Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Recipe for Single Layer Whole Wheat Spiced Carrot Cake with Lemon-Rosemary Buttercream (Vegan Easter 2014)

Vegan Carrot Cake with Lemon-Rosemary Buttercream
Gluten-Free Corn Jonnycakes with agave nectar and fresh strawberries
Eggplant Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream, baked in a toaster oven because the 'real' oven was occupied.
I hope your Easter Sunday was absolutely delicious (mine certainly was). I spoiled myself with johnnycakes and strawberries for breakfast (think gluten-free cornbread pancakes, Post Punk Kitchen recipe), a nutritious green salad and eggplant-potato-zucchini moussaka for dinner (the pine nut cream was wonderfully rich and, to my surprise, tasted quite like ricotta cheese - also a PPK recipe), and a bright and satisfying slice of moist whole wheat spiced carrot cake with lemon-rosemary buttercream for dessert! My tastebuds were very happy.

The following cake recipe is something I am quite proud of; the cake itself has just the right amount of spice and is perfectly complemented by tangy lemon zest and subtle rosemary leaves in the frosting. I also love the way the buttercream looks - a pale yellow with soft green rosemary peeking through, quite perfect for an Easter dessert (especially with carrots inside the cake!). Plus, just to make you feel a little bit better about your sugar intake, this cake is made with whole wheat pastry flour - my favorite ingredient to use in baking.

This cake is absolutely scrumptious, I promise you. The recipe could easily be doubled to make a double layer cake if you have twice as many guests to entertain (or if you just want more cake).

Naked Vegan Carrot Cake
Single Layer Spiced Carrot Cake with Lemon-Rosemary Buttercream :: Serves 8

For the cake:
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrot
  • 1/2 - 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup nondairy milk

For the buttercream:
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
  • 2 tsp coursely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar)
  • 1-2 tsp nondairy milk or lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9"-10" circular cake pan or springform pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flaxseed meal and water with a strong fork for about a minute until the mixture becomes thick. Combine with oil, applesauce, carrot, walnuts, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Make sure the dry ingredients are well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix slightly, then add nondairy milk. Stir ingredients together until nicely incorporated but not overmixed.

Pour the batter evenly into your prepared pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until nicely browned (the cake will be darker than vanilla cakes thanks to the whole wheat flour and spices). Let the cake set in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then either invert the cake or simply remove the springform ring - use a knife around the edges if necessary. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

To prepare the buttercream: beat together shortening, margarine, rosemary, lemon zest, and vanilla with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until thoroughly mixed. Buttercream should be smooth and somewhat fluffy. Add 1-2 tsp of nondairy milk as necessary if your frosting seems too thick. Either spread frosting over a cooled cake or refrigerate until ready to use. Garnish cake with more fresh rosemary as desired. Enjoy!

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