Paleo Carrot Cake
When spring comes around, it's literally as if someone pulls a blanket out from over the sky and the sun shines brighter. My morning tea tastes better, my workouts are harder, my conversations are deeper and my life feels more optimistic. There is something about the hopefulness that the spring season brings that really amplifies my appreciation for everyday.
This spring, my family put me in charge of baking the dessert for our Easter celebration. WOOHOO. For anyone that knows me, when I can get my hands on a baking project, I'm a more-than-happy camper. I. Love. It.
However, there's one thing that holds me back from baking: the heavy wheat and dairy products used in a lot of recipes. I don't feel good after eating a heavy piece of chocolate cake, and therefore I know that I'm not doing my body a favor by doing so. I used to think this was an obstacle though: "how would I bake without these ingredients and still make it taste good?" HA. It's totally doable and totally better.
Allow me to introduce you to my new best friend, this Paleo Carrot Cake. The recipe is Danielle Walker's, author of Against All Grain Celebrations. She is amazing!
Paleo Carrot Cake
1/2 cup organic palm shortening
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup cooked and mashed organic sweet potato
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
5 tablespoons coconut flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 free-range eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups peeled and shredded carrots (about 2-3 medium carrots)
1/4 cup organic unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1/4 cup raisins
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
*1 cup frosting of choice*
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (F). Lightly grease two round cake pans with palm shortening and place a round piece of parchment paper at the bottom of each pan.
Melt the shortening in the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.
In a standing mixer fitted with the beater attachment, or using an electric handheld mixer, combine the sweet potato, arrowroot powder, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and beat for 30 seconds. Pour the hot coconut milk mixture into the bowl and add the maple syrup and vanilla. Beat on high for 30 seconds, or until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the carrots, shredded coconut, raisins, and lemon juice. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cakes on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Loosen the sides with a knife, then invert the pans to remove the cakes. Cool the cakes completely, right side up.
To make the 'frosting', you have a few options!
For a dairy free option, you can refrigerate coconut milk overnight, and then pour it into the bowl of a standing mixer and beat it, along with 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract on medium speed until stiff peaks form, 7 to 8 minutes.
For a dairy-inclusive option, beat 8 ounces of plain goat cheese in the bowl of a standing mixer until soft and smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon palm shortening and beat until mixed together.
Place one cake round on a plate or pedestal and spread the frosting or whipped cream on top. Place the other cake round on top and decorate the cake with some leftover icing if you'd like, then store the cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.