While searching for a healthier alternative to my favorite treat, I stumbled upon a recipe by one of my favorite bloggers, The Unconventional Baker, and decided to adapt it to create my perfect carrot cake. Classic carrot cake tends to be full of refined sugar and cream cheese, and while tasty, we all know these ingredients aren’t doing our bodies any favors. While not sugar free, this version is definitely a step up nutritionally from conventional varieties out there. Carrots and apple add nutrients, and cashew cream frosting stands in nicely for the traditional cream cheese version.
Also! It’s easy to modify this recipe for canine consumption. It just so happened to be my best pal Brody’s 9th birthday, so I doubled the cake recipe to celebrate. Make sure to omit the maple syrup and frosting if you decide to feed this to your pup!
My Perfect Carrot Cake (inspired by The Unconventional Baker)
1 ¼ cups gf flour mix (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
dash of salt
1½ t cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
1 cup maple syrup or honey
1 blended or grated apple, including skin
1 T lemon juice
2 cups finely grated organic carrots (takes about 10 medium carrots)
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup walnuts
coconut oil, for greasing the baking pan
Cashew Frosting Ingredients:
1½ cups cashews, soaked (We recommend soaking all nuts to remove enzyme inhibitors and neutralize phytic acid. See a guide for soaking here. If you don’t have time, you can quick-soak them. See instructions below).
⅓ cup coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup or honey
¼ cup liquid coconut oil
T lemon juice, at room temperature
2 t vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl.
3. Prep the carrots. Grate them by hand, in a food processor, or pulse in a blender for about 10 to 20 seconds.
4. Combine maple syrup, apple, carrots and lemon juice, then mix with dry ingredients. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts. I generally use my hands to spread a teaspoon of coconut oil on the pan, but using a bit of wax paper to spread the oil will do the trick, too!
5. Pop that baby in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
1. For cashews: To quick-soak, cover cashews with boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes. Note that quick-soaking will give the desired texture, but does not offer the same nutritional benefits as a longer soak.
2. Drain and transfer cashews to a blender, then add remaining frosting ingredients. Add more milk for a smoother, thinner texture, if needed.
Once the cake has completely cooled, spread the frosting over the top. Sprinkle with extra walnuts and place the cake in the fridge for at least an hour until the frosting sets.