Hi Guys. Happy National Carrot Cake Day!
Well it was officially yesterday, so I guess I’m a little late for the party. I’d say that I’m fashionably late, but if you know me you’ll know the fashion part isn’t really all that accurate. (he he)
We don’t observe Carrot Cake Day here in Canada, technically, as it’s a U.S-based ‘holiday’ (well, not a ‘real’ holiday– at least I don’t think?), but I like the idea of supporting our American friends by celebrating ‘Carrot Cake Day’ with them over a slice of this delicious dessert.
Who’s with me?
As ya’ll probably know, I’m an extreme chocoholic, but I do love me a piece of carrot cake every now and then (yep, even though it doesn’t contain chocolate).
Apparently carrot cake—or some version of it, anyway—has been around since the Middle Ages! It was probably more of a pudding-style dessert than an actual cake, and likely didn’t contain much sugar either as sweeteners were quite rare (and very expensive) during those days. I’m pretty sure they didn’t smother their carrot ‘dessert’ with mounds of fluffy cream cheese icing back then, either.
While this frumpy, yet moist and delicious, spice cake is very tasty on its own, the cream cheese frosting that now commonly adorns it is almost mandatory. I know a few folks who only eat carrot cake as an excuse to eat the frosting! (crazies)
I used to think carrot cake was healthy because it’s made with carrots. Since it’s made with a vegetable, it’s gotta be healthier- right? Um, not really….
It wasn’t until I started making it that I realized many carrot cake recipes called for the same amount of sugar I’d put in a chocolate cake or my fudge brownies. So to keep up with my theory that it’s supposed to be healthier, I just halved the sugar and it still tasted great! I even forgot the sugar entirely a couple times– by accident (which I’ve never done with any of my other baked goods). But at least I had the yummy frosting to make those cake fails edible.
Recently I’ve been baking more Paleo desserts and have been surprised by how good they’ve turned out. I like that they’re usually slightly healthier as they usually have less sugar and little-to-no gluten/grains as well. My first few carrot cakes were okay, but I tweaked my recipe a bit more and ended up with this one, which I’m very happy with. My awesome taste-testers, most of whom are NOT following a Paleo or gluten-free diet, very much enjoyed it. Woo hoo!
Don’t let the words ‘healthy’ or ‘Paleo’ scare you from trying this. The ingredients are not that different than a regular carrot cake, but you will need coconut flour and almond flour for this recipe. If you’ve got a coffee grinder, you can just grind up a handful of almonds to make an instant flour (but just grind it briefly–or you’ll end up with almond butter).
You’ll find coconut flour in the ‘organic’ section of your grocery store or try your favourite bulk food store where you can just get a small amount. That’s probable more ideal as this recipe only calls for a quarter of a cup (or a half cup if you double it).
I hope you enjoy it and Happy Carrot Cake baking/eating 😀 xo
My Delicious Paleo-ish Carrot Cake
¾ cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour ½ cup arrowroot starch (or any starch: potato/corn/tapioca) ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon 3 eggs, room temp ½ cup maple syrup or honey (or ¾ cup brown sugar mixed with 2 Tbsp water) 8 Tablespoons coconut oil or melted butter 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean extract (or regular vanilla) 1 1/3 cup grated carrots ½ cup shredded coconut (*optional, but delicious) ¼ cup diced pineapple (I’ve used chopped banana or apple in a pinch)
Instructions 1. Preheat Oven to 350F. Grease an 8″ pan (I like to use a round one) 2. In medium bowl, mix together coconut and almond flours, arrowroot starch, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. 3. In large bowl, beat eggs with a hand mixer until blended, about a minute or so. The add maple syrup (or other sweetener), coconut oil or butter, vanilla bean extract and beat the mixture for a couple of minutes until well mixed. 4. Slowly add the flour mixture and blend by hand just until the flour is mixed in. Let sit for a few minutes so that the flours (especially the coconut flour) absorbs the liquids. I do this with most of my gluten-free baking. 5. Fold in carrots, pineapple and shredded coconut (if using). 6. Pour into prepared pan and bake about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting with your favourite cream cheese frosting (I often use whipped coconut cream– delicious and a lot less sweet). 7. If desired, sprinkle with walnuts, grated carrot and shredded coconut.