High-fiving Birthday Biker Boy’s favorite vegan carrot cake
This post is now officially about a month late, most likely a month and a half by the time it’s posted. ‘Late’ in terms of the birthday boy reference, that is. In reality, I’ve been sitting on this scrumptious carrot cake version for no fewer than five years—so either I’ve been stingy with a delectable favorite or I’m taking tardiness to a whole new level.
Every so often I hit on a blog recipe that I am so in love with that after awhile of going back to it again and again I find myself getting a little bit paranoid: What if the owner deletes the post? What if the whole blog disappears? What if I space where I found it and my search pulls up a whole bunch of lookalikes to sift through?
One solution: write down the recipe! Being a writer, you’d think that would be an easy solution, but it doesn’t work that way. For one thing, I can’t stand clutter (though that doesn’t mean I don’t accumulate plenty of a certain type). Also, I don’t know where to put it—except on my own blog, where I store mostly my own recipes. And it feels a little disingenuous to post someone else’s, even when linking. In this case, I’ve been using a slightly modified version of this amazing recipe from Love and Lemons; and making little tweaks creates a whole new hazy area.
Modifications or not, when it comes to this perfectly spiced, exquisitely just fluffy enough, light and flavor-packed carrot cake…well! Maybe I have been miserly versus lazy after all. My changes were on the subtle side. Of course I added aquafaba, the discovery of which still gives me a touch of inner glee; I typically use sprouted whole wheat flour, but you can swap just about any flour or blend you prefer; I subbed in a blend of pure maple syrup and coconut sugar for sweetener; and I like to throw in a little bit of shredded pineapple (raisins too, occasionally). This recipe has now become so much a go-to celebration cake, I really do need to get past the dithering already and type it up. Then/now, finally, I can streamline my panic periods to wondering how and where I’ll file my own blog compilation, for the day my own blog reaches a time to close.
That’s all for the cake just now. One quick note on the birthday boy who requested his as a layer cake with a bike depicted on it and as carrot cakes for his bike park friend party: wishing to be surprised by the former, but meticulously helping with the latter, sweet Chef F has re-framed my definition of comfort food forever. It’s oh so bittersweet. And beautiful.
Everyone tells expecting and new parents, enjoy, it goes so fast. Why reserve the wisdom for parents? We’re talking about life, really. We all know this, but isn’t it so much more palatable in the context of watching joyful children at play…or reassuring oneself in the midst of a toddler tantrum. Even if it makes one feel awfully broody.
It goes so very fast. Everyone tells you, and everyone knows, yet nothing truly prepares. Not for for the way loving your child evolves all the time. Not for the unexpected sharpness with which you wake up and are hit with the realization that your once baby is never the same, not one day. There’s ever a whole new, proud, blossoming, anxious, hurting, wonderful person who must grow away from you a little bit more every minute, even as you keep on loving them more and more fiercely. And then, there’s you. Nothing prepares for the growing need to cultivate peaceful acceptance of how fluid life is. How you too are every day a whole new beast. How some love can be so enveloping and unconditional and yet constantly changing.
So—some things don’t really change day to day. Like the way I ramble away without quite making a point. Which may as well bring us back to this cake. I’m not going to binge or try to soothe emotions with it. But I will remember baking it in shared love with my high-fiving biker boy who was turning five (plus hopefully many years to come). And I am going to trust that there will be days that the comfort of remembering will be all I need.
Healthy-for-cake vegan carrot cake
2 1/2 cups sprouted whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat of gluten-free blend)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup aquafaba (drained chickpea water)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut sugar
½ cup (melted) coconut or canola oil
1 1/2 half grated carrots, medium-packed
1/2 cup shredded pineapple
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, aqufaba, almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut sugar and oil.
Mix the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients.
Fold in the carrots and pineapple and stir until just combined.
Pour into a prepared 9 x 13 cake pan Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. *For cupcakes, fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake approximately 20-25 minutes.
Let cake cool completely before frosting as desired. *
For cashew frosting: combine 1 cup soaked cashews (at least 30 minutes or over night), drained in a high speed blender with a teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally. For firmer, more traditional frosting, mix in powdered sugar to reach desired consistency. Refrigerate slightly to firm up before spreading.