Blaring cow bells, have I had a severe craving for carrot cake lately. I hadn't been able to cure my craving in the past month, so it started to become fairly serious. At the beginning of my carrot cake craving haze, I walked all around my neighbourhood looking for any sign of this treat. There is a cupcake shop a minor 30 second walk from my apartment that sells mini-cupcakes, but it was closed for the entire month of April and the first weekend of May, so this wasn't an option.
And then. At a party at the end of April I was sharing my traumatic experiences about not being able to find carrot cake, and a carrot cake sympathizer shared her favourite spot. She RAVED about this carrot cake. By the end of her speech, I was literally drooling. I was sitting with my Canadian friend (a fellow carrot cake lover) during this profession of carrot cake excellence, and her and I knew immediately we had to get this cake.
The first time we tried, we walked all the way down to the cafe that sells the carrot cake... and it was closed. THEN, the next time, we had the foresight to check if it was open or not, and yet again they were closed. (The French literally take the whole month of May off...)
We won't give up for our carrot cake quest, and we have plans to try, once again, to go get this hyped-up carrot cake this weekend. But, I couldn't last another day without carrot cake, so I had to make one myself!
Now, I'm attempting very half-heartedly this whole 'get in shape for summer' concept, so making a big old carrot cake or a batch of carrot cake cupcakes wasn't really an option. After the success of this mini-tahini cake from the other week, I knew exactly what to do to solve this disastrous drought of carrot cake in my life.
Mini vegan carrot cake - what you need:
- 1/3 cup of all purpose flour (this should be around 5 levelled tablespoons + 1 teaspoon or about 42 grams)
- 3 tablespoons sugar (I used golden cane sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons apple sauce (swap in mashed banana if you don't have apple sauce)
- 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup grated carrot
- small handful of mixed chopped walnuts and raisins, optional
Mini vegan carrot cake - what you do:
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius (350F). Grease two ramekins with (vegan) butter or coconut oil, lightly dust them with flour, and then set them aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In another bowl, mix together the oil, apple sauce, and vinegar.
Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and beat to combine.
Fold in the carrots and raisins/nuts if using.
Bake at 180C for 18-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the ramekins before flipping them out onto a cooling rack.
Cool the cakes completely. You can make the frosting while waiting!
Cream cheese frosting - what you need:
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
Cream cheese frosting - what you do:
Beat the cream cheese and butter together. Beat in the sugar, one half cup at a time.
If it seems a bit too thin, you can either add more sugar or stick the frosting in the fridge for 15 minutes.
For a vegan cream cheese frosting, check out this version. (You can cut the recipe in half for this mini cake.)
To assemble the cake:
Place one mini cake on a plate. (I used a coaster... it was the perfect size!)
Spread out a dollop of frosting on to the top of the cake. Add the second mini-cake, and frost the top of this one, too.
You can either go for a "naked cake" by leaving the sides unfrosted, or you can frost the entire cake. I chose the unfrosted variety, but I served it with the left over frosting in case some extra indulgence was needed.
I picked some little purple flowers from our flower beds hanging off our balcony. They added the perfect delicate touch to this mini cake.
As a final touch, per usual, there was a sprinkling of ... well, sprinkles!
This quite simply was everything that I had been searching for. The carrot cake was light and airy, but still retained a lot of moisture. The cinnamon was bright and the carrot texture was present, but blended perfectly into the cake. I opted out of the traditional walnuts and raisins, because the person I shared this with is allergic to nuts, and I wasn't sure about his raisin preference (... now I know that raisins are permitted... next time!). The frosting paired nicely. I actually liked the 'naked' version with extra frosting on the side because it lets you personalize your carrot cake experience. I am satiated. (::insert a sigh of relief::)