Many, many years ago I ran a successful café and catering business in Melbourne. We made everything on the premises from basic ingredients and it was damn hard work!
Back then I thought carrot cake was one of the healthier sweet foods we made (this was before I finished my dietetic degree). Fancy thinking a cake loaded with white flour, sugar, vegetable oil and topped with a buttery cream cheese icing was healthy. But it has carrot in it!!!
Things are much clearer for me now (not only due to finishing my dietetic training) and since I still like to eat these, as I call them ‘sometimes‘ foods, I now play around with recipes to make them healthier.
This carrot cake recipe is one of my favorites and as my husband says it doesn’t taste ‘healthy’. I’ve added a twist today by adding quinoa.
If you like these ‘sometimes’ foods and want to find out how to bake more sweet, healthy foods, why not join me for my next cooking class – Sweet Baking With Wholefoods. Saturday 18th October from 11am-2pm. It will be a lot of fun….
and very deeelicious!
- ⅓ cup quinoa, rinsed <1 cup (150 g) when cooked>
- ¾ cup (90 g) wholemeal spelt flour
- ½ cup (65 g) ground walnuts (or cashews or almonds)
- ½ cup (80 g) dark brown or coconut sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground cardamom, optional
- ¼ cup raisins
- 2 cups (250 g) grated carrot
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup cold pressed macadamia oil or extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup apple puree/apple sauce
- ⅓ cup (50 g) unsalted raw cashew nuts
- 150 grams silken tofu
- 1 tablespoon (20 g) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
- Place quinoa in a saucepan with water, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for around 10 minutes, or until almost all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, cover and stand for 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 14 muffin tin holes with paper cups.
- In a large bowl combine flour, ground walnuts, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom (if using) and raisins.
- Stir through carrot and cooked quinoa.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs, then add in vanilla, oil and apple sauce and keep whisking until well combined.
- Pour wet egg mix into dry mix and gently fold together until just combined.
- Scoop cake mix evenly into prepared muffin cases
- Bake in the oven for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Put cashews, tofu, maple syrup and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and puree for 1 to 2 minutes or until lovely and smooth.
- If too thick, add a tiny bit of lemon juice to make the 'cream' just a little more runny.
- Refrigerate 'cream' until cakes have cooled and are ready to be iced.
- Ice cakes then decorate with dried or fresh fruit and nuts as per photos.
Per Serve: (cupcake only) 664kJ or 158 calories; P 4g Fat 9g SFat 1g CHO 22g Fibre 3g
(with topping) 794kJ or 189 calories; P 5.5g Fat 11g SFat 1.5g CHO 24g Fibre 3g