We all have our own favorite carrot cake recipe, but now you’ll have a new one:)  I made this for a crowd at the St. Helena Farmers’ market and it was a huge hit.  Super moist and rich, yet light.  The recipe comes from Fran Costigan’s “More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts, Naturally which has an abundance of healthful sweets that are not only delicious, but also vegan.

Carrots are in season year-round and a staple at farmers’ markets.  They are quite versatile in everything from soups and salads, to stir-fries and curries.  And of course one of their most popular uses is in the form of juice which packs a nutritional punch right to the bloodstream.

In addition to the obvious vitamin A/vision benefits, carrots offer a range of other health properties. They are said to cleanse the intestines and to be diuretic, while remineralizing as an overall tonic. Carrots are rich in alkaline elements which purify and revitalize the blood. They nourish the entire system and help in the maintenance of acid-alkaline balance in the body. Raw grated carrot can be applied as a compress to burns for a soothing effect. Its highly energizing juice has a particularly beneficial effect on the liver which is why is is often used as a cleansing food. Carrots also help regulate blood pressure and reduce cholesterol through its high fiber content.

So many easy ways to incorporate carrots into the diet mean more bennies for the body.  And what better way to ‘treat’ ourselves to health than through dessert.  That’s my justification, anyway:)

“24 Karat” Cake – Makes one 9×13 sheet or two 8″ rounds/8-10 servings

Fran’s recipe makes the 2 rounds but I like to have more cake than frosting.  I used my own favorite cashew cream frosting, but she has other frosting recipes in her book, plus cookies and pies and… just see for yourselves!

½ cup organic raisins
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups whole wheat or your favorite gluten-free flour blend
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¾ cup maple syrup
½ cup almond or rice milk
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. orange extract
2 cups shredded carrots or carrot pulp from juice extractor, firmly packed (see other uses for carrot pulp)

Cashew Frosting
2 cups raw cashews
4-5 TB maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 and oil a 9×13 baking dish.
Soak raisins in orange juice for 10 minutes, or until plump.  Drain, reserve juice.
Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl.
In another bowl, whisk oil, syrup, milk, vinegar, extracts and 2 TB of orange juice until well blended.
Pour wet into dry mixture and stir until batter is smooth.   Add carrots and raisins with rubber spatula.
Spread batter into prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes.  Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Take butter knife around edges to loosen cake and invert onto rack for further cooling.  Make sure it is completely cool before frosting.

Cover cashews in medium bowl with 4 cups water.  Soak for at least 20 minutes.  Drain and put cashews into high-speed blender.  Add syrup, vanilla and salt and blend until creamy (at least 2 minutes.)  You might need to add about ¼-1/2 cup water to get the right consistency (it will thicken in fridge.)


The Best Carrot Cake Ever — 18 Comments

  1. Looks (and reads) scrumpdiddlyumptious!

    Love the nutrition notes and the image of the rations for your farmers’ market army 😉

  2. I love what you did with the cashews for frosting. And I’m with you. More cake than frosting is my preference.

    Great nutrition notes too!
    Thanks for the post !

  3. Oooooh, wonderful! Thank you for reminding me of this recipe! I have Fran’s book and have yet to try this recipe. I think it’s time… Your cashew frosting sounds marvellous.
    Kris´s last blog post ..The Big MoveMy Profile

  4. I just made this cake with the cashew frosting and am so happy I did! I was not sure how the frosting was going to go but it is amazing! I had to change a few things due to what I had on hand. I used vanilla hemp milk instead of rice/soy milk and agave nector instead of maple syrup. So yummy I kept sneaking bites later!

  5. Oh my! I just juiced 10lbs. of carrots and needed to do something with all the pulp.
    These are AMAZING! They are moist and delicious even w/o the frosting.

  6. Yay! So glad this was useful…it truly is my favorite carrot cake and I do agree that it’s fine without frosting, too!

  7. That’s the great thing about using alternative milks and sweeteners…you can mix and match. So glad this was a hit and thanks for sharing your comments.

  8. Hi Karen, I was glad to find your blog post about my favorite Carrot Cake. I don’t promote carrots in desserts as vegetable — as you pointed out. One of my truths if you will is that Chocolate Is a Bean but it is not a salad. This 24 Carrot Cake is oneof my first- just happens to be vegan cakes and still one of my favs. I actually had not thought to use pulp instead of freshly grated carrot but will now. Your readers can find more recipes on my blog and in Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy Free Desserts.

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