Monday, September 23, 2013

VeganMoFo 12: Chocolate Hemp Seed Carrot Cake with Cashew Frosting

If you asked me what my favorite cake is, I'd give you an emphatic "all of the above!"  If you kept pressing, my answer would have to be carrot cake. Admittedly, one of the main reasons why I love carrot cake so much is the cream cheese frosting that often accompanies it.  I also love how moist carrot cakes usually are, although I've had many a dry carrot cake (store-bought and by my own hands).  I've seen chocolate carrot cake recipes here and there and thought I'd give it a go.  Carrot cake plus chocolate?

Let's do this.

I'm all about cashews these days, so I used the Creamy Cashew Icing recipe from the lovely Detoxinista blog.  There are a number of cashew-based "cream cheese" frostings out there, but this one comes pretty close to the real thing.  I don't have a high-powered blender, so my frosting didn't turn out that smooth.  But it sure was delicious!  From these photos, I know it kind of looks like this is a raw cake, but the cake is baked.  Let's call it rustic, shall we?  For the cake, I used a combination of carrot cake recipes and added some unsweetened cocoa powder. Hemp seeds make an appearance because I didn't have any walnuts on hand.  Do what you gotta do, I say. :)

Makes one 8-inch round (or square) cake

Raw cashews (soaked in water for a few hours)
Coconut oil, melted
Maple syrup (I used maple syrup instead of agave nectar)
Vanilla extract
Fresh lemon juice

The measurements and instructions are posted here.

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup evaporated cane juice (i.e., sugar)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup carrots, grated
1/2 cup raw hemp seeds, plus more for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour an 8-inch round (or square) baking pan.
  2. Into a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Whisk together to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, applesauce, sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. (try not to over-mix)
  5. Fold in the grated carrots and hemp seeds. 
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Smooth out the top using a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  9. After frosting, garnish the cake with hemp seeds and bits of carrot.

I brought this cake to work and based on the feedback I received, it was a huge success. I thought that it could have used more of the traditional carrot cake flavor, but I guess it's hard for carrots to compete with chocolate in baked goods. :)  The cake was extremely moist due to the water from the carrots.  The frosting was creamy and not too tart or sweet.  The hemp seeds added some texture, but you don't really taste them at all here.

I'd probably classify this as more of a chocolate cake.  Next time, I might decrease the amount of cocoa powder.  I still thought it was delicious and apparently, everyone at work did too.  It's definitely something different...different in the best way possible. :)