, taking care not to to squeeze out liquid from the carrots. Set aside.
- Whisk the sugar and oil – I use my electric mixer, but it wouldn’t be much of a faff by hand – until creamily and airily mixed.
- Whisk in the flax egg. When well-whisked, add the orange zest and lemon juice and finally, the dry ingredients and grated carrots. Ensure the batter is not over-mixed.
- Now fold in the cranberries, walnuts and sultanas using a spatula.
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is risen and golden and a toothpick comes out sticky but more or less clean.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake sit in its tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes before taking it out of the tin and leaving it on the rack to cool.
- Weigh out 225g of the cream cheese and place it into a large bowl. Then add softened vegan butter, sift in the powdered sugar and add the vanilla extract. Starting at slow speed gradually increase speed until the frosting is thick and smooth. I prefer it not so sweet and 65g sugar is perfectly sweet by my standards. Taste the frosting and add more sugar if you so desire. (If the frosting is a little on the soft/runny side, place the bowl of frosting in the fridge to firm up)
- Remove the cake to a plate; slice in half horizontally. I insert toothpicks at the halfway mark on 4 sides of the cake and use dental floss to slice it through.
- Add half of the frosting on the first layer, followed by the next half of the cake and another layer of frosting. Tumble over a handful of cranberries, walnuts and mint leaves. Serve.
Storage notes –
Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!