I love carrot cake, but had never actually made a carrot cake that I could recall. So, last week when I was invited to a surprise party and I was informed that the birthday girl had really been craving carrot cake, I was up for the challenge!
Paleo Carrot Cake with Vanilla Icing Recipe
I tend to digest cashews better than other nuts, so that is my choice for a flour. You can also use store-bought almond flour or even hazelnut flour, but the taste will be slightly different. Almonds are neutral and sweet, hazelnuts enhance the flavour.
Be sure not to substitute with cassava or coconut flour, as the texture will be totally off! Nuts and seeds have oils that are not absorbent, whereas cassava and coconut are fine and very absorbent. I am not certain, but tigernut flour could work here, for autoimmune protocol compliance. However, this recipe cannot be made without eggs. Using an egg substitute will distinctly change the texture that makes this cake so nice.
Carrot Cake Ingredients
Directions For Carrot Cake:
- Pre-heat oven to 300 F degrees. Prepare muffin liners in a cupcake tray or mini-loaf cake liners on a cookie sheet, set aside.
- Place eggs and sugar in a stand mixer (or large bowl, with hand held mixer) and mix on medium for 5+ minutes.
- Place cashew pieces in a food processor and process, with classic blade, into a flour. This may not be finely processed, but ensure it’s small enough to mesh well with ingredients. *If you over-process these, the oils will eliminate forming cashew butter. Timing is based on your machine and cashews.
- Remove from processor and place in a large bowl. Add dry spices and baking soda. Mix well.
- Place dates in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped, but do not form a paste.
- On medium speed, add shortening and lemon juice to egg mixture.
- On low speed, add cashew flour mixture to create batter. Raise mixer from bowl if using stand, or set hand mixer aside.
- Fold in dates and carrots by hand, gently combining to consistent texture.
- Spoon batter evenly into muffin or mini-loaf liners. Bake muffins for 20-30 minutes, until golden in color and firm but not hard to the touch. Bake mini-loaves for up to 50 minutes (because the sides are exposed), until golden in color and firm but not hard to the touch. You can also toothpick test, but the center should remain moist. *This is a good time to make icing.
- Remove from oven and from respective pan to let cool for 30 minutes, if icing.
- Top with icing and garnish with shredded coconut.
- Store, refrigerated, in airtight glass container for up to a week.
Directions For Vanilla Icing:
- On medium-low speed, combine shortening, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a stand mixer (or large bowl with hand mixer) until fluffy and cohesive texture without lumps.
- Add dry ingredients, continuing to mix on medium low.
- Place mixing bowl in refrigerator until your muffins or cakes are baked and completely cooled!
- Gently spread with icing spatula or butter knife, evenly, over cakes.
- Serve immediately or chill entire cake to keep icing firm, pulling 15-30 minutes before serving.
History Behind Carrot Cake
Now that you have settled down with your plate of carrot cake here is a bit of trivia to satiate your knowledge buds.
Carrots have been used in sweet cakes since the medieval period, during which sweeteners were scarce and expensive, while carrots, which contain more sugar than any other vegetable besides the sugar beet, were much easier to come by and were used to make sweet desserts. The origins of carrot cake are disputed. Recipes for carrot cake occur as early as 1827. The oldest known recipe of carrot cake dates from 1892, in a book of the housekeeping school of Kaiseraugst (Canton of Aargau, Switzerland).
The popularity of carrot cake revived in Great Britain because of rationing during the Second World War. Carrot cakes first became commonly available in restaurants and cafeterias in the United States in the early 1960s. They were at first a novelty item, but people liked them so much that carrot cake became standard dessert fare. In 2005, the American-based television channel Food Network listed carrot cake, with its cream-cheese icing, as number five of the top five fad foods of the 1970s.
Another story indicates that following the Second World War there was a glut of canned carrots in the United States. A business man named George C. Page hired master bakers to find uses for the cans of carrots. He somehow promoted the idea of carrot cake to help create a demand for the product.