As we know, traditional birthday cakes are a nutritionally bankrupt prospect. Why not celebrate life by creating a memorably delicious cake filled with healthful ingredients? This recipe just skirts the fringe of being virtuous, because it does contain organic brown sugar. But it has so much good going for it–I urge you to give it a try!
Carrot Spice Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting
Adapted from a recipe by Allyson Kramer (www.allysonkramer.com)
Cashew Cream Frosting
2 cups raw cashews
1 1/4 cups almond milk
8 pitted dates (soak in hot water to remove skins)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional, but recommended)
Soak cashews in water at least 4 hours (longer is better). Drain and place in blender with 1 cup of almond milk and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Remember the consistency should be spreadable, so less is more when it comes to liquid. You may or may not need the remaining 1/4 cup of almond milk. Refrigerate until needed.
Carrot Spice Cake
1 cup applesauce (unsweetened) 1/4 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons besan/chickpea flour 1/2 cup superfine brown rice flour (reg. works too) 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup nondairy milk 2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon allspice and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 cups peeled and grated fresh, organic carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Grease a 9-inch cake pan and coat lightly with brown rice flour. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the applesauce, olive oil, vanilla extract, molasses, salt and sugar until well blended. Gradually add in the rest of the ingredients, one by one, except carrots and raisins– in the order given. Mix vigorously using a whisk about 100 strokes, or until very well mixed. Gently fold in the carrots and raisins with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Bake in prepared pan 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean, with a few crumbs attached. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes on a rack before removing from pan. Allow to completely cool, then split into 2 layers. Assemble cake with frosting between layers and garnish with chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired. Serves 8-10.