Meh, what’s up doc?
Let’s face it, many store-bought desserts and pastries will use the poor old carrot as a gimmick. The word “carrot” makes said item look healthy, when in reality these store-bought muffins scream “Hey, look at me, I contain minimal actual carrot and can contain up to 680 calories and 40 grams of fat, most of which isn’t the good kind. Yay!”
Today’s carrot cake, though, is plain and simple. Enticingly moist and yummy, with warm spices providing a delicateness, it is topped with a buttery icing sans cream cheese. The beauty of this dessert? All of its ingredients are healthy plant-based nutrient-dense foods (i.e. carrots, dates, coconut, cashews, walnuts, etc.). The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its individual ingredients #fosho.
To me, this cake perfectly exemplifies what the “Slow Food Movement” intends. The international Slow Food Movement, founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini, is promoted as an alternative to fast food (according to Professor Wikipedia 😉 ). Its mission includes educating consumers about the risks of fast food, lobbying for the inclusion of organic farming, lobbying against use of pesticides and genetic engineering, as well as encouraging ethical buying. As I made this cake, it gave me an appreciation of every single ingredient going into it. For instance, did you know carrots take 16 weeks to grow to maturity? This gave me newfound appreciation for these root vegetables. As I held each carrot in my hand, I thought of all the water, sunshine and minerals that went into making it and felt so grateful.
Nutrition deets time!
Carrots contain cancer-fighting carotenoids, as well as vitamin B6 which is involved in making serotonin (a neurotransmitter that positively impacts mood).
Dates are an amazing sweetener because as opposed to white or brown sugar, 3 dates will provide 2 grams of fiber, which even makes them a better source of fiber than raisins, dried apricots and prunes (per equivalent portion of 25 grams).
Walnuts contain arginine which is important for blood circulation as well as melatonin, an antioxidant molecule which is thought to synergistically act with other antioxidants (like vitamin E) to naturally enhance its positive effects. Lastly, walnuts are a fantastic source of manganese, which helps facilitate about a dozen metabolism-related activities.
Cashews are a source of healthy fats. People often avoid cashews because they think they are unhealthy. While it is true that salted cashews are often roasted in oil, which increases their fat content, raw cashews are a source of healthy monounsaturated fats and of cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.
Let’s get uncooking (the cake is raw 😉 ) !!!
Melt-in-Your-Mouth Carrot Cake
For the base:
- 2 1/2 cups of carrots
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup dates
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
For the icing:
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (for about 8 hours)
- 1/2 cup distilled water
- 3 tbsp. agave nectar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- Fresh-squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
- Heat the oven to room temperature a.k.a. no need to preheat the oven! 😉
- Blend all ingredients for the base in a high-speed blender or food processor making sure not to “over-blend” – you still want to see bits and pieces of carrots. Place in a greased 9-inch cake pan (I used a circular one). Pat down and put in freezer whilst you prepare the topping.
- Blend all ingredients for the icing, add to cake base and put in the freezer for another hour and a half.
- Cut into pieces, allow to thaw for a good 15 minutes, then sink your teeth into this deliciousness!
Home-made cake really is a beautiful, wonderful thing. 😉