I decided to make these little Carrot Cake Muffins after talking with a friend about the challenges of sugar free icing for cakes. I had an idea I wanted to try and so here we are, with something not perfect but an idea worth remembering This cake recipe is based on an old favourite carrot cake recipe that I have slightly adapted to suit a more modern processed sugar free and potentially gluten free approach. Remembering carrot cakes were the original healthy cakes back in the late seventies and eighties they have always had a leaning to the healthy side, we are just lucky now to have more natural sugar alternatives. The icing tastes great, I really like the flavour of the orange zest picking out the cardamon spice in the cake, and although it wont set hard it would also make a delicious caramel filling for raw slices. As you see I decided to split this into muffin tins so it is easy for lunches or picnics, but it cooks just as easily as a cake.
It is hard to go wrong with this recipe,( unlike a sponge, but thats another very long and unsuccessful story), I have even subbed in beetroot and cocao and turned it into a chocolate beetroot cake.
You will need to think about this the day before if you want to go with this icing recipe, in order to rinse and soak the cashews in time. Its a show of intention to friends or family though and, a bit like the three piles of carrots, everyone can join in and savour the anticipation of cake.
Preheat oven to 170’c
Grease and line one medium cake tin or 2 medium size muffin tins
- 1 cup oil ( olive oil or macadamia work well)
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups sugar (I used rapadura but you could easily choose coconut sugar)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 3 cups grated carrots (approx 4 medium)
- 2 cups of flour or ground nuts (I used 1 cup ground almonds and one cup of spelt wholemeal, you could use a straight gluten free flour or ground oats…..probably not the very fine flours though like cornflour, tapioca, etc)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamon
- Optional 1 cup walnut pieces
You will need two medium large bowls.
In the first bowl whisk together the first five ingredients and set aside. I do this first so the sugar can dissolve into the liquid ingredients.
In the second bowl add your dry ingredients and toss together then add your carrots and toss through till evenly mixed, it does look like a lot of carrot but it works out well. Once you have all the dry ingredients thoroughly combined pour in your wet ingredients and mix together well. Pour your mixture into your chosen tin and bake. Muffins will take 35-40 minutes, and the cake depending on the size of the tin and depth of mixture, about one hour, check that a skewer comes out clean and and when you are happy it is cooked take out and cool for while in the tin then remove to finish cooling.
- 1 cup well rinsed raw cashew nut pieces.
- 1 cup dry dates (i didn’t use medual dates, if you do you wont need to soak them).
- water to just cover
- Zest of one orange
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- good pinch of salt
While the cake/muffins are cooling drain the cashews and dates and place into the bowl of a food processor, add orange zest coconut oil and salt and leave to blend for at least a minute till smooth and thoroughly mixed. I spooned this on to the top of the muffins but you could be a little bit fancy and pipe it on, there is plenty to cover the top of your carrot cake but you would need to double it if you would like to make a middle layer