13 Apr Carrot Cake Val’s Way
I LOVE this recipe! It’s carrot cake, only reinvented to be as all natural and “clean” as possible without losing its “hey, I’m seriously carrot cake” appeal. Picture moist (hate that word, but it is necessary here!!) buttery cake studded with carrots and raisins and just the right amount of sweetness, topped with a cloud of vanilla maple mascarpone cheese. Like I said- serious carrot cake appeal. Only richer, more real and better for you. Plus it’s super easy to put together (dump dry ingredients into wet ingredients, bake and frost!)
I swapped processed white flour and white sugar for almond flour, gluten free flour, pure maple syrup and coconut sugar (all ingredients you can find at your local market.) I also nixed the processed cream cheese and white sugar filled frosting for pure mascarpone cheese (an all-natural sweet Italian cream cheese found at your local market) and just a touch of pure maple syrup and vanilla. You know me- I only eat dairy on occasion, but to me this is an occasion cake so I’m cool with the butter and mascarpone. If you want to enjoy this cake dairy free, swap the butter for coconut oil (I would reduce the amount to 1 1/2 cups if using coconut oil) and use my Vanilla Coconut Crème (double the recipe) in place of the mascarpone frosting.
And though this cake is certainly NOT low in fat (it’s cake people!), I’m guessing if you’re eating carrot cake, it’s a special occasion so a little indulgence is good for you once in a while! But feel free to reduce the butter- it will still taste awesome. And you can certainly avoiding dumping heap loads of frosting on like I did and use only 2 containers of mascarpone cheese instead of 3!
This recipe is also versatile. The ingredients below will yield a round two layer occasion cake perfect for your next party. But you can easily cut the ingredients in half and bake a mini cake in a 9 X 9 inch square baking pan too (as pictured.) Love this recipe? Please share it via the social media links below!
Carrot Cake Val’s Way
Makes 1 round (2 layer) occasion cake that will feed about 10 to 12 people depending on how big the slices are (or see note above about cutting the recipe in half!)
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CAKE:
- All natural cooking spray
- 4 whole eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 cup pure maple syrup, not the artificial stuff
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (find in the baking aisle at most supermarkets or places like Whole Foods)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
- 2 sticks of butter, melted
- fresh juice from ½ an orange
- ½ heaping teaspoon orange zest (optional but really easy- google how to zest if you don’t know how)
- 5 medium sized carrots, peeled and grated on a cheese grater like shredded cheese
- 1 cup raisins (optional)
- 2 cups lightly packed almond flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill Finely Ground Almond Flour- the kind that you can see the dark specks of almonds)
- 1 cup Namaste All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (or any all purpose gluten free flour designed for baking- I don’t like Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose flour for this and prefer Namaste brand)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten free)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- A big pinch of nutmeg
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FROSTING:
- 3 containers of mascarpone cheese (8 ounce containers- find in the specialty cheese section or the cream cheese section at your local market)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided (you’re going to add one tablespoon at a time)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Chopped walnuts or chopped shelled pistachios, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the rack in the middle of the oven. Spray 2 round cake pans or 1 square 9 by 9 inch glass pan with the cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the next 9 ingredients listed after the cooking spray (eggs through raisins.) Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the next 6 ingredients (almond flour through nutmeg.)
- Pour ½ of the almond flour mixture into the big bowl of wet ingredients and stir just until combined, making sure to scrape the edges of the bowl. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir, making sure to only stir until combined (you don’t want to over-mix.)
- Pour batter into the cake pans. Bake for approximately 23 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Place cake in pans on a wire rack (if you have one) and let cool.
- While the cake bakes, add the mascarpone cheese to a bowl. With a spoon, stir in vanilla extract and one tablespoon of pure maple syrup at a time until you get a creamy frosting consistency (go slow or it will turn to liquid! And you may only need 3 tablespoons).
- Once cake is completely cool, run a butter knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Carefully flip the cake in pan over onto a large serving plate and give it a very gentle shake to remove it from the pan. If necessary, carefully run a spatula under the cake to help it loosen. Add a thick layer of the mascarpone frosting on top. Remove the second cake from the pan and place on top of the frosted cake. Frost the remaining of the cake. Top with chopped walnuts if you’d like. I also like to cut the bottom tips off of a large, peeled carrot (or even pretty rainbow carrots), slice it in half lengthwise to form 2 mini carrots and place them in the center of the cake with 2 parsley leafs as the stem (#culinarygeek) Enjoy!!
SO, WHAT’S THE NUTRITION BALANCE?
Umm it’s cake. And more than that it’s likely a special occasion cake. That being said this recipe is mostly fat and carbs (though certainly less carbs/ sugar than traditional carrot cake.) Here’s how I’d play it. If it’s a special occasion, just eat the cake and enjoy it! My guess is you’ll notice that you won’t feel nearly the sugar high and crash that you normally would with a traditional carrot cake! If you want to enjoy this cake while keeping your blood sugar a little more balanced, have a meal of lean protein like chicken or shrimp and a light carbohydrate like broccoli for example. Then follow up the meal with a slice of the carrot cake. The protein from the chicken will help to balance the carbs and fat from the cake (the broccoli is just there to make it more like a meal.) #eatcakeonceinawhile 🙂