Raw Vegan Carrot Cake

I'm a baker at heart. I love cookies, cupcakes, pies...any kind of a project requiring an oven, I am up for trying. But I also like to play with my food, trying new methods. Many baked goods are unhealthy, as so many are just loaded with sugar and fat. There's nothing wrong with a bonafide treat every now and again, but if you can make a favorite taste great and be healthy, why not try it? I am still amazed at how wonderful cauliflower and spaghetti squash pizza crusts are. If you're anything like me and track your caloric intake, you can immediately recognize the big difference between a vegetable based crust and and your standard dough version.


A friend sent over some raw cake ideas last week, and a few sounded pretty interesting. It wasn't until I was hit with a big sweet craving that I decided to make something that wouldn't wreck my diet. Not only did I not have to bake this, but it was filled with healthy snacks. Yes, please.

I'm no stranger to carrot cake, having made what I considered the absolute best Carrot Cupcakes ever a while back. But in the desire to grow as a baker, I went for something new and hopped in on this unique, non-baked version. I took several liberties from the original recipe, using my own choice in various dried fruits over figs, and coming up with a new frosting. The basic dry ingredient was oat flour, and I stuck with that. So, I took some oats and dumped them into my food processor. (I would like to note the coolness of this food processor - this was my grandmother's for YEARS, and I inherited it after she passed away. I am so honored to use something my amazing grandmother, the queen of baked goods, considered worth keeping!)


I let the chopper run for about 3-5 minutes, until what I had looked like the consistency of flour. And voila, oat flour.


Now for the really challenging part: throwing things into a food processor and blending them together. This may be my toughest recipe yet. </end sarcasm>

I peeled 2 carrots and chopped them into hunks, then added some canned pineapple, dried apricots, golden raisins, and cranberries, some sweetened coconut (I had no unsweetened on hand - but note this is the only sweetener used in this cake), cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. That's right, NO eggs, NO butter, and NO extra sugar!


I yet again pressed the button to blend the mixture together, letting it run for 2-3 minutes. I knew it was ready when the mixture began to form into a ball in the food processor, similar to how dough works. That was the big hint that it was sticky enough to hold together.


Then I took about 1/4 of the mixture, formed it into a ball, then used wax paper to flatten it out on a plate. It resembled a big ol' cookie.


I then spooned some frosting on the top and stuck it in the fridge for a few minutes to solidify. I made a Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting rather than using the cashew one in the original post, as I had no cashews readily available and really wanted that cream cheese taste.


I followed the same steps with the wax paper to make another layer and set  it on top of the frosting, then added some more frosting and a few coconut shavings to finish it off. And the healthiest carrot cake I've ever had was born. I should note that I was able to make 2 mini cakes (about 4-5 inches in diameter) with one batch.


I was floored when I tried this. I half expected the cake part of this to taste like a granola bar, but the carrots and pineapple gave it a real carrot cake-like flavor. It was moist and easy to chew - not gummy like a granola bar can be. The frosting was a great idea, as I never would have imagined how well Greek yogurt and cream cheese went together, and the combo really made this taste like a carrot cake. I still can't believe this thing was totally raw and vegan. Are vegan foods allowed to taste that good? I have been surprised before (see Vegan and Gluten Free Snickerdoodles), but this...this was something I will be happy to make again and share with anyone willing to try it. Oats, dried fruit, and a food processor. Sounds like quite the sitcom.

Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups oats (or 1 1/2 cups oat flour)
2 carrots , peeled
1/4 cups pineapple chunks (I used canned)
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried coconut
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash ginger

Recipe for Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

Instructions:

Add oats to a food processor and blend for 3-5 minutes until oats are powdered in consistency. Cut carrots into small chunks and add to food processor bowl. Add pineapple, apricots, raisins, coconut, cranberries, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Blend until well combined.

inspired by raw vegan carrot cake with creamy cashew lemon frosting

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