Thursday, April 9, 2009

Raw Vegan Carrot Cake

This past Sunday, I attended a Boston Localvores potluck. There were so many good eats and I had a great time!

I decided to make a raw vegan carrot cake based off of this recipe, and it received rave reviews! At first I was worried that the cake was too sweet, but I found out there is no such thing! Here are the ingredients and directions that I used, and as you can see I just made a few substitutions (pecans instead of walnuts, and dates instead of prunes) and doubled the original recipe so I could fit the cake into a 9 by 5 inch pan.

1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup pinenuts
1/4 cup cashews
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
3 dates, soaked for 5-10 min. in warm water
6 dried apricots, soaked for 5-10 min. in warm water
1/4 cup raisins, soaked for 5-10 min. in warm water
2 tbsp unsweetened, shredded coconut
3 medium carrots
*A pinch of nutmeg and/or allspice would work great, too!

Grind up the nuts and spices in a food processor, blender, or Magic Bullet until it's crumbly. Add the rest of the cake ingredients and blend until everything is a sticky mass. (Don't be afraid to do some mixing by hand, as well!) Oil a 9 by 5 inch pan and fill with the cake filling. You can put the cake in the fridge to cool while you make the frosting.

1/4 cashew butter
1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp coconut oil

-Process/blend/mix the ingredients until it's well combined. If you only have cashews on hand that can also work, but the frosting may not come out as smooth.
-Frost the cake.

Caramel Sauce
2 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
pinch of cinnamon
~2 tbsp pecans, as desired

Mix together the vanilla, agave, and cinnamon. Stir in the pecans to coat. Place the pecans on the cake and drizzle the cake with caramel.

Makes 1 (9 x 5 inch) cake.


Agave is a nectar made from various species of agave plants, most often Blue Agaves- spikey, desert plants that resemble cacti but are actually more closely related to the plant aloe vera (1, 2). Agave tastes sweeter than sugar, and is made by extracting the juice from the agave core, and then filtering, heating, and treating it with enzymes to convert the carbohydrate inulin into sugars (1).

Many people love agave for its taste. Some also choose to use agave because it has a low glycemic index, meaning that when it's eaten alone, it has a low effect on your blood sugar levels (1, 2). (When you start combining and cooking foods, the effects of them on your blood sugar levels are a whole other story). Although agave is a popular sweetener among raw foodists, there may be some controversy over whether or not agave is raw when it's labeled as such. (In the raw foods world, the enzymes in foods that can benefit digestion are destroyed at 112°F).

I am not a raw foodist, although I love and am really interested in the concept of raw and living foods! Look for more posts in the future about raw foods!