I often asked if I know a good recipe for a gluten free cake and increasingly for one that uses minimal sugar. We all seem to be more and more aware of the benefits of lowering our sugar intake. This cake certainly isn’t sugar free but uses coconut sugar instead of cane sugar. This has few real health benefits, but does retain some of the natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as it is unrefined. However, it cannot really be classed as much better for you than ordinary sugar. But it does have a wonderfully caramely flavour. There is a little dark brown sugar as well, just to add that extra depth of flavour but you can reduce both of these if you prefer; I am of the opinion that if you want to have cake then just have it, enjoy it and maybe don’t have it for another week or so!
A benefit of this cake is the addition of carrots, parsnips, nuts and spices. All count towards that holy grail of thirty different plant foods per week that we are told is desirable if we want to nurture our gut biome.
A traditional carrot cake has a cream cheese icing. I have used a combination of butter and soft goats cheese. The flavour is wonderful and slightly less rich. To keep the cake vegan you could use a honey and tofu icing or just serve with a dollop of coconut yoghurt. Or just plain…..this recipe is just a suggestion.
CARROT & PARSNIP CAKE
200g coarsely grated carrot and parsnip ( 160g carrot and 40g parsnip)
200ml sunflower/rapeseed oil or a combo
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
140g coconut sugar
20g dark brown sugar
150g buckwheat flour
25g coconut flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Big pinch mixed spice
Big pinch sea salt
100g walnuts or pecans, chopped
60g sultanas/chopped apricots
2 lobes stemmed ginger in syrup, finely chopped
10ml whole milk or equivalent plant milk
150g softened butter
100g sifted icing sugar
1 tablespoon ginger syrup
125g soft French goats cheese
Rind of an orange
Walnuts to garnish
Sift dry ingredients together. Coarsely grate the carrot and parsnip. Whisk the oil, sugar and eggs together. Beat in the dry ingredients then add the carrot, parsnip, nuts, ginger and sultanas. Loosen with milk until a soft dropping consistency. Tip into tin and smooth the top.
Bake at 170 fan or floor of age baking oven taking care not to brown the top too much. Add foil if necessary. 50 to 60 minutes in oven until springy on top.
Cool in tin for ten minutes and then on a wire rack.
Beat the butter well. Beat in the icing sugar, syrup and goats cheese. Add the orange rind (optional). Leave in the fridge to set for a couple of hours. Split the cake in two, if you like. Sandwich the cake with the icing and spread on top. Garnish with chopped nuts.
1 8” square springform tin or a traybake pan, greased and lined.