Welcome Friends with Vegan/Gluten Free Coconut Carrot Cake

8 Aug

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I’m in a super mood today because a) my show opens on Saturday; b) several of my closest friends and collaborators are in town to see it and; c) I just made the above referenced awesome V/GF Coconut Carrot cake as an “afternoon tea” cake to share with my buddy Victor who is already here and John who is set to arrive in mere moments.

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I made this cake recipe up on the fly but it turned out pretty delightful so I’m sharing. I really love the challenge of baking both vegan and gluten-free. I looked at a lot of similar recipes when developing this one and they all called for either eggs (for the non-vegans) or egg replacer or flax seed goop (for the non-animal consumers). I figured the apple sauce would be a perfectly fine binder and, as always, it is. This cake is moist and has a lovely chew without feeling overly dense. The cinnamon and ginger enhance the cake’s overly “carrotyness” and the toasted coconut adds a nice textural counterpoint.

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For additional texture, add the last tree ingredients listed in the recipe. They’re not mandatory but they will definitely make this cake even more delightful. If you have them on hand, toss ’em in. I had none of them BUT I don’t think that adding them would radically change either the texture of the finished product or alter cooking time. If you do add them and find that your batter is a too chunky, just add a little non-dairy milk of choice to thin it out. No big thing.

As for all you nut-heads out there, if you must, you may add crushed walnuts or pecans to your batter. I rarely do this because I find that nuts baked within often put people off. I think the addition of one beautifully toasted pecan on top is perfect because it looks lovely and it also gives the non-nut eaters out there the ability to opt out without forgoing an entire treat.

Carrot Coconut Cake

Cake:

1 cup gluten-free flour blend of choice
1 1/4 cu gluten-free oat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup cooked carrots, mashed (some chunkiness is OK)
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup raw shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup shredded pineapple (VERY WELL DRAINED)

Frosting and garnish:

4 oz vegan cream cheese
4 oz vegan sour cream
4 tbsp maple syrup
3/4 shredded coconut, toasted
15 pecan halves, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 7″x11″ baking pan and set aside. In a bowl, combine flours, spices, and baking powder and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, mashed carrots, apple sauce, and maple syrup. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until just combined. Stir in shredded carrots, coconut and pineapple. Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan.

Allow the cream cheese to soften at room temperature and then combine with sour cream and maple syrup. Turn the cake out onto a cutting board and frost (only when the cake is absolutely, totally cool). Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the frosting so that it covers the cake entirely and then place each pecan half about an inch apart on the cake (see top photo). Pop the cake in the freezer for a couple of minutes until the frosting firms up a bit and then cut into 15 fairly even squares. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!

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