Each bite of vegan carrot cake is packed full of goodies and naturally sweetened with dates and pineapple!
I like to think of myself as having pretty good self control. But when it comes to grocery shopping, that all goes down the drain. Strange how I’ll take two weeks to decide whether or not to buy a $20 shirt but would splurge on a $8 tub of vegan yogurt without hesitation.
When I wander into a grocery store alone, with a purpose or not, I have the tendency to leave with items I don’t need. I’ll go in telling myself, “I’m only here to get bread and one bunch of kale” and I will leave with the kale, two tubs of vegan cream cheese, a bag of apples, and mini chocolate chips from the bulk section. Mini chocolate chips are so cute! Where is the bread though? I’m still missing one of the two items I came for. Typical. I’m a sucker for sales and my blogger brain starts cranking when I spot a new item. Perhaps my lack of self control would benefit from a shopping buddy. But nope.
My best friends only seem to encourage me to make more spontaneous purchases. We will see frozen fruit on sale and if Chew wants the mango and I want the peaches, we end up getting two of each. While juggling all the loose items in our arms (no basket because remember, we weren’t planning on getting anything), we continue to zigzag through the aisles pointing out all the foods that have nostalgic memories attached to them or swooning over the food we’re currently craving. Walking into Whole Foods with our best friends is the worst because we all adore their carrot cake. Since a sheet of cake cost the same price as two single servings, we often leave the store with an entire pan of carrot cake. Our tummies love it but our wallets shake their heads in dismay.
On this past unintentional grocery haul, we had to hurry home because of those bags of frozen fruit and (thankfully) didn’t stop at Whole Foods. The craving for carrot cake was still there so we whipped up this vegan carrot cake that echoed our favourite aspect of the one sold at Whole Foods: the chunks! Wait… are they called chunks? Mix-ins? Goodies? Elements? Whatever you want to call the stuff inside the cake, the nut and fruit to cake ratio is just how I like it.
This vegan carrot cake isn’t quite like your traditional cakes. Think of it more like the fruitcake that makes its appearance around Christmastime: dense and packed full of nuts and fruit. Except with none of that dyed who-knows-what candied fruit bits and copious amounts of refined sugar. Instead we loaded the batter with dates, pineapple, carrots, walnuts, coconut, and raisins. It’s incredible how sweet this cake is without having to add any sugar! There are more fruit and vegetables than anything else in this vegan carrot cake, making it totally okay to eat as a meal right? I’m only half joking, but you can grab a slice, a fork, and join me on the couch if you so please.
- ¾ cup pitted dates
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 4 tbsp aquafaba*
- ½ cup canned crushed pineapple, divided
- 2 tbsp almond or another non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- A generous pinch each of nutmeg and cloves
- 1 cup oat flour
- ½ cup quinoa flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- Scant 2 cups of shredded carrots (2 medium-sized carrots)
- ½ cup toasted and chopped walnuts
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup raisins**
- 1 (400mL) can coconut cream***
- 2 tbsp coconut yogurt
- 2 to 3 tbsp icing sugar****
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line the bottom two 5.5" circular pans with parchment paper and grease the sides with a spritz of oil.
- CAKE: In a food processor, blend the dates, oil, aquafaba, ¼ cup of the crushed pineapple, almond milk, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves until smooth.
- Add the oat and quinoa flours, baking soda and powder and blend until fully incorporated. Transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl and fold in the shredded carrots, walnuts, coconut, and raisins.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
- FROSTING: In a food processor, blend all the frosting ingredients until very smooth.
- Put one cooled cake layer upside down on a serving tray. Spread about ¼ cup of frosting onto the side facing up. Stack the other cake layer on top (right-side up) and frost the top and sides of the cake as desired. Garnish with more chopped walnuts if desired.
**If your raisins are very dry, rehydrate them in hot water for a few minutes
***I used the brand Earth's Choice and about ⅔ of the can was cream
****Can substitute with maple syrup or stevia. I prefer the stiffer texture that icing sugar gives.
Frosting lightly adapted from Texanerin