I’ve been wanting to make cashew icing for a long time, but couldn’t figure out out what to use it for, I made a delicious Boozy orange chocolate naked cake a few months ago, but wanted to make this completely different, and then it dawned on me: A healthy carrot cake with cashew frosting and maple caramel, because, why not? Yummy!
I’ve always enjoyed carrot cakes, but as usual most carrot cakes, especially commercial ones, are made with way too much sugar, and that just ruins it for me, so I made a much healthier version here. Honestly, it’s so healthy that I had a piece for breakfast! haha This small cake (3 tiers) is dense, but it contains 4 large carrots that makes it really moist. Feel free to make this cake in 1 or 2 pans if you don’t have the same size as me. It’ll make it larger and you’ll need to adjust the baking time a bit, but I think it would be just as good with only 2 layers.
This healthy carrot cake with cashew icing can be made completely up to 3 days ahead of time, and tastes just as good. This recipe does take a little while to make and has a few steps (cake + icing + caramel), but is well worth it in the end, but just make sure you don’t make this at the last minute, since the cake needs to cool down for several hours.
Carrots are super healthy, they contain lots of vitamin A (carotenoids), which we need for many functions in our bodies, including maintaining good eyesight, so go ahead and have some carrots!
Note: I used my Vitamix to blend 3 of the carrots and grated the last one, which I believe is essential to achieve the moist texture, but if you don’t have a high powered blender, it’s totally fine to grate all the carrots instead, or even quickly boil them a bit ahead of time and mash them before adding to the cake batter.
P.S. This cake is adorable and makes a great presentation for friends and family 🙂
Healthy Carrot Cake with Cashew Frosting and Maple Caramel | Dairy-Free, Low Sugar, Vegan + GF Options
This healthy yet delicious cake will win you over! Delicious flavours, and an oozy maple caramel sauce on top, what's not to love! DF, Vegan + GF Options
- 3 carrots (approx. 350 g), washed, trimmed
- 3/4 cup rice milk
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup spelt flour (for gluten-free option, use 3/4 cup brown rice flour + 1/4 cup buckwheat flour)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup organic sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- a pinch of ginger powder
- a pinch of nutmeg powder
- a pinch of cloves powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda (only for gluten-free and/or vegan option)
- 2 organic free-range eggs (or vegan option: mix 2 Tbsp chia seeds with 1/3 cup water, mix really well for 10 seconds, then wait 5 minutes before using)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup rice milk or almond milk
- 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (only for gluten-free and/or vegan option)
- 3/4 cup raw walnuts
- 1 carrot peeled, grated
- 2 cups raw cashews soaked for 2-3 hours in filtered water (or spring water)
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- A pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups organic icing sugar
- 1 cup maple syrup medium grade works best
- 2 Tbsp rice milk (or nut milk)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Prepare your cake pans by lining the bottom with parchment paper (cut to size) and oiling the sides with a tiny bit of olive oil. I used 3 x 6.5" diameter pans, but 2 x 9" diameter pans would also work. If you only have 1 pan of 9" diameter, then you'll need to cook it longer and cut it in half after it's cooled down, in order to have 2 layers.
- In a high powered blender, blend the first 2 ingredients (carrots and rice milk) until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together, using a whisk (I whisk the eggs first and then add the rest).
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture bowl, and mix well.
- Add the grated carrot, and 1/2 cup of walnuts. Mix.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared cake pan(s), dividing it equally in each pan (if using more than 1). Give it a little shake or use a spatula to level the top, if needed.
- Bake in a 350F oven for 45-55 minutes, or more if you pans are bigger. Keep an eye on it after 55 minutes and test it every 5-10 minutes after that.
- Once golden on top and fully cooked, remove from oven and let cool down for 10-15 minutes before flipping over a cooling rack to remove the pan(s), and let cool down completely, at least 3-4 hours, or overnight.
- To prepare the cashew icing: Put all the ingredients for the cashew icing, except the icing sugar, into a high powered blender or food processor, and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the cashew mixture into a mixing bowl, and add the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix really well with a rubber spatula (I recommend putting the icing sugar through a sieve, to avoid clumps).
- Set aside until the cake is completely cooled down. You can keep it in the fridge, but you'll need to take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before using.
- To prepare the caramel, simply put all the ingredients, except the salt, into a small pan over medium heat.
- Bring to a light boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer (uncovered) for about 20-30 minutes, mixing every so often.
- Add the salt, mix well, remove from the heat, and let cool down for at least an hour or two.
- To assemble the cake:
- Put one layer down on a plate, spread some of the cashew icing on top (if you have 3 layers, make sure you approximately divide your icing in 3 or 4, in order to have enough for each layer, including the top and sides of the cake. If you only have 2 layers, then divide it in 2), then add the next layer and continue the same steps. Once finished, add icing to the sides too.
- Once your cake is finished icing, add 1/4 cup walnuts on top, and I'd recommend putting it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set, since the cashew icing is very soft.
- Drizzle the maple caramel just before serving.
Note: I do not believe anyone should worry about counting calories, but here is the nutritional information for one serving
Calories: 511kcal | Fat: 22g | Saturated fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 230mg | Potassium: 379mg | Carbohydrates: 72g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 48g | Protein: 8g | Vitamin A: 3435% | Vitamin C: 3.8% | Calcium: 88% | Iron: 2.6%