good-for-you carrot cake

There they were, bright orange, their knobby little fingers waving excitedly at the crowds of people mulling around the Sunday farmers market. I studied them closely and noticed that they were not too short, not stubby, not too hard, not stringy – just slender enough to enjoy a good crunching-down. The deep red-orange hues within their waxy skin suggested favorable sweetness. I never really had a choice, as when I picked them up by their green bushy stems, they squealed in delight. How much? I asked the burly guy behind the counter. We exchanged some green paper, nodded heads, traded smiles, and the deal was made. The carrots were coming home.

Mom loves carrot cake. She has been asking me to make one for eons, yet somehow the carrots were never bought, the recipe never manifested, the cake remained unbaked. That is, until her this year on her birthday.FullSizeRender

Jumping at the opportunity to bake something new and special, (thanks to the encouragement from the farmer’s market), I got into carrot-cake mode. With only a few hours to spare, I rolled up my sleeves, racked my brain for inspiration, and baked under the stars, up into the wee hours of the morning. I emerged victorious with flour in my hair and cake batter on my sleeves.

Naturally, Mom discovered the mysterious parcel in the fridge almost instantaneously the next morning. Darn. At least she was surprised when all of her friends walked in for the party!

What do you mean good-for-you carrot cake?FullSizeRender_1

By good-for-you, I mean this cake has nothing artificial – just beautiful vegetables, delicious spices, fresh cream, and what they call “clean” ingredients that feel so good in your tummy. This cake is free of white, all-purpose flour and made without processed sugar. Instead, it relies on whole-wheat pastry flour and natural sugars, such as honey and pure maple syrup. Cake for breakfast anyone?

And…why?

I value the beauty of natural, wholesome, non-processed ingredients. They feel better in my body and really do make a difference inside for me personally. After living in India for two years, where there was no convenience of the grocery store, and there was no such thing as leftovers (the power went out too often to rely on the fridge), I have been transformed. The goodness of fresh, whole-foods is beautiful and amazing! More clean recipes to come soon.

Okay so tell me more…I want the recipe please!

The cake recipe is below, and thank you Food.com for featuring my photo on their site for this recipe!

Recipe: good-for-you carrot cake

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Summary: Absolutely delicious spiced carrot cake, studded with walnuts, filled with a tangy yogurt, cream cheese filling, and topped with fresh maple whipped cream. It will leave you wanting more, and more, and more!

Whole-wheat carrot cake recipe

Cake recipe adapted from Food.com’s Fantabulous Whole Wheat Carrot Cake.

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove
  • 1⁄4 cup light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I made fresh and it was awesome!)
  • 3⁄4 cup honey
  • 4 fresh eggs
  • 2 cups peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 cup unsweetened crushed canned pineapple, drained
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine oil, applesauce honey, and eggs. Mix well.
  3. Dry meets wet! Gradually incorporate dry ingredients into the wet mixture. You don’t have to use an electric mixer here – an old-fashioned spoon will do.
  4. Stir in carrots, pineapple, and walnuts, until just combined. You do not want to over-mix.
  5. For a two-tiered layer cake, bake in two greased 9-inch cake pans. For a one-layer sheet cake, bake in a 9×13 pan. This cake is ready after approximately 35 minutes, when the top is golden brown, it passes the toothpick test, and a delicious smell fills the kitchen.
  6. Cool completely before filling and icing.

*I learned that carrot cake freezes extremely well. Mom loved it so much that we hid half of this cake in the freezer – one month later, it is still delicious.

Greek Yogurt – Cream Cheese Filling

Thank you to Texinerin’s icing for inspiration.

  • 1 7oz container Fage 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese (I like Organic Valley)
  • 1/2 cup honey (plus or minus to your taste-buds)
  1.  Mix all ingredients together using an electric mixer, until well combined. If you want a sweeter filling, be generous with the honey. Keep in fridge until use.

Stabilized* Maple Whipped Cream Icing

Thank you to the Praire Homestead for advice!

  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 6 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  1.  Follow the instructions on the gelatin package to make the gelatin. I used the microwave method, which involved sprinkling the gelatin into water, letting it stand for a minute, and then microwaving it for about 30 seconds. Set aside.
  2. Whip cold cream with vanilla and maple syrup for 5-7 minutes using an electric mixer or 3-4 minutes in a food processor until soft peaks start to form.
  3. Add gelatin mixture and whip until mixture becomes nice and stiff. If you whip past this threshold, you are on your way to butter! Use immediately, so that the gelatin does not misbehave.

*Usually, whipped cream icing tends to melt as time passes. However, stabilized whip cream icing, with the help of gelatin, will hold it’s shape on the cake without melting.  If you do not need your icing to be stable, omit gelatin and water.

Decorating tips.

I followed this tutorial from Wicked Goodies to write on the cake with melted semi-sweet chocolate. It turned out really well!FullSizeRender

Let me know if you have any questions, and happy baking.

Much love,

More later,

SONIA

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