I came across some beautiful, purple carrots at Harris Farm in Potts Point this morning...it was a bit of a detour on the way home from the market buying the cranberries for these cookies. In fact I had only dropped in to get some organic butter for the cookies but somehow (as usual) walked out with a bag full to the brim of fresh fruit and vegetables.
I was most excited about my purple carrots as I had heard that they had double the nutritional value of the orange ones. I did a bit of research and it turns out that not only are the original carrot (orange being a genetic throwback,) they are little purple powerhouses! Compared to our common orange carrots, they have double the levels of beta-carotene and 28 times more anthocyanins which act to capture harmful free radicals in the body, slow blood clotting and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. They also taste just as delicious too!
Anyway, I wanted to use my purple powerhouses in something delicious and healthy and have been meaning to try a raw carrot cake for some time now. I used a combination of purple carrots and their orange friend to get a beautiful depth of flavour and speckled colour throughout this delicious, moist cake. I was quite surprised with how much this tasted just like carrot cake too! It has all the right flavours, sweet carrots, walnuts, coconut and the lemon cashew frosting was simply divine. Bugs Bunny would be impressed!
I made this in a small 4 inch springform cake tin but if you wanted you could easily double, or triple the recipe. I found that the tiniest slice of this (an eighth) was plenty as the flavour was so spot on and it is really quite rich for me. In hindsight, I would perhaps try adding in some raw oats to get a more cakey texture...or I think you could possibly dehydrate it a bit too. Don't get me wrong, the moist denseness was a good attribute, but in trying to replicate 'cake' this is what I would try next time.
Raw Carrot Cake serves 8 / approx. 121 calories per slice approx. macronutrient breakdown: 10g fat / 10g carbs / 2g protein
Ingredients Cake: 140g carrots, purple & orange variety 1 medjool date 2 tbsp maple syrup (or agave/honey) 1/2 cup whole raw walnuts 1/2 cup dessicated coconut 1 tsp cinnamon, ground 1/2 tsp allspice, ground 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
Icing: 1/2 cup raw whole cashews 1 tbsp agave (or other sweetener) 2 tbsp lemon juice (or to taste) 1/2 tsp vanilla essence 1-3 tbsp water (or to desired consistency)
Method To make the cake dough: Pulse the carrots in a food processor until finely chopped. Remove and set aside. (You will keep 1/2 cup of this to fold though the mixture later for some texture.) Process walnuts, spices and coconut until finely chopped. Add medjool date and maple syrup and process until combined. Add the chopped carrots (keeping aside 1/2 cup,) and continue to process until dough is formed. Remove from processor and mix in remaining chopped carrots.
To make the icing: Clean the food processor and add the cashew nuts, vanilla, agave and lemon juice and process (scraping down sides as neccessary,) until it turns first into a smooth nut butter and then add water until you get a smooth icing consistency. I kept mine quite thick but you could continue to add water until it is able to be drizzled.
To assemble the cake: Press half the cake dough into a baking paper lined springform cake tin. Smooth a little bit of the icing and then press the remaining dough on top. Allow to set in the refrigerator for a few hours before removing from cake tin. Smooth icing over top (or drizzle) and garnish with fresh lemon zest, chopped walnuts and coconut.