Carrot cake

A return to some sweet baking was called for this weekend in order to provide a special Mothers day treat. I decided on carrot cake as all the ingredients were already in the cupboards and it may just be my favourite type of cake ever. I was feeling adventurous in that I didn't want to spend any time looking for a recipe and just fancied throwing in what felt right instead. I'm glad I did as now I feel even prouder of my scrumptious creation and I even remembered to write down what was going in as I did it so it doesn't have to be a one time wonder. With my recipe I made enough for two loaf style cakes (one for my mum and one to take to the boyfriend's) although the recipe is easily halved - or if you fancy the ease of making double to freeze one for later I expect that would work well too.

(One appeal of carrot cake for me is that loads of things taste nice in it so sub anything you don't have e.g. dates for something like apricots if you have them instead and voila! a delicious new version)
  • 8 small to medium carrots
  • 2 large cooking apples
  • 12 chopped dates
  • Grated/zested rind of 1 orange
  • 5 handfuls of sultanas
  • Handful of macademias roughly chopped
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 500g flour - I used 250g wholewheat and 250g white
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp mixed spice
  • 300g demerera sugar
  • 200ml oil
  • Equivalent of 4 eggs
    • For this I used 1/2 a cup of blended silken tofu (2 eggs) and 2tbsp oil, 4 tbsp water, 4 tsp baking powder (2 eggs)
  • 100ml soya milk
  • Sprinkling of sugar crystals for top 
Frosting and carrots for top
  • Marzipan and parsley to create the carrot decorations (Could also sprinkle with chopped nuts and orange zest for decoration)
  • Icing sugar, vegan cream cheese and a dash of CremoVita soya cream for frosting (vanilla or orange buttercream frosting without the cream cheese would also be good if you don't have cream cheese, or simply un-iced as my boyfriends mum prefers tastes great too)

1. To get started I peeled and grated the carrots and apple. I took the easy option for this and used my machine. It's amazingly quick and doesn't leave that chunk you either have to eat or waste 'cause it's too small to grate without grating your fingers too and subsequently un veganising your dish. If however you are a more competent grater than me, you'll be fine.

2. I then added this to a large mixing bowl along with the dried fruit and nut ingredients, the orange rind, 2 tsp vanilla and 2 tsp lemon juice.

3. In a separate bowl I mixed the flour, mixed spice, baking powder and baking soda (excluding the baking powder and baking soda used for egg subs) and sugar together.

4. To create the egg subs I blended the tofu using a hand blender as it's too small an amount to work well in the mixer and then in a small jug I whisked together the oil, water and baking powder for the last 2 *eggs*. I've replaced eggs with tofu before in cakes and used regular as opposed to silken tofu as it's all I had. It works a treat so if you have trouble tracking down silken tofu (why do my Sainsbury's try to hide it in ever changing locations?) use whatever you have.

5. These egg replacements were then added to the carrot mix along with the bowl of flour mixture and stirred together adding the oil and then 100ml of soya milk to bring it together to a nice consistency. 100ml was what I needed but if you've used more or less wet fruit add the milk slowly whilst stirring to judge the amount needed.

6. Spoon the mix into lightly greased tins and sprinkle with sugar or sugar crystals (probably not necessary if you're going to ice the cake but this step made the un-iced one look that bit more special on top)

7. Cook for 1 hour at around 150C (I turned it up for a bit to 180C then back down again). I didn't think it was going to take an hour but I timed it to the minute and it did! I'm glad I was patient too as they were cooked to perfection, nicely risen, moist but firm. Keep an eye on it from about 30 mins in, especially if you're using a smaller tin.

8. Let the cakes cool and then remove them from the tins ready for decorating.

9. My decorating was done with a lot of help from little sis Em who whipped up some yum frosting using toffutti cream cheese, icing sugar and a dash of CremoVita soya cream. She was also in charge of the marzipan shaping and made what I believe to be some rather life like freshly pulled carrots complete with parsley tops and a cocoa powder soil dusting. No step by step for this bit as some individual artistic creativity is required. Or not, mine is the *parsnip*. Practice makes perfect though and I shall practice! It didn't help that I was ommiting the icing on mine which might have prettified my carrot slightly. That's a poor excuse I know.

10. If like me your cake if for a special lady on a special day remember to serve it with a bunch of home picked flowers and a handmade card to ensure they share a slice with you :)

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