A raw layer cake!!!
I know what you're probably thinking here: why? But really, the question you should be asking is, why not?
For years now, I've been whipping up creamy and dreamy raw cheese cakes with a wide array of delectable seasonal fruit. And so far they delight everyone who is lucky enough to snag a slice, but these kind of cakes can be both time consuming and costly to make (unless you're stockpiling shares in cashews). So as one might guess, I was thrilled when I came across the idea to utilise a mix of ground nuts, rolled grains, and coconut to create a rich and moist cake that's healthy enough to eat for breakfast and doesn't break the bank.
Carrot cake just so happens to be one of my absolute favourite cakes by far, yet it always happens to be the worst kind of cake you could eat (and we're comparing it to other cakes here, so you know it's bad). Despite the idea that it must be good for you because its full of veggie (duh?) it's often loaded with more oil and more sugar than your average chocolate cake. And then to make matters worse, most recipes ask for it to be topped with a high fat, refined sugar, cream cheesey mess of an icing. Not really whole foods, and not something one should probably consume for breakfast. This recipe on the other hand utilises the natural sweetness of carrots and dates, as well as the healthy omega 3 fats found in nuts, as wholesome replacements. Refined flour has been replaced with ground coconut which is rich in copper and manganese, both of which help collagen production and maintain healthy connective tissues. To round out the base, gluten free oats are added, which although aren't technically raw, add a ton of soluble fibre. If you'd like this recipe to be fully raw or don't eat oats, you can use raw oat groats, as well as other non-raw replacements such as rolled quinoa or rolled rice. The first time I made this cake, I made it into a traditional style layer cake (filling and all), but for the second time I turned it into a simple carrot cake slice by pressing it into a sheet pan. Both ways are easy to prepare and delicious, so simply take your pick.
Raw Carrot Cake with Lemon Cashew Cream
Recipe: (Serves 12)
2 Cups Finely Grated (squeezed) Carrots (approximately 8)
1 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats (Gluten Free if Possible. Quinoa or Rice Flakes will also work)
1 Cup Raw Walnuts
1 1/2 Cups Medjool or soft dates, pitted
3/4 Cup Dried Coconut
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Cardamom
A Pinch of Salt
1. Begin by grating your carrots on the smaller side of a box grater. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the grated carrots. You will end up with quite a lot of carrot juice. Save it for smoothies or add to soup. Once the carrots have been squeezed dry, measure them until you have about 2 cups.
2. In a food processor, or high speed blender, grind the oats until the begin to make a coarse flour. Set the mixture aside.
3. Next, grind the walnuts until they begin to turn into a flour, but not so much that they turn into nut butter (that's another recipe). Mix into the oat mixture along with the coconut, spices, and salt.
4. Next, add the carrots and dates to the food processor/blender, and mix until the dates become well chopped. You may need to do this step in batches. If you have a Vitamix, I recommend using the tamper.
5. Once the dates are chopped, combine the wet mixture to the coconut at oat mixture. Mixing well to combine.
6. To make a cake press half the mixture in a small 15 cm (6 inch) pan (or if you're like me and don't have a small pan, try forming them into a symmetrical patty) which has been lined with cling film. Remove and repeat with the other half. Set this mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up. Alternatively, you can press into a lined 20 cm (8 inch) square pan.
7. Once the two cake have set up, they are ready to ice with the Cashew Cream (recipe below). Reserve 1/3 of the Cashew Lemon Cream to sandwich the two cakes together. Ice with the remaining cream. The bar on the other hand, can be iced right away. Once iced garnished with pumpkin seeds, chopped crystallised ginger, walnuts, or coconut.
Cashew Lemon Cream
1 Cup Raw Cashew, soaked for at least four hours if possible
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Water (only if nuts are not soaked)
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
1. Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender. If you haven't had time to soak the nuts, add the extra water. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the amount of lemon or maple syrup if needed.