Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Carrot Cake


Alright, I know I am a little late celebrating Spring since it was last Tuesday, but I tend to save my celebrations for the weekend.  You know...when I am off work, and have time to make some sort of fabulous dessert (because fabulous desserts are an important part of celebrations in my book).  So this weekend, in celebration of Spring (which it seems has been here for a while in Minnesota with the 70 degree temps) I decided a carrot cake was in order. 


I don't know who decided that carrot cake is a Spring thing, as I love it year round, but I suppose it is rather spring like being that bunnies are associated with Easter and they eat carrots.  But honestly, I decided on it simply because it sounded delicious and I make what I feel like at the time. 


This wasn't going to be quite classic however...I wanted to include pistachios for their beautiful green color since things are greening up for Spring and I thought it appropriate! 


I wanted the cake part to also include golden raisins, and coconut along with the pistachios and of course plenty of spices.  I decided to puree the carrots instead of grating them for a finer texture as well, but I actually liked it this way better! 


Cream cheese was important for the frosting and filling.  Although it was vegan cream cheese...just as delicious.  I flavored the creamy frosting with vanilla and almond, as is tradition in my family as far as cake frosting is concerned. 


The outside of the cake needed nuts, because to me the ultimate carrot cake has a nut coating on the sides, so that is where the beautiful green pistachios come in.  Also I decided that the top of the cake needed some pretty Spring colors, so I piped some lovely frosting on the top! 


The finished cake was beautiful in my eyes, but more importantly, delicious!  The cake was moist and lightly spiced, the frosting creamy and sweet, just as a carrot cake should be, and the pistachios salty and crunchy!  Altogether a heavenly combination!  So perfect to celebrate spring as well (although I wouldn't be opposed to it any time of year)!


If you would like to taste the deliciousness for yourself, here is the recipe!


Spring Carrot Cake
Makes 1 6 inch 4 layer cake
2 6 inch cake pans

Cake:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup toasted coconut
1 cup maple sugar
1 cup pureed cooked carrot
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped pistachios

Frosting:
3 8 oz pkgs vegan cream cheese
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
plant based food coloring (optional)

1 cup chopped pistachios

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position rack in center of oven. Line two six-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and pan sides with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and coconut in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk sugar, carrot, oil, vanilla extract, and cider together in small bowl to blend well, then whisk into the flour mixture until well blended. Whisk in cider vinegar until pale swirls form in the batter and it is well combined. Stir in golden raisins and 1/2 cup pistachios. Transfer cake batter to prepared pan and bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour. Cut around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cake out onto platter; peel off parchment paper. Let cool completely, then place in the fridge to chill until very cold to make slicing easier. When chilled, slice cakes horizontally in half so that you have 4 layers.
To make frosting, beat together all ingredients until smooth.  To assemble cake, place one layer on a platter and put about 3 Tbsp on it and spread to the edges.  Repeat until you have placed the last layer on the cake and spread frosting over the top and down the sides of the cake.  Tint remaining frosting with food coloring if desired and use to decorate the top of the cake.  Press pistachios into the sides of the cake. 

*if you would like a 4 layer 9 inch cake, double this entire recipe and bake in two 9 inch cake pans.

24 comments:

  1. What an amazing cake! I love that you used coconut, and oh, that pistachio side crusting - I'm swooning! :)

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  2. Amy, I didn't know you were a baker! I keep getting suggestions to "friend" you on Facebook, as we have friends in common, but I didn't think we had much in common. I'm specializing in confectionery right now, but we'll have to start trading recipes. What I've seen here so far is amazing!

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  3. That's a super pretty spring carrot cake!

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  4. Delicious! And absolutely gorgeous!

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  6. Beautiful cake! I love carrot cake and I LOVE that you used pistachios instead of walnuts. Great change up! Happy Spring!

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  7. Well, two of the words I wanted to use have been used already. But your cake looks amazing and it's so gorgeous! Bravo!

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  8. This is truly beautiful. Happy spring to you.

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  9. Your cake is just meant for spring with its lovely colors - lovely recipe and a baeutiful cake1Thanks for sharing, Amy:)

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  10. This carrot cake is simpy stunning - beautiful crumby cake, perfect frosting and towering above all others (literally :D)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Nutella Oatmeal + Double Jaffa Nutella Giant Fudge Cookie For One

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  11. Beautiful! I love the way you've decorated this Amy and I will also try pureeing my carrots from now on. Looking forward to tasting this.

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  12. And you're sure you didn't BUY this one? I mean, my goodness, what do you do to your frosting? My cakes always look wonderful – until I start to apply frosting (any frosting btw). And once I've finished that, it lloks like a warzone! Methinks I need some lessons with you ;-)) Anyway, it sure looks delicious, that cake of yours!

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  13. What a gorgeous cake! Vibrant and inviting. totally screams spring Amy! :)

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  14. My dear! Can I please come over for a slice? This looks so good. Carrot is my favorite! And your piping? Well, too cute! Thank you for sharing...and for making me smile on this long Monday afternoon. I hope you are having a lovely spring day!

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  15. This is the first time I see a carrot cake using cooked carrot. Interesting.

    The cake is absolutely gorgeous Amy!

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  16. This is a gorgeous cake, Amy :-) You always make beautiful desserts! I'm so glad it tasted fabulous, too. Hooray for Spring! I'm a Springtime baby so, it's one of my favorite seasons.

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  17. Wow!!! What a beautiful and delicious cake. Love the idea of including pistachios :)

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  18. That sounds delicious! And I haven't had carrot cake in forever it seems!

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  19. giiiiiirl! this is beautiful!

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  20. WOW! What a scrumptious carrot! Love the way you've presented it , so lovely!

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  21. Thank you very much for sharing this and all the other recipes!

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    1. I am happy to share you are so welcome :)!

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  22. I love your cake recipe, I made it for Easter this year and my whole family loved it even my non vegan family. I am making it again today for my husbands birthday and used a gluten free flour blend with 1.5 tsp xanthum gum because we have gone gluten free. It turned out fabulous.

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