by Buffy Ellen
This week's recipe pays homage to the humble yet healthy carrot. You've no doubt devoured a few slices of carrot cake in your time, probably topped with some addictively sweet cream cheese icing on top. This version is much healthier, and a great opportunity to sneak a few extra vegetables into you and your family's diet. What's more, carrots are conveniently affordable year round, even the organic kind.
You may have noticed by now that most of my recipes highlight a certain plant-based whole food or two. There seem to be so many other recipe books and blogs out there that show people how to cook with meat, dairy and eggs. In fact I'm often somewhat horrified to flick through the latest magazine to find their suggested 'healthy' menu features meat, dairy and eggs in every single meal (including breakfast). Despite the fact that we're eating 50% more meat and 31% more dairy products than our parents did only 50 years ago, and yet have dramatically higher rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disease and cancer.
For me, the future health of our communities, animals and the environment is all about the plants. Plant-based organic wholefoods truly are the keys to long term health and longevity. So what I love doing is to pick a certain plant-based whole food each week, and show you how to create an easy, healthy recipe, that really elevates that plant and shows you its health benefits. From the fanciest of superfoods right down to the humblest of carrots. Of course its pretty darn important that we get a fabulous result in the taste stakes too.
Carrot cake is such a classic recipe, and one of my childhood favourites. Traditional recipes however call for butter, dairy milk, eggs, white sugar, and refined white flour. So I've turned it on its head this week and replaced those ingredients with cold-pressed macadamia nut oil, plant-based milk, medjoul dates, wholemeal unrefined organic spelt flour (great for people with gluten sensitivities), and a small amount of low GI coconut nectar.
Then there's the icing. Oh the icing. You could make this cake without it if you were pushed for time, and it's delicious simply served with a dollop of my Coconut Cashew Chia Cream. However the icing really takes it to the next level. Once you've tried it you'll agree it's better than any regular cream cheese icing, you just need a good blender to get a super smooth and creamy result.
So what's my favourite way to serve this cake? Sliced on a plate with some finely diced fresh pear, a blob of coconut yoghurt or cream, and a sprinkling of extra pumpkin seeds or walnuts. The freshness of the pear pairs perfectly with the subtlety spiced flavours of the cake. The perfect healthy treat to whip out at your next celebration or pot luck.
It keeps well on the bench for up to 4 days (cover with a large glass bowl so it's not exposed to air), or in the fridge for up to a week. You can also freeze it for up to a month in a sealed container (slice before freezing so you can pull out the number of slices you want as you go). I think this cake actually tastes better the day or two after you make it, as the flavours have had a chance to infuse and the texture of both the cake and icing firms.
So get your pinny out this Sunday and have a go at making this delicious cake. My partner even commented 'this is seriously the best cake I've ever tasted'. Hooray. If you'd like to share your delicious healthy carrot cake creations with the world, head over to Instagram and tag @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics so I can come say hello and admire your beauties. Meanwhile I'm wishing you a wonderfully relaxing Sunday.
PS For a nut free version use soy milk, sunflower oil, and pumpkin seeds. Or if you'd like to try a completely Raw Carrot Cake instead (gluten free and paleo friendly), check out my previous recipe here.
Serves 8-10 people (makes a 19cm cake)
All of the highlighted items below can be ordered directly from our online store, simply click each ingredient link then add them to your cart
Always use certified organic, local and fairly traded ingredients wherever possible
Wet2/3c plant-based milk (soy, oat, rice or nut) 1/4c macadamia oil (or sunflower oil or a very mild olive oil)1/3c coconut nectar 1tsp vanilla extract
Dry 2c wholemeal spelt flour 3tsp baking powder 1 tsp cinnamon1/4tsp sea salt
Fold-Ins 2c carrots (grated and densely packed)1/3c medjoul dates (chopped, or sultanas)1/2c walnuts (chopped, or pumpkin seeds) Zest of one large orange
Cream Cheese Icing1c raw cashews (soaked 2-3 hours, rinsed and drained)1/4c water1/2 lemon (juice and zest)2tbsp coconut nectar1/3c + 1 Tbsp coconut oil (melted) pinch sea salt
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon
PS If you liked this recipe, feel free to share it on Facebook (hit the like button below), Pinterest (hover over any of the images and click Pin It), Instagram or Twitter.
Sources:United Nations - Food and Agriculture Organisation
Buffy is the founder of Be Good Organics, and loves creating delicious yet simple plant-based whole foods recipes.
Buffy also oversees our Be Good Organics online store, full of plant based goodies that she personally uses and loves. Sign up for our newsletter below to be the first to receive her weekly recipes.
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I'm Buffy, a food obsessed nutrition nerd, former financial research analyst and investment banker, and now - full time blogger, nutritionist and soon to be naturopath. I live in Auckland, New Zealand with my partner Tony, our two cats Zeus and Luna, and our cute-as-pie little girl Mila. Can't wait to share some healthy recipes with you! READ MORE HERE...
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