Monday, April 21, 2014

Simply Perfect Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. No one has to know it's Paleo.

So here's my thing with Paleo desserts so far. They're actually pretty good. You don't miss the refined sugar because real maple syrup and/or honey do a fine job providing the sweet. You don't miss the fat because you don't have to worry about using low fat nonsense. But the texture can be tricky. The initial product is often great but gets soggy after a few hours because almond flour is so rich and dense.

This carrot cake changed my tune. It's honestly authentically carrot cake like. Moist and rich, yes. Soggy no. Even my husband had no freaking clue I'd sabotaged a perfectly good Easter tradition with something sans refined sugar, flour or weird preservatives. And he's a PICKY dessert eater. Like crazy picky.

Anyway I know I just shared the oh so exciting news that my baby is over his dairy issues and therefore I could have gone ahead with a traditional full fledged carrot cake recipe with loads of butter, flour and sugar but honestly I think I'll have a hard time doing that sort of recipe unless it's a holiday from now on. Okay fine - Easter is most definitely a holiday - if not the mother of them actually but I mean a more fun holiday. Like Halloween or Christmas which is just a lovely excuse to eat badly (awesomely) for a month. You know what I mean.

Anyway if you're curious about Paleo or just want to try something a little different with your baking experiments I heartily recommend this recipe. Obviously not calorie free but undoubtedly better for your than the old school version.

Simply Perfect Carrot Cake
*slightly altered from the recipe by She Cooks He Cleans

small amount of butter or coconut oil for buttering pans
small amount of coconut flour for dusting pans
1/2 cup walnut or grape seed oil
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
5 eggs, room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups blanched almond flour (I use WellBee)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I use fresh ground)
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I use Let's Do Organic)
3 cups shredded carrots (preferably organic)
3/4 cups raisins (preferably golden) or chopped dates or even dried pineapple
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans or even slivered almonds
Zest of a medium orange, optional

Preheat oven to 325F (I used convection bake.)  Line two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with parchment paper and butter bottom and sides with either butter or coconut oil. Lightly dust with coconut flour and tap out excess in the sink.
Using electric mixer,  beat oil, palm sugar, and honey until well mixed.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well between eggs. Mix in vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, mix together almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and shredded coconut.  With mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.  When it has all been added, beat until well blended.  Stir in carrots, raisins, toasted walnuts and orange zest if using.
Divide batter between cake pans.  Bake at 325 for 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes.  Run a small knife around the edge of the pans to loosen the cakes, then invert carefully on a cooling rack; cool completely.

Maple Cream Cheese Icing (*some additions NOT Paleo, but optional - I also use more sweetener than original recipe called for as I found it not sweet enough but feel free to start with 1/4 cup maple syrup and adjust accordingly)

2 (8 oz) packages organic cream cheese, room temp
1 stick salted organic butter, room temp
*1 tablespoon orange liquor
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
small pinch kosher salt or sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons honey or 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar, or to taste, OPTIONAL

3/4-1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened) for decorating, optional OR chopped toasted nuts

Cream together cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer.  Add liquor if using, vanilla extract and pinch salt and mix well. Gradually add maple syrup and beat until well-combined and fluffy. Taste for sweetness then mix in additional honey or palm sugar if desired (palm sugar will dissolve into icing if mixed long enough.)
Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on cake platter.  Spread approximately 1 cup of frosting over the layer.  Top with the second cake layer, flat side down.  Spread remaining frosting over the top and sides of cake.  Top with coconut or chopped nuts (optional). Refrigerate, if possible (I don't.) Serve at room temperature.


Velva said...

THis is a great recipe for using alternative flours. Love it. Thanks for sharing it.

Happy spring!


Jennifer Hicks said...

Looks and sounds great.

lisaiscooking said...

I love, love carrot cake! The maple cream cheese icing sounds fantastic.