Delicious Easter Sugar and Gluten Free Carrot Cake
I decided that the Easter bunny should not be the only one having fun eating carrots this Easter. But I wanted to share a carrot cake recipe that is healthy and delicious without putting you off track with your health and fitness goals. This delicious carrot cake really lives up to its name, containing no gluten, no dairy and no sugar. In fact, you can rest assured with every bite that you are bringing health and vitality into your body. Just because a carrot cake includes a healthy ingredient, most processed cakes and recipes turn them into a health nightmare. Finally, here’s a recipe that embodies everything that a carrot cake should be, yet still contains a luscious to-die-for lip-licking creamy icing. You won’t ever want to return to the old version.
The superstar ingredient, the humble carrot, should never be underestimated for its amazing nutritional benefits. Carrots are a hearty vegetable that are easy to grow in a variety of climates; making them an ideal food to include in your diet on a regular basis. Carrots contain vitamins B, C, D, E, K and beta-carotene, and the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorous, chromium, magnesium, potassium and silica. Carrots are excellent for skin problems, and have been known to have great healing effects on ulcerous and inflamed conditions of the stomach and intestines. They have also been found to promote high quality breast milk and a healthy pregnancy.
The ‘creamy’ icing is actually comprised of coconut cream and raw cashews. Cashews are a nutrient dense ingredient containing heart-healthy monounsaturated fats similar to olive oil, known as oleic acid. Oleic acid helps to lower cholesterol, and is great for diabetics and people with heart conditions. Cashews are also high in the mineral copper, which helps to generate bone and connective tissues, and so it is great in preventing osteoporosis, arthritis and joint issues. Coconut cream contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), providing an instant energy source, and boosting brain power, by converting MCT into ketones which are used by the brain as fuel. Coconut cream also boosts immune function due to its antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties. You can also just make the cake only without icing (see below) and sprinkle with shredded coconut, cinnamon and strawberries.
Cinnamon is a deliciously sweet, aromatic spice and medicine. Cinnamon contains a powerful property called cinnamaldehyde, which has significant effects against harmful blood platelet clotting. It achieves this by inhibiting the release of a fatty acid responsible for the inflammatory response, known as arachidonic acid, from cell membranes. Cinnamon is therefore a wonderful anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon also boasts wonderful antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
So guess what? You can have your cake, and eat it too this Easter, whilst imagining all of these wonderful reactions of health occurring with every bite!
1 1/2 cups almond flour, or gluten free flour of your choice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon stevia powder
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
4 tablespoons coconut milk
1 1/2 cups (200 g) grated carrot
Creamy cashew coconut icing:
3/4 cup of raw cashews
1 tin of coconut cream
The zest of one lemon, finely grated
The juice of half a lemon
5 or 6 drops of stevia (to taste, according to your sweet tooth!)
Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease an 18 cm round cake tin. In a bowl place the almond flour, walnuts, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and stevia, and stir to combine. In a separate bowl put the eggs, grapeseed oil and coconut milk and whisk together. Add to the dry ingredients and fold through.
Squeeze the excess water out of the carrots (using your hands is best) then add them to the bowl. Fold in lightly. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when pressed in the centre. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
For the icing, place all ingredients minus the stevia, including just half of the coconut cream into a food processor and blitz for a few minutes, slowly adding more coconut cream until the consistency is like crème fraiche (not runny, but not like thickened cream). You will need to blitz until the consistency is smooth. Add your stevia at the end, blitzing little by little, until you get the desired sweetness of your icing. Place into the coldest section of your fridge to thicken, until the cake has cooled. Alternatively, you can throw it into the freezer for 5-10 minutes and it will thicken it quicker. When the cake has cooled, spoon your icing all over the top.