Vegan carrot cake with cashew frosting
Vegan carrot cake with cashew frosting
I’ve conquered one of my ‘fears’ today and finally tackled a proper, adult-size cake 🙂 . My layer-cake phobia hasn’t exactly been diagnosed, but I am somehow way more comfortable making small, minified desserts like cupcakes, tartlets, chocolate cups and building a big ass cake terrifies me slightly (or used to).
There was definitely an element of self-preservation in all this reluctance to ‘go big’ as individual desserts are more portable and easier to give away and, given my predilection for sweet stuff, I should not be left alone with a massive layer cake within sight 😉 .
With the festive period coming up, however, and seeing that a layered cake looks so much more impressive as a centrepiece, I decided to bite the bullet and made a layered gluten-free vegan carrot cake based on this recipe of mine that so many of you love.
As I’m not too keen on margarine frosting, I frosted it with an oil-free ‘buttercream’ made from raw cashews, but if you can find a good vegan butter where you live, you could make a standard buttercream frosting instead. Whatever works best for you. Now that I’ve broken the ice, I have a few other cake ideas floating around in my head and so expect more cake wizardry from me soon 😉 .
- 300 g / 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 180 ml / ¾ cup coconut cream (separated from a tin of coconut milk)
- juice of ½ lime or lemon, adjust to taste
- 120 ml / ½ cup maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- 4 tsp agar flakes activated in 90 ml / 6 tbsp water
- chopped hazelnuts, for decoration
- 180 g / 1½ cups (packed!) carrots, coarsely grated
- 180 g / 1 cup demerara sugar
- 210 ml / ¾ cup + 1/8 cup apple sauce*
- 120 ml / ½ cup olive oil
- 1½ chia (or flax) egg
- 180 g / 1½ cups buckwheat flour
- 60 g / ¼ cup + 1/8 cup rice flour
- 15 g / 2 tbsp cornflour / cornstarch
- 1 level tsp baking soda
- 1 level tsp GF baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
CASHEW ‘BUTTERCREAM’ (make it a day ahead if you can!)
- Drain and rinse soaked cashews. Chop them roughly and divide them into 4 portions (this isn’t necessary if you are using a Vitamix or an equally powerful blender).
- Put the first portion of the chopped cashews into a blender with all of the coconut cream and maple syrup. Process until smooth, add the second portion of cashews and again, process until smooth. Continue in the same manner until you’ve used up all of the cashews.
- Add vanilla seeds and season with lime or lemon juice to taste. If using a blender that isn’t as powerful as a Vitamix or a Blendtec, make small circles on the surface of the mixture (in the direction of the turning blades) with a spatula. Don’t dip the spatula in too deep as you don’t want to accidentally touch the turning blades. This simple trick will help your blender process the heavy mixture by preventing air pockets from forming under the mixture’s surface.
- Activate 4 tsp of agar flakes (equivalent to 1 and 1/3 tsp of agar powder) in 90 ml / 6 tbsp water. Make sure you simmer the mixture (stirring frequently) for about 10-15 minutes until the flakes almost dissolve or otherwise the agar will not work. Pour activated agar into the cashew mixture and blend well. Place the mixture in the fridge for a while (or overnight if you can) to thicken.
- Set the oven to 175° C. Grease two 16.5 cm / 6.5 in cake pans with a little olive oil. If you only have one springform tin of that size, grease it instead.
- Prepare chia (or flax) eggs (you’ll need 1½ portions) as per the instructions here.
- In a bowl mix together all wet ingredients. In another bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.
- Slowly tip the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and incorporate everything together. Since this is a gluten-free batter, you do not need to worry about overmixing, so mix everything really well.
- Divide the batter evenly between two cake pans. If you only have one springform tin, measure out half of the batter and place it in the tin. Bake, on the middle shelf, for about 45 mins. It’s done when a toothpick comes out fairly clean. Once the first cake finishes baking, place the second one in the oven and bake for the same amount of time. I don’t recommend baking both cakes at once as you may end up with uneven results. If using a single springform tin, let the first cake cool down, remove it gently from the tin, clean the tin, grease it and fill with the second half of the batter. Bake for approx. 45 min or until a toothpick comes out fairly clean.
- Allow both cakes to cool down completely. Trim the top of one of the cakes with a serrated knife so that the top cake sits better on top.
- Put a generous layer of cashew frosting on top of the first cake. Place the second cake on top and frost the top cake and the sides (optional) with more cream.
- Decorate with chopped hazelnuts, orange zest and cinnamon.
*To make an apple sauce, peel, core and chop 4 not very sweet apples (I used Granny Smith). Put them in a pot with a cup of water and simmer covered until soft and falling apart. Blend in a blender to get a smooth sauce.
Thank you so much in advance for your response and also for sharing incredible recipes!!!
Thank you, I hope you'll enjoy it. I assume you are referring to the frosting? Unfortunately, you won't be able to achieve the correct texture with a hand held blender, I'm afraid. You need the upright one for the cashews to get silky smooth. Ania
The carrot cake was sublime! I subbed the apple puree for unsweetened tinned pineapple and added 1/3 cup of walnuts.
I made the frosting in a blender with 250g tofu, 150g of soaked cashews, 1/4 cup of soaked green buckwheat (it works a treat!), juice of 2 lemons, 2 tsp honey and vanilla.
This is worth a try as it looks good.
Powder is 3 times as powerful as flakes according to the Internet. You could also try this frosting instead - I simplified it a lot since that other recipe. Good luck! Ania
Gonna make your buttercream everytime now when I need a frosting for cake hehe, thanks a lot 🐣
I'm making this for a birthday cake today. Can I use coconut yoghurt instead of cream do you think?? Thanks so much.
Do you mean instead of making buttercream or adding it to the buttercream instead of coconut cream? If the first, I think so but you will probably need to sweeten it a touch with icing sugar (to keep it thick) and reinforce with a touch of tapioca starch or corn starch for the same reason. I am also assuming you are talking about a really thick yoghurt like Coyo, for example. If you mean the latter, yes, I also think it should work fine. In fact, if you want a similar but less fussy recipe that doesn't use agar agar, I've simplified it recently for my pumpkin cake (link here). Hope that helps and I hope the cake will go down well! Ania
Just wondering if the chia seeds are supposed to be measured in cup or spoon?
The recipe calls for a chia egg, which is 1 tbsp ground up chia seeds mixed in with 3 tbsp of water (if you want more info please click on the link within recipe ingredients). Hope that helps! Ania
Thank you for your answer.
To make it with all-purpose flour simply use 240 g (2 cups) of flour. Hope that helps and that you'll enjoy it. Ania
Yes, you can sub buckwheat, rice and corn flour with all purpose flour, but I would refrain from using self-raising flour as it already has some baking powder in it, but the amount of baking powder differs per brand so it will be difficult to know how much extra baking powder is needed. And yes, chopped walnuts in the batter should be fine - just be very gentle when mixing the batter and folding your walnuts in as overmixing will result in gluten activation and a though cake. Hope that helps and let me know how you got on! Ania
I've never used it as I cannot get it here, but I don't see why not. Just follow the instructions on the packet (I'm not sure it needs activation in the same way the flakes do) and use 1/3 of the amount of agar flakes, I would use 1 heaped teaspoon in this instance. Hope that helps! Ania
Not sure what you mean by 'regular size' cake, but if you mean 2lb/1kg tin, use this recipe instead https://www.lazycatkitchen.com/vegan-carrot-loaf-cashew-frosting/. Hope that answers your question, let me know if not! Ania
Ania, do you use in all your recipes raw buckwheat flour or already roasted one ( 'kasha')?
I absolutely love your recipes. How's the little kitten?:)
I would very much like to do this carrot cake tomorrow (bet it'll take me all day :)) and there is absolutely no way I can get agar agar till then. Can I replace it with something else or just leave it out? Would that be safe for the well-being of the whole masterpiece?
So nice to hear that you follow the blog and our kitten story. Lupo is great, super energetic and always hungry, especially in the middle of the night ;) She is soooo incredibly cute though that we forgive her everything :) Cats, eh?
As for the cake, agar is pretty crucial, I'm afraid as it thickens the cream which would otherwise slide off the cake. If you have a powerful blender you can try making the cream with less coconut cream (liquid), chill it and see how it holds up. It will probably be suitable to frost the top of the cake but not sturdy enough to go in the middle as the weight of the top layer would push it out. Otherwise, you could find a decent margarine or vegan butter and make a simple ice sugar frosting instead.
Hope that helps,
I still need to conquer a big beautiful layer cake too! Never even tried yet :P