The amazing thing about this cake is that it was probably as good as any non-vegan dish I’ve ever made. It’s a modified version of the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Simple Carrot Cake. When trying to determine the best way to make the carrot cake vegan, I saw many recipes that used lots of ingredients that I had never cooked with, and so I eschewed them all for a recipe that used oil instead of butter. The CI recipe had both a food processor version and a stand-mixer version. Having lost my food processor’s shredding blade, I opted for the stand mixer, which meant I was committed to shredding six large carrots.
Replacing the eggs is easy; everything else is vegan-friendly, until we get to the frosting. Frosting is usually made of lots of dairy ingredients. The CI recipe calls for cream cheese and sour cream. I reviewed a few recipes that required white-flesh sweet potatoes, which i nearly made until I realized the tofutti and earth balance mix was easier to fail first at. Many recipes that used this cautioned that with earth balance to use the baking sticks (quasi-butter shaped) instead of the tub. Also, that you should use only half a stick, which is what I did. A number of recipes also suggested adding lemon to approximate the ‘sour’ cream cheese taste and I thought the maple would be a good touch, and I was right. I use a lot of vanilla and always a pinch of salt, but the flavor is always up to the baker. Make the frosting, and the put it in the fridge to cohese. Frost the cake when both have had time to cool down.
CARROT CAKE INGREDIENTS
- 2 1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg*
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1⁄2 teaspoon table salt (heaping)
- 3 cups shredded carrots (about six carrots)
- 1 ½ cups canola oil
- 1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
- 1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar
- Egg Replacer (substitute for 4 large eggs)**
- 1 Cup raisins
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans***
*Don’t ever used pre-ground nutmeg, what are you, an animal?
**I use 2 tablespoons of warm liquid for each sifted tablespoon of egg replacer. I also add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. After you mix thoroughly, allow mixture to become cohesive before you add it to the other ingredients.
***CI recommends adding 10 minutes of extra baking time if you add raisins and pecans. Basically, check your cake and if a wooden stick comes out clean, it’s ready.
CREAM CHEESE INGREDIENTS
- 8 oz Tofutti “Better than Cream Cheese” spread
- 2 oz Earth’s Balance Bar
- Three Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Vanilla
- ~ 1 tsp/tablespoon of Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (or one tsp maple syrup extract)
- 1/8 tsp salt
For the cake
- Grease a 9×13 pan, place parchment paper in the bottom, set aside. Turn your oven to 350.
- Sift and mix your flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.
- Peel and shred your carrots.
- Mix the oil with the two sugars for about two minutes, taking note of an unbearable lightness of being and also of the ingredients.
- Add the egg replacer and mix for 30-60 seconds.
- Add the shredded carrots and dry ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula; finish with a few turns of the stand mixer.
- Pour into 9×13 pan. Hit the pan on your counter to remove air bubbles.
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
For the frosting
- Whip the tofutti and earth balance together.
- Add the powdered sugar, mix.
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla.
- Add the lemon and salt, keep mixing.
- When completely mixed and tasting great (and you’ll know), transfer to a air-tight bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Frost the cake.