It’s about time I share a recipe from my newest cookbook, Practically Raw Desserts, don’t you think? And if you have a carrot-cake-loving mom, this would be the perfect treat to whip up for Mother’s Day this weekend!
When I shared a photo-packed mega-preview of Practically Raw Desserts just before it came out, this carrot cake received the greatest number of lip-licking comments and dazzled professions of anticipation for the recipe. So for those of you that don’t have the book yet (you can grab a copy on Amazon or from any number of other outlets), I’ve decided to share the recipe here, so you don’t have to wait a second longer to make it!
In Practically Raw Desserts, this Enlightened Carrot Cake is frosted with a delightful Tangy Cream Cheese Icing. However, to simplify this post, I’m sharing the cake with my Quick Cream Cheese Icing variation instead. This version of the icing doesn’t require any probiotic powder, and you don’t have to be fancy and culture the icing. However, for those of you that yearn for “true” cream cheese frosting flavor, I can’t recommend the Tangy Cream Cheese Icing in the book enough!
One more thing: a note about coconut flour…no, you cannot substitute any other flour in its place. I know, I’m the queen of ingredient substitutions (and every recipe in Practically Raw Desserts, just as in Practically Raw, comes with a list of ingredient substitution options), but coconut flour is the one staple ingredient that can never be substituted—it is indispensable in the recipes that call for it. Coconut flour absorbs many times its weight in liquid, FAR more than any other flour can, so it is irreplaceable. However, I promise you that if you go out and invest in a bag today, you will easily be able to put all of it to great use! I utilize coconut flour in a number of the recipes in Practically Raw Desserts (particularly the cake recipes, for the fluffy moisture it lends them), so you’ll definitely use it up. Bob’s Red Mill brand coconut flour is sold at most stores (even non-natural-food stores), though in my opinion, it’s priced a little too high. Personally, I get my organic coconut flour very affordably from Nuts.com (which is actually where I do a great deal of my bulk shopping—for nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc.). Another option is to grab a bag on Amazon—and if you order a copy of Practically Raw Desserts at the same time, you could even get the free super saver shipping deal.
Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Oil-Free, Nut-Free Variation
Low-Fat, Low-Calorie, No Added Sugars, Raw
147 calories, 1.4g fat (1g sat), 35.7g carbs, 9g fiber, 2.6g protein
Per serving (with icing):
241 calories, 7.4g fat (2g sat), 43.9g carbs, 9.5g fiber, 5.2g protein From Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley.
©2013 Amber Shea Crawley. Used by permission.
Who in their right mind would attempt to create a raw, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, low-calorie, low-fat, no-added-sugar, and no-bake – but still tasty – carrot cake?! Well, me. It took some tinkering, but I think you’ll love what I came up with. I recommend using a sweet variety of red apple and the softest, moistest dates you can find. Keep in mind, of course, that this is no longer nut-free when you add the cream cheese icing, but miraculously, it IS still low-cal and low-fat!
- 1 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained
- 1 large or 2 small red apples, peeled if desired, cored, and chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pound carrots, peeled if desired, shredded
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- Stevia to taste (optional)
- 3/4 cup cashews or macadamia nuts, soaked for 2 to 4 hours and drained
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 15 drops liquid stevia, or to taste
- Pinch of sea salt
- Combine the drained dates, apple, water, lemon juice, and vanilla in a food processor and blend until fairly smooth (it may remain just slightly chunky).
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and blend again until combined.
- Place the shredded carrots in a large bowl. Add the mixture from the food processor and stir well with a wooden spoon to combine.
- Add the coconut flour (if it’s clumpy, sift it in) and stir until the batter is combined and uniform. Taste the batter, and if you think it needs a little more sweetness, add stevia to taste. Set the batter aside for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquid mixture.
- Divide the batter between two 5- or 6-inch round springform pans, pressing it in firmly and evenly, and freeze for 4 hours or refrigerate overnight. (If you only have one pan, you can press half the batter into the pan and freeze it for 2 to 4 hours, placing the bowl with the rest of the batter in the fridge. When the half in the pan has firmed up, remove it to a plate and place it in the fridge. Press the remaining half of the batter into the same pan and freeze for 4 hours or refrigerate overnight.)
- Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing. Combine the drained cashews or macnuts, milk, lemon juice, stevia, and salt in a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth. Taste for sweetness and add additional stevia if desired. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until the cake is chilled and ready to frost.
- When both halves of the cake have firmed up, place one half on a plate or cake stand and frost the top only with the cream cheese icing. Carefully place the other cake half on top, and use the rest of the icing to frost the top and sides of the cake.
- Refrigerate overnight, or until ready to serve. Snugly wrap leftover cake in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Water: coconut water or nondairy milk of choice
Stevia: a splash of your favorite liquid sweetener
Nut-Free Carrot Cake: Top the cake with your favorite vanilla nondairy yogurt or a thin layer of coconut butter (a recipe for homemade coconut butter is provided in Practically Raw Desserts!) in place of the cream cheese icing.
Nutty Carrot Cake: Mix 1/2 cup chopped dry walnuts into the batter.
Polka-Dot Carrot Cake: Mix 1/2 cup soaked raisins into the batter.
Tropical Carrot Cake: Mix 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut into the batter.
Chef’s Tips: To make easy work of all those carrots, shred them in a food processor fitted with the grating disc. To make a larger cake in an 8- to 9-inch springform pan, simply double the recipe. This cake tastes best after overnight (or longer!) refrigeration, and will keep well in the fridge for several days.
What recipes have you made from Practically Raw Desserts so far?
Thank you so much to everyone that has left a 5-star review for the book—you guys rock! Keep ‘em coming.