Carrot, Apple & Spice Cakes with Cashew Frosting

28330000_UnknownMade these when we discovered we were about to be invaded by littles for their first Easter egg hunt with us, and then later by strapping, ever-ravenous teenagers always on the prowl for something ‘tasty’ (which is code for sweet!) Giant-sized pan of pasta sauce was on the go at the same time. Chocolate nests were in the freezer, marzipan eggs still to be made.

I’ve never really been a cake fan, but I always loved carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on special occasions. Since becoming vegan, I’ve been on the lookout for a suitable replacement. I found and adapted a recipe for Raw Carrot Cake Bites with CoYo Frosting – So Moreish!  but although I don’t do much baking in the oven, I wanted a recipe we could present to visitors who were less familiar with my raw food lifestyle. I discovered the recipe that inspired these cakes on Sarah Bakes Gluten Free and they worked out so well I made a second batch for another upcoming family visit this week and put them in the freezer.

I altered some of the ingredients, swapping canola oil with coconut oil, coconut palm sugar for the brown and cane sugar and reduced the amount of maple syrup. I used a combination of the flours we had in the cupboards and had no idea if they would work, but they did. I think in the second batch, the chestnut flour was in the majority, but any combination would work. We replaced the vinegar with lemon juice.

I also made my own version of the frosting – I even gave up my precious bar of Raw Chocolate Company Vanoffe Dark Raw Chocolate to grate and sprinkle on top.

Everyone loved them, from the 2 year old via the über-critical teenagers, to the adults.

There are no eggs, butter or gluten in them.

All measurements are approximate, ingredients are organic where possible, the first batch made 12, the second made 14!

Ingredients

1 Cup SR Gluten-free Flour

 1/2 Cup Chestnut Flour

1/2 Cup Cornflour

1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Ground Ginger

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda

Pinch of Salt

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk  (in the second batch we used rice milk and it worked fine)

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

3/4 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar

1 Cup Finely Grated Carrots

1/3 Cup Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup Carrot Juice or Apple Juice

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

Prepare apple sauce and apple/carrot juice if making fresh. I got halfway through the recipe the first time before realising I needed apple sauce! I cooked a dessert apple in a little water or apple juice until soft and allowed it to cool.

Sift all flours, spices and salt together in a bowl.

In a separate large mixing bowl, add the lemon juice to the milk and stir well.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir before slowly mixing in the flours.

The mixture should pour like a batter.

Pour into cases.

Cook at 170C in a fan oven until a fine skewer/wooden toothpick comes out clean, about 15 – 17 minutes in our oven.

28329952_UnknownAllow to cool.

(These cases were a little big,  I used smaller ones for the second batch and the cakes filled them better, they also rose better.

I also decided to try silicone cases next time as the paper ones had a tendency to stick).

Prepare the frosting.

The measurements are very inexact as I just kept adding until the consistency was right.

I began with 4 very heaped tbsps of Coyo Live Plain Coconut Yogurt, 4 Tbsps finely ground Cashews (you could use ground almonds), 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract and 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup.

(You could use a little lemon or orange zest in place of the vanilla if you wanted a different flavouring).

Mix well until it’s firm but spreadable, you don’t want it to pour. Add more nuts if it’s too thin.

Spread onto the cooled cakes.

Grate some raw chocolate and sprinkle on top.

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The second batch looked better, they filled the smaller cases and had more frosting on them, but I forgot to take photos. Nevertheless, the Fairy Cake Queen in the family (my daughter-in-law) gave them the thumbs up, eating three just to be sure!

These kept well in an airtight container in the fridge and will also keep in the freezer – how long, I can’t say, ravenous teenagers and all that!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

 

 

Açaí, Blackberry & Coconut Gelato

imageAçaí, Blackberry and Coconut Gelato
aka
ABC Gelato because it’s easy as! (Can you guess today’s musical clue?)

The hedgerows are covered in blackberries and as I write, the sun has been poking out from behind lowering clouds after a weekend storm, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to repost an easypeasy lemonsqueezy blackberry gelato recipe.

The recipe has 5 ingredients and takes 5 minutes in a food processor. In fact it’s so quick that by the end of today’s music of choice – it can only be ABC by The Jackson Five – you will be serving up a deliciously creamy, fruity gelato and hopefully enjoying it in a sunny garden. (I was going to go for ‘Blackberry Way’ by The Move, but it’s a bit mournful as she’s just left him and it’s raining!)

Açaí Powder is a great source of antioxidants and has a chocolatey/blackberry flavour which works well with the blackberries in this gelato and the Pitch Dark raw chocolate shavings to serve.

 Açaí berries are high in nutrients, and a source of Omega 9 and 6 fatty acids which help reduce bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. They have been a staple fruit for Amazonian tribes for centuries and are reputed to be anti-inflammatory and anti-aging. The Raw Chocolate Company Açaí powder we use is organic and Fairtrade.

Coconut Palm Sugar is guilt-free (no trees are harmed in its production), it is reputed to have a low-glycaemic index (which means it doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar) and looks and tastes similar to brown sugar. It is not overly sweet like refined sugar and maintains a good mineral content.

*NB the blackberries need to be frozen overnight first*
If you are going to serve straightaway, chill the glasses before you start.

As always, all measurements are approximate, especially in this recipe.

Makes enough for a couple of scoops each for about 4 people, depending how much you ‘sampled’ along the way!

You need to work quickly, so have everything measured out and ready before you begin, removing the blackberries from the freezer last of all.

Ingredients:

About 30g Blackberries, washed and frozen, reserve a few for decoration
About 120 mls or 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
1 rounded Tbsp Açaí Powder*
2 rounded Tbsps Coconut Palm Sugar* depending how sweet or tart you like your blackberries/gelato (you may want to grind it a little finer first)
The Raw Company Pitch Dark Raw Chocolate* shavings to decorate

Method

Put the Blackberries, Açaí Powder, Coconut Palm Sugar and 60mls or 1/4 of a Cup of Coconut Milk into the food processor and pulse a few times to break down the blackberries.

Scrape down and add a little more Coconut Milk and process on a low setting for a few seconds. Scrape down. Repeat.
How much more Coconut Milk you use depends on the amount of blackberries etc, but don’t overdo it as the gelato will become thinner as the blackberries defrost.

Don’t overdo the processing, work quickly.
Scoop into chilled glasses, decorate with fresh blackberries and Pitch Dark shavings.

image

Don sunglasses, sit in peaceful sunny garden and savour the flavour! (Ok, I can’t promise sun or a peaceful garden, but the sunglasses will hopefully make you look Cool 😎

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com

Copyright: Chris McGowan