raw carrot cake bars

I've always wished that I were one of those girls that just loved carrots.  You know the type I'm talking about - they're perpetually pulling Ziplocs full of them out of their purses and munching on them with glee while I lick burger grease off my fingers.  Carrot cake, however, and all variations thereof is something I wholeheartedly endorse.  Unfortunately, eating a slice of cake doesn't quite have the same effect on the body as a handful of carrot sticks.  Enter this amazing raw version, which hit all the familiar warming flavor notes of a carrot cake without the cloying sweetness that weighs you down.

By the way, my increasing willingness to try recipes that have the words vegetarian, vegan, or raw associated with them has surprised me more than anyone else.  To all the skeptics out there: whatever is holding you back - an undying love for meat, a distaste for salads, contempt for snobby hipsters - I've been there too. Making one raw recipe every once in a while does not make you a raw foodist.  It just means that you are open to trying new things, with the added benefit of maybe losing a pound or two.

If I've just convinced you to give a raw recipe a go, try this one first.  I made it only a couple of hours ago, and couldn't wait to share the wealth.

These misshapen carrots at the farmer's market were rustic-looking, but tender and sweet. 

Convinced yet?  

The cashew icing is tangy, creamy, and plays the perfect counterpart to the moist, spiced cake, which in itself is a wonderful interplay of textures.  This recipe makes only eight little squares, which should last me until...2 hours from now.  Go ahead and double the recipe to prolong the joy.    

raw carrot cake bars  recipe adapted from ZOMTBAKES 

3 small to medium sized carrots (to yield 1.5 cups once processed)

1 date, chopped roughly
2 tbsp maple syrup (or agave/honey)
1/2 cup whole raw walnuts

2 tablespoons rolled oats
1/2 cup dried coconut flakes

1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp allspice, ground
1/2 tsp ginger, ground

1/2 cup raw whole cashews
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice 
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
water (to drizzle into icing for consistency)

1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)

Cake: Pulse the carrots in a food processor until finely chopped. Remove and set aside. Process walnuts, coconut, oats, and spices until finely chopped. Add the date and maple syrup/agave/honey and process until  combined.  (You may have to scrape the sides to make sure everything gets processed to the same consistency.)  Add 1 cup of the chopped carrots (keeping aside 1/2 cup) and continue to process until the contents pull away from the side of the processor and a dough is formed.  Remove from processor and mix in remaining 1/2 cup of chopped carrots.Press the cake dough into a parchment paper lined loaf pan.*  Preheat your oven to 170, crack the oven door open, and dry out the cake for an hour.**  Cool the cake in the fridge for another hour. 

Icing: Clean the food processor and add the cashew nuts, vanilla, honey and lemon juice and process (scraping down sides as neccessary,) until it is smooth (may take a minute or two).  Drizzle in water until you get a smooth icing consistency (could be anywhere from 3-6 tablespoons).  If you have coconut oil on hand, add a tablespoon to get a glossy sheen and a subtle coconut scent.   

Assembly: Lift out the parchment paper and smooth the icing over the cake.  Garnish with some fresh lemon zest, coconut flakes, and walnut pieces.  Cut into squares and  

*If you doubled the recipe, use a square brownie pan.

**If your oven doesn't go to 170, preheat it to the lowest temperature it goes, turn it off, and put the cake in it with the door open.  This sounds fussy, but just remember that you're not trying to bake the cake; the goal is to extract moisture to achieve a more cake-like texture.  If the cake pan is too hot to touch while it's in the oven, it is too hot; open the oven more to cool it down.        


Mason Earles said...

This looks delicious... :)

Anonymous said...

This was AMAZING! I would suggest that after you pulse the carrots to get a towel and squeeze out the juice. My carrots were extra juicy which made the whole dough very mushy and it never pulled from the sides. I had to dry out for hours before putting in loaf pan. Thanks!

saltandlove said...

so glad you enjoyed them and thanks so much for the suggestion!