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Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting: Gluten Free, Vegan

4:24 PM

Has your spring sprung? Cincinnati's certainly has. The tulips are open, the magnolias are fully bloomed, the daffodils are bobbing in the breeze—it's officially mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful and Cummings' little lame balloon man is out there whistling far and wee. According to Facebook, though, some places are still getting snow! That's horrible. Our friends in Minneapolis need to migrate south. . . like, now. 

Whether your world is puddle-wonderful or snow-central, it should be spring time for your tastebuds. No more heavy stews and comforting crock-pots—coax yourself out of hibernation with delightfully sweet, spiced, scrumptious spring cake. 

We tried to do a carrot cake for Easter. It looked adorable (bunny marshmallow toppings, anyone?) but turned out miserably; it was so brick-like, we could've built a house. It happens. So, we went back to the drawing board, reconfigured our recipe, and tried again—this time, they turned out wonderfully

And by the way, guess what. I have time to blog today because I'm on track to finish my thesis over a week early. This is incredibly shocking, ridiculous news; I've never finished anything early in my life. My "on time" is five minutes late. Let's not jinx it, now, but hey. This is epic. And hey, thanks for kindly putting up with our lack of posts. Graduation is in two weeks, and we'll be returning to our regularly scheduled program. ;)

Until then, let us eat cake!

Carrot Cake—

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes


2 cups flour (we used Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend)
1 tsp. xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend already contains it)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil
4 eggs, substituted (we used Ener-g brand)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup milk substitute, at room temperature (we used unsweetened coconut milk)

3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped or crushed (optional)
1 cup currants, soaked in warm water for five minutes and then strained 

2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Preheat your oven to 350˚F and line 24 cupcake tins with paper

1. Mix Your Dry
In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and sugar. 

2. Powder The Good Stuff
In a separate bowl, combine your shredded carrots, macadamia nuts, and currants. Coat the mixture with two tablespoons of your dry ingredients—this will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your cupcakes during the baking process. 

3. Mix Your Wet and Add Your Dry
With your electric mixer, combine your oil, egg substitute, apple cider vinegar, and milk substitute. Gradually add your dry mixture until combined. 

4. Fold, Spoon and Bake
Fold your carrot/macadamia/currant mixture into your batter. Using a scoop (ice cream scoops are the perfect size!), fill each cupcake mold about 3/4 of the way. The cakes will rise a little but not a ton since they're so dense. Pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes. 

5. Remove and Cool
Once you remove them from the oven, allow them to rest in the tins for several minutes to firm up. Carefully take them out and let them cool completely before frosting. 

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting—

Prep Time: 10 minutes


4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
4 oz. cream cheese substitute (we used Tofutti
1/2 cup butter substitute (we used Earth Balance Soy Free)
1/2 cup shortening
2 tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk substitute (we used unsweetened coconut)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground clove

1. Fluff Your Cream Cheese
With an electric mixer, whip together your butter, shortening, and cream cheese substitute. Gradually add half of your confectioner's sugar and mix until combined.

2. Add Your Wet
Mix in your milk substitute, vanilla, and salt. Then, gradually add the other half of your confectioner's sugar. 

3. Spice and Whip
Add your cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground clove. Whip your frosting at the highest speed possible for at least a minute, getting a good amount of air into the mixture. 

4. Fiddle Until It's Right
Frosting is a little bit finicky—we have to play with it every time we make it. Vegan cream cheese frosting is the hardest because it breaks, or separates, easily. Your frosting should be stiff! It should hold up on its own without running or melting. IF you look at it and it's breaking—if it looks like it's separating and turning into little pearls—add more powdered sugar, a half cup at a time, until it's better. IF it's stiff but tastes too gritty, whip in more milk substitute, one tablespoon at a time, until the texture is a little more smooth. Be careful, though—too much milk and it will begin to break. IF you want more flavor, add more spices! Yum!

5. Frost
Once your frosting is to your liking and your cupcakes are completely, totally, 100% cool, you can begin to frost. Make sure that cake is cool, though—vegan frosting melts easily! Because we wanted our basic frosting to be relatively flat, we applied it with the back of a spoon. We separated the rest into two bowls, making some orange and some green, and piped it on with the appropriate tips. Your hands will warm the frosting quickly, though—if it gets too soft, let it sit in the fridge for a few minutes to stiffen back up again. Remember, vegan frosting is temperamental! 

Serve with a lovely glass of iced chai or a bit of espresso, if you fancy. Enjoy!

See you soon,
Becky + Tanya

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