Raw Carrot Cake, for a birthday

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Dropping in super quick on this mid-summer day. The weather around here is finally reaching its appropriate (hot and summery) temperature  and The Recipe Redux is celebrating a birthday. I think you all know I prefer to celebrate birthdays with carrots, in the form of cake, so we’re going to be enjoying this weather-appropriate tiny Raw Carrot Cake.

It is tiny because I decided to make a little one to serve four to six and as you may know, raw desserts can pack a lot of nutrition in dense little (tasty!) bites. Savor them slowly and they are so worth it.

 

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Raw Carrot Cake, serves 4-6
I’ve been experimenting with this recipe for quite some time and nearly made it for my own birthday in lieu of a baked carrot cake. It’s super easy and can be made in any pan or container. If you’re going with a single layer, a 4×4 inch size would be best, or double the recipe for a crowd and it will fit easily into an 8×8. Otherwise, find your tiny flat-bottomed container of choice and layer it up, as I did. A couple more notes on ingredients: I tried a variety of flour ratios and really prefer a good base of oats as I don’t enjoy all nuts but this can be made with all almond flour to equal 1 cup in total. The addition of orange zest or essential oil in the cake and frosting is completely optional but brings a really nice flavor to finish so use only if you prefer or have on hand. 

Cake:
1/2 cup medjool dates, soaked for a few minutes
splash of water from soaked dates
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup oats, finely ground
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup finely grated carrots
zest of 1/4 of an orange, optional

Frosting:
1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
2-3 Tbs. reserved date water, as needed
1/2 Tbs. brown rice syrup or honey
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1/2 Tbs. melted coconut oil
zest of 1/8 an orange or one drop orange essential oil

  • Line two circular pans of choice or a 4-inch square dish with parchment paper, leaving some of the paper to come up the sides, and set aside.
  • In a food processor, puree the oats until they come into a fine flour. Then transfer them to a small bowl and pulse the dates in the processor with a splash or two of their soaking liquid until they come into a chunky paste. Add the vanilla and puree a little longer until almost smooth. Add the grated carrots and pulse a few more times so they are broken down a bit more but not completely smooth. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the oats. Add the almond flour, spices, salt, and orange zest if using. Mix it with a spatula or spoon until evenly mixed. Then, press this cake mixture into the parchment lined pans. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to frost.
  • For the frosting, in your food processor again, combine the soaked and drained cashews, 1-2 Tbs. reserved date water, brown rice syrup or honey, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Blend on high until you have a smooth and creamy consistency. Then drizzle in the melted coconut oil and drop of orange oil or zest and puree again, adding a little more date water as needed if it’s really thick. Scrape into a bowl, cover, and chill for about an hour to firm it up.
  • To finish, lift the cake layers from their container, and frost using as much of the cashew frosting as you prefer. Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for about 5 days.

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Carrot Orange Corn-Flour Waffles

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“The heart decides, and what it decides is all that really matters.” – Paulo Coelho

As a teenager, suffering through the angst of star-crossed infatuations, I ran. Though not a runner then, not adept at sports, without the proper shoes, I’d run the dirt paths behind the horse pasture, round the fields of corn and alfalfa, dodging animal tracks and farmers.  I’d often run away my worries, my frustrations, replacing them with a colorful imagination of the reality I wanted to exist.  In college, I learned from my phys ed prof, dubbed “Lance” by the farm boys in my class, that it takes five years to make a habit a lifestyle. Seven years later, I’m still running.  Running away my worries.  Running away my frustrations, gaining a better perspective, creating a new reality.

This last few months, running has been my guidebook.  Hours away from W for weeks at a time, too often feeling like an island of one, I’ve ran and made waffles.  And been humbled.  I have done things I didn’t think I could. I have stumbled and cried, been disrespected in small, countless ways, been left speechless. Hit roadblocks.  I have laughed uncontrollably.  I have pushed and stirred, over-analyzed, lost sleep, pulled a zillion gray hairs, and gone a bit mental.

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I’ve been encouraged and let down. Too often, of my own subconscious volition, I stood at the edge of a circle looking in. Wanting to both jump towards acceptance and run towards a calling I cannot explain.  Hours, weeks, months convincing myself to feel something that my heart long ago gave up.  Getting close to the end, I worry again.  I had a standard; did I uphold it?  Did I demand all that I should have?  Did I reach those that needed to be reached?  Was there real progress made?

At the end of the day when I’m less frustrated, when my run is complete, and those waffles have been devoured, I reach for a broader perspective.  In a tough position, I am making the most of it.  I could do more. But my heart has decided, and what it decides…is all that really matters.

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Carrot and Corn-Flour Waffles, adapted from Good to the Grain
Dry Mix:
3/4 cup corn flour
3/4 cup gf flour mix, or all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. ground flaxseed
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 Tbs ground ginger
3/4 tsp. salt
 
Wet Mix:
1 cup carrot-orange juice
3 oz. almond milk, plus more if needed
1 1/2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
zest of half an orange
1 egg
  • Turn the waffle iron on high.  Adjust as needed as cooking progresses.
  • Sift the dry ingredients together in large bowl.  Set aside.
  • Whisk the wet ingredients together in a small bowl.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture.
  • Brush the waffle iron, as needed, with additional oil.  Ladle out batter and cook until fluffy and done.
  • If available, top with freshly picked strawberries, and savor over a cozy spring meal.